Pacific Women's Volleyball: Davis Sparks Tigers' Comback As Pacific Rallies From Two Down To Defeat Cal Poly
Finding themselves down 2-0 at home to the Mustangs, the Pacific women's volleyball team mounted one of their most impressive comebacks of the season, sparked by freshman Taeler Davis, to defeat Cal Poly 3-2 on Saturday, October 16. The victory closed out the first half of conference play for the Tigers as they moved back to .500 in Big West play at 4-4 and improved to 11-8 overall. The Mustangs fell to 15-6 on the year and 5-3 in the conference. Pacific's win also snapped a season-high three match losing streak.
Game scores for the match were: 11-25, 17-25, 29-27, 25-11, 16-14.
Forced into action early in game two due to an injury to starting setter Hannah Clancy, Davis took full advantage of her chance to make an impact on the court for the Tigers as she led the Tigers to the improbable comeback. Through two games, the Tigers seemed out-of-whack and still smarting from their loss the night before, allowing the Mustangs to jump all over Pacific early and bury the Tigers in a 2-0 hole.
However, the tides of the match would change in game three when the Tigers battled back from an early five point deficit to force a back-and-forth battle that would require extra points to decide. After playing catch-up for the entirety of the game and never seeming to be able to get of the hump against Cal Poly, the Tigers finally took looked defeat square in the face and denied the Mustangs' their first match point of the night with a kill from freshman Jennifer Sanders.
Tied at 24-24, Pacific took its first lead of the match at 25-24, but could not convert their game point as back-to-back errors by senior Svenja Engelhardt, her first errors of the game, gave the Mustangs their second match point of the contest. Once again, the Tigers held strong as the went back to their senior one more time from which Engelhardt delivered the match saving kill. She added a second one, and her seventh of the game, two points later to give the Tigers' their third game point of the frame, a point Pacific would pick up on an attack error by the Mustangs.
Having stared down defeat, the Tigers used their momentum to run the Mustangs off the floor in game four, returning the favor from game one to match Cal Poly's 25-11 win and even the match at two games a piece. In the game, the Tigers held the Mustangs' to -.029 hitting while Pacific posted its highest hitting percentage of the night at .387. Engelhardt and Sanders led the way in the game with four kills while Davis spread the ball around the court for 14 team kills.
Heading to their sixth game five of the season, the Tigers found themselves in an all out war with Cal Poly for the decisive victory. Trailing 8-6 at the switch over midway through the game, the Tigers put together a 7-1 run out of the small break to take a commanding 13-9 lead in the game. Engelhardt and Sanders did the damage for the Tigers with five combined kills in the run as the Tigers rallied behind the serve of junior Samantha Misa.
However, with nothing coming easy in game five for the Tigers throughout the season, the Mustangs rallied with a 5-1 run, fighting off a pair of match points themselves to put a scare into the Spanos Center crowd. Fittingly with the match coming down to who could score two consecutive points first, the Tigers put their past finishing woes behind them, as they pounded down back-to-back kills with the first coming from sophomore Gabby Cowden and the final dagger being delivered from Engelhardt.
Prior to the Tigers' unimaginable comeback, the Mustangs put together to dominating performances in games one and two to put Pacific squarely behind the eight ball. In game one, the Mustangs ran away with a 25-11 victory, outhitting the Tigers .324-to-.056. In game two, the Mustangs stormed out to a 21-10 lead before Pacific countered with seven straight points to make a game of it before falling 25-17.
Overall, Engelhardt tallied a match-high 23 kills on 58 attacks to hit .276 in the match. She finished one dig short of her third-straight double-double posting nine digs in the match. Davis, in relief of Clancy, tallied a career-high 41 assists while also adding five digs, one kill and two blocks. Misa finished the night with her fifth double-double of the season as she tallied 12 kills and 16 digs while junior Rebekah Torres added 22 digs. Sanders finished her night with 11 kills and tied for the team-lead with four blocks with Cowden.
The Mustangs put four players in double-figure kills led by Kristina Graven's 21. Catie Smith added 16 while Dominique Olowolafe posted 14 and Jennifer Keddy finished with 12. Both Alison Mort and Smith finished with 20+ kills and Mort tallied a match-high 27 while Smith hit 20 exactly for the double-double.
The Tigers will be back in action on Friday, October 22, when they host UC Riverside at the Alex G. Spanos Center in Dig for a Cure. Pacific will be wearing pink at the game in support of breast health awareness. The match is scheduled for 7:00 pm.