Pacific Women's Volleyball: Engelhardt's Career Night Not Enough As Pacific Falls In Five To Long Beach State
Battling against the preseason favorite Long Beach State 49ers, the Pacific volleyball team could not quite get over the final hump in their match on Saturday, October 9, falling in five games at the Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. The loss dropped the Tigers to 10-7 overall and 3-3 in conference play while the 49ers improved to 13-5 overall and 3-2 in the Big West.
Senior Svenja Engelhardt (Sinsheim, Germany) put together her finest match in her four year career against the 49ers as she posted 28 kills and 19 digs in the loss.
Game scores for the match were: 25-19, 23-25, 25-14, 23-25, 15-11.
Coming off a disappointing loss the night before, the Tigers were looking for redemption against Long Beach State on Saturday night as they played their second match of the weekend on the road in Southern California. Led by their senior, Pacific pushed its way to the brink of victory at the Pyramid before finally giving way to the 49ers.
In the fifth and final game of the night the Tigers jumped out to a quick lead against Long Beach State, winning five of the first seven points played while also capturing a 7-4 advantage midway through the frame. However, the early success in forcing the 49ers into bad attacks would not last as Long Beach State pushed back against the Tigers with a 6-0 run that turned a three point Tiger lead into a three point 49er lead. During the run, the Tigers committed four attack errors that helped Long Beach State take the momentum of the game and with it, the match. Up late, the 49ers turned to their 6-6 freshman Haleigh Hampton to put away the match as the middle blocker scored three of her four kills in the game in the final six points to put away the match for Long Beach State.
Prior to the fifth game, the Tigers and the 49ers traded games to split the first four contests with each team winning alternating games.
In the opening game, the 49ers used a late four-point run against the Tigers to turn a small Pacific lead at 17-16 into a three point hole that would prove to be insurmountable. Hampton and Caitlin Ledoux led the way late for the 49ers as they each picked up a pair of kills during the run. Early in the game, the Tigers looked to the outsides for their offense as Engelhardt posted a game-high seven kills on 15 swings to pace Pacific's attack. Junior Samantha Misa (St. George, Utah) rebounded from a tough match the night before to throw down three kills as well from the outsides while sophomore Gabby Cowden (Danville, Calif.) and sophomore setter Hannah Clancy (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) added three kills as well in the game. However, the balanced attack was not enough to overcome the late success of Long Beach State.
Down one game, the Tigers rallied in game two to squeak out a two point win over the 49ers and even the match at one game a piece. Again locked in a back-and-forth contest in the game, the Tigers did not allow the 49ers to post any significant runs in the game, instead using a 4-2 run at the end of the contest to pick up the win. As the game came down to its final points it was Engelhardt in the middle of the action again as she picked up a kill to give the Tigers a 23-22 lead and assisted on the final kill of the match, a shot by Misa on a broken play for Pacific. In addition to the offense, the Tigers picked up their play on the defensive side of the net as they posted 24 digs in the game led by redshirt-freshman Natalie Robinson (Bakersfield, Calif.) who finished the game with six digs.
Out of the break, Long Beach State took firm control of the match with a dominating 11-point win in game three to put the Tigers in chase mode once again. With nothing going right in the game the Tigers hit just .023 against the 49ers who posted a .306 hitting percentage in the game while siding out at 85%. Committing just three errors in the game, the 49ers got five kills from Ledoux and four from Janisa Johnson as the outside hitters combined for nine kills, equalling Pacific team total for the game.
Back behind the 49ers and needing a win in game four to force game five, the Tigers again looked to the outsides for Engelhardt to carry the offensive load to which she quickly obliged with an eight kill, 20 attack performance. Additionally, Misa aded four kills and just one error in 13 attacks to get the Tigers to game five. In the game, the Tigers grabbed a quick lead against the 49ers behind a balanced attack before holding on for the two point win late.
Overall, Engelhardt finished the match hitting .205 from the pin en route to her career-performance at the net. In addition to her kills and digs, Engelhardt added three assists and one block in the game. Misa finished with 14 kills as the only other Tiger to hit double-figures in kills as she finished with her fourth double-double of the year adding 11 digs to go along with two blocks and one ace. Clancy picked up her team-high seventh double-double of the year with 50 assists and 11 digs while junior Rebekah Torres (Wahiawa, Hawaii) added 20 digs and Robinson posted a career-high 17 digs.
For the 49ers, three players hit double-digits in kills as Ledoux went for 19 in the match while Hampton added 15 and Johnson posted 12. Ledoux and Johnson each posted double-doubles in the match as they tallied 14 digs and 15 digs, respectively. As a team Long Beach State tallied 100 digs in the match, a total which ranks No. 8 all-time in the 49ers single-game record books. Lauren Minkel, Long Beach State's libero, played a large role in the 49ers defensive success as she tallied 32 digs against the Tigers' attack on the night.
Pacific will be back in action on Friday, October 15, when the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara come to Stockton, Calif. The match is scheduled for 7:00 pm at the Alex G. Spanos Center.