Pacific Women's Volleyball: Cowden Leads Pacific To The Sweep Of Cal State Northridge
Continuing their run of dominance over their last three matches, the Pacific women's volleyball team swept away Cal State Northridge on Saturday, October 2, in front of their home crowd at the Alex G. Spanos Center. The victory for the Tigers was their 10th of the season as they improved to 10-5 overall and 3-1 in Big West play while the Matadors fell to 6-12 on the season and 0-4 in the conference.
Game scores for the match were 25-15, 25-18, 25-20.
Building upon the momentum from the previous night, the Tigers got right to work and put the Matadors away quickly in the opening game of the night as they picked up a 10 point win to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Opening the match, the Tigers jumped out front 7-2 in the first game as they made use early mistakes by the Matadors while putting away a pair of chances at the net for junior Samantha Misa (St. George, Utah) and freshman Jennifer Sanders (Katy, Texas). Up five to start the match, the only relinquished one point off their lead during the rest of the game before putting the first game away with a 10-5 run midway through the frame to put Cal State Northridge behind by double digits. The Tigers did most of their damage in the middle of the court as Sanders combined with sophomore Gabby Cowden (Danville, Calif.) to post identical lines of three kills, one error and five attacks.
Seeing the early success in the middle, sophomore Hannah Clancy (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) continued to go back to her middle blockers throughout the second set in search of points. Cowden and Sanders did not let their opportunities to shine go to waste as Cowden tallied five kills and just one error on six swings while Sanders added three more kills on eight attempts. Up just one point at 16-15, the Tigers broke open the game buried Cal State Northridge with a 9-3 run to close out the frame and take the 2-0 game lead. During the run, Cowden picked up two of her five kills and added a block to push the Tigers to the win.
After the middle blockers took their turn leading the offense through the first two games, senior Svenja Engelhardt (Sinsheim, Germany) reasserted herself at the top of the heap for the Tigers as she posted a game-high five kills in the final frame of the night on 12 attacks. In addition to setting Engelhardt, Misa jumped back into the fray on the offensive side of the net with four kills in the game as she attempted 12 attacks as well. The continued pounding on the pins by the Tigers eventually broke down the Matadors defenses as the Tigers turned a slim 20-18 advantage into a solid 23-18 late game lead. Starting the late run for the Tigers was Engelhardt as she picked up her lone ace of the evening on her first serve of the rotation. Despite the constant barrage from the outsides, it was again the middle blockers who put the game and with it the match away for the Tigers as Sanders put the Tigers on the brink of the match with her final kill of the evening while Cowden slammed down her 10th and final kill of the night to seal the victory.
Overall, Cowden was the lone attack in the match to hit double-figures in kills as she posted 10 kills in the match on 19 attacks. This was the first time in her young career that Cowden led the team in kills. In addition to her attacking, Cowden posted two aces, two digs and two blocks on the night. Engelhardt and Sanders each finished the match with eight kills while Misa posted six. Clancy finished her evening with 32 assists while also adding seven digs and one block.
As a team, the Matadors hit just .027 for the match as the Tigers forced them into 25 attack errors on 111 attempts while posting 28 kills. Natalie Allen and Una Siljegovic each had six kills to lead the way for Cal State Northridge.
Pacific will be back in action on Friday, October 8 when the team travels to Fullerton, Calif. to take on the Titans of Cal State Fullerton. Match time is scheduled for 7:00 pm.