Pacific Women's Volleyball: Thriller In The Thunderdome Goes To Pacific As The Tigers Beat UCSB In Five
Behind career efforts from junior Samantha Misa, freshmanJennifer Sanders and senior Svenja Engelhardt the Pacific women's volleyball team upset UC Santa Barbara in a thriller at the Thunderdome on Saturday, November 13. The five set victory for the Tigers moved Pacific to 17-11 overall and 8-7 in the conference while the Gauchos fell to 15-13 on the year and 9-6 in the Big West.
Game scores for the match were: 23-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 15-12.
In a phenomenally played match on both sides of the net by both teams, the Tigers came out ahead in the five-game marathon to improve to 4-3 in such matches on the year including the last two the Tigers have played in. As they have been prone to do throughout the season, the Tigers played from behind for much of the night, even overcoming a small disadvantage in the fifth and final game to take the match.
Opening the night, the Tigers jumped out ahead of the Gauchos with solid play from the middle behind the stellar attacking of Sanders. In the first game alone, Sanders put down eight kills while playing nearly flawless volleyball at the net on 12 attacks. The freshman's start to the night propelled the Tigers to a 21-18 lead late in the game, however, playing in front of their home crowd, the Gauchos would not be denied the opening game win as they rallied back to steal the game.
Playing catch-up, the Tigers worked their way out to an early three-point lead at 12-9 as Pacific's offense began to spread the ball around. The early lead would standup against small pushes throughout the game by the Gauchos as Pacific put UC Santa Barbara away with 5-2 run to close out the game. After struggling behind the service line, the Tigers did what they could not do in game one, putting the Gauchos away with a trio of service aces in the final run of the frame. Additionally, a switch at the pins before the game paid off for Pacific as Misa ignited on the offensive end with seven kills in 12 swings. Sanders continued her dominance in the middle as she posted six kills and no errors in six attacks.
Back to square one, the Tigers found themselves playing from behind yet again as the Gauchos jumped out early against Pacific and held on at the end to take the game. A pair of Pacific mistakes at the end of the frame helped the Gauchos take the 2-1 lead as Pacific committed four more service errors in the game while also suffering three service aces to hand seven points over to UC Santa Barbara from behind the service line. Despite the loss in the game, the Tigers got their senior going from the outside as Engelhardt posted a game-high four kills in the frame while also tallying six digs from the back row.
Needing game four to stay alive, the Tigers looked to the pins to spark the comeback as Misa and Engelhardt combined for 11 kills on 30 swings in the game. Engelhardt went without an error in the game as she had five kills on 10 swings while also continuing her career defensive night with seven digs. With Engelhardt and Misa drawing attention away from the middle of the court, Sanders was able to take full advantage as the freshman pounded down a nearly flawless five kills on seven attacks to help Pacific rally and force a decisive game five.
To make the night complete, the Tigers were forced to play from behind early in game five as the Gauchos sprang ahead by two at 6-4 in the shortened fifth and decisive game. However, a 4-0 run by the Tigers put Pacific in control of the game and with it the match as Misa started the run with a kill and capped it with a service ace. From their the teams would trade punches the Gauchos final stand was put to rest on the arm of Misa who put down her career-best 24th kill of the night to complete the comeback.
Overall, Misa broke her previous career mark by four kills as the junior finished with 24 kills on a career-high 73 attacks. She added 13 digs for her eighth double-double of the season. Right behind Misa was Sanders who shattered her career high of 13 kills with 22 against the Gauchos on the night. The sophomore middle committed just two errors on 34 attacks to hit .588 for the night. Engelhardt put the finishing touches on a stellar night with 21 digs, one better than her previous record, while notching her 13th double-double of the season with 16 kills. Sophomore Hannah Clancytallied her seventh straight and 15th career double-double in the match as she tallied a career-high 62 assists while adding 18 digs.
On the other side of the net the Tigers were forced to fight off the likes of Stacey Schmidt, Charleen DeHoog and Kara Sherrard who each posted double-digit kills in the loss. Schmidt had a team-high 14 kills on 27 attacks while committing just one error while DeHoog, in her final home match, posted 13 kills while adding 19 digs for the double-double. Sherrard was right behind the senior with 10 kills and 15 digs while Chelsey Lowe tallied a match-high 30 digs in the five-game contest.
Pacific will be back in action on Saturday, November 20 when the Tigers close out Big West Conference play at UC Davis with a rivalry match in Davis, Calif. The match is scheduled for 7:00 pm.