Pacific Women's Volleyball: Comeback Bid Falls Short As The Tigers Lose In Five To Arizona State
Playing against the host Sun Devils at the ASU Sheraton Tournament, the Pacific volleyball team saw its comeback bid fall just short as they fell 3-2 on Saturday, September 18. The loss dropped the Tigers to 7-3 on the year while the Sun Devils improved to 5-6. Both teams sit at 1-1 in the tournament and trail No. 21 Michigan by one game with Michigan posting a 2-0 record in Tempe, Ariz.
The loss for the Tigers was their first in five games this season after picking up five game wins against Texas A&M and Santa Clara earlier this season.
Game scores for the match were: 25-23, 26-24, 17-25, 20-25, 16-14.
Despite career efforts from their outside hitters and solid play from the middles, the Tigers could not overcome their own mistakes and the blocking efforts of the Sun Devils in their five game loss to start the second day of the tournament. Senior Svenja Engelhardt(Sinsheim, Germany) and junior Samantha Misa (St. George, Utah) each put up career tying bests in the five game match for the Tigers with Engelhardt tallying a match-high 24 kills while Misa added 20 more. However, the duo also committed 22 combined errors at the net as they took 133 of Pacific's 209 total swings in the match.
In the first two game of the day the Tigers led early but struggled to put the Sun Devils away, allowing Arizona State to hang around long enough to eventually steal the games and the 2-0 lead. In the opening game, Arizona State did what no other team has been able to do for the first 10 games in 2010, outdig the Tigers as the Sun Devils posted 17 digs to the Tigers' 12 en route to the victory. In game two, it was the Sun Devils work at the net, 3.5 team blocks and touches on almost every one of Pacific's attacks, that did in the Tigers. Pacific hit just .085 in the game as they tallied 13 kills and nine errors on 47 attacks. In addition, the Tigers had trouble with the attack of Sarah Reaves at the middle of the net as she posted half of the Sun Devils kills in the game.
Staring defeat in the face, the Tigers would not go down without a fight as they stormed back in game two to win comfortably at 25-17. Hitting .310 as a team in the game, the Tigers knocked down 11 kills from the pins with Engelhardt and Misa combining for 11 kills and just three errors in the game. Staking out to a five point lead early, the Tigers never let the Sun Devils get close in the third game as they turned up the heat defensively with their play along the back line, posting 21 digs in the game.
In a flip from the first two games of the match it was the Tigers rallying midway through the fourth game to overcome a four point deficit and take control and even the match. Balancing their attack between the outsides and their middles, the Tigers put to use freshman Jennifer Sanders (Katy, Texas) and sophomore Gabby Cowden (Danville, Calif.) as the duo posted eight kills combined in the game and just one error led by Sanders game-high five kills.
Back to even and playing a decisive game five the used their momentum from the previous two game wins to jump out quickly and capture a 4-0 lead before the Sun Devils could respond. However, the quick start would prove to be just a flash in the pan as Arizona State again rallied against the Tigers, this time using a 9-2 run to take a 9-6 lead in the first to 15 game. Reaves and Danica Mendivil did the most damage against the Tigers during the run by the Sun Devils as they put down all five kills from the outsides. After working their way back into the game and the match the Tigers actually found themselves serving for the match at 14-13 and with an offensive swing of their own from the outside. Despite the attacking chance, the Sun Devils stopped the attack with their 17th team block of the afternoon. They would close out the game and the match with two more points, staving off the comeback bid by the Tigers and handing them just their third loss of the season.
In addition to her 24 kills, Engelhardt posted 17 digs in the match for her second double-double of the year. Sophomore Hannah Clancy (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) tallied a career-high 52 assists in the game while also posting 14 digs for her fourth double-double of the year. Defensively, junior Rebekah Torres (Wahiawa, Hawaii) was one dig short of tying her career record for digs as she finished the game with 25 against Arizona State while freshman Megan Birch(Monroe, Wash.) tallied a career-best five blocks at the net for the Tigers.
For the Sun Devils, Reaves and Mendivil led the way offensively with 20 kills and 18 kills, respectively. Cat Highmark posted a double-double in the match with 53 assists and 13 digs. She also added one kill, one ace and five blocks. Sonja Markanovich led the blocking efforts of the Sun Devils with 10 blocks in the game.
The Tigers will be back in action almost immediately as they take on No. 21 Michigan at 5:00 pm at the ASU Sheraton Tournament.