Pacific women's volleyball: Dominating Performance Nets Pacific A 3-1 Upset Of No. 24 Arizona
Kicking off play at the Wolf Pack Invitational in Reno, Nev., the Pacific women's volleyball team picked up their biggest win of the young 2010 season as they dominated No. 24 Arizona en route to a 3-1 victory on Friday, September 10. The win for the Tigers was their fifth straight as they improved to 5-1 on the year while the Wildcats fell to 5-2.
Game scores for the match were: 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 25-12.
After letting an upset bid fall through their hands to start the season against LSU, the Tigers were not going to let their second chance slip away as they put together a solid performance on both sides of the net. Early and throughout the match the Tigers' defense proved to be the difference against the Wildcats while late it was the offense that was allowed to take control.
"We had a perfect pass on the match at 52 percent because if you have 50 percent perfect pass ratio you are not going to lose a match," said head coach Greg Gibbons after the match. "It was easy for Hannah (Clancy) to make some good decisions and for us to play our speed. We kept a lot of pressure on Arizona, served aggressive and forced them out of system a lot. With out speed we never let them get into a rhythm at all. Even in transition we were sitting in the right spots."
Throughout the first three games of the morning session, the Tigers and the Wildcats battled back-and-forth as both teams tried to establish dominance over the other without much luck. Early on, Pacific's back line defense was the catalyst for success as the Tigers' found themselves in position to get the dig on many of the Wildcats' attacks. However, the balance to the Tigers' back line defense was Arizona's front line defense as the Wildcats used their height and athleticism to get hands on and blocks up against many of Pacific's attacks.
Opening the match, the Tigers took game one with a late run, flipping a one point, 17-16 lead into a solid three point lead at 21-18 as they forced the Wildcats into an array of mistakes. The Tigers forced the Wildcats to take multiple swings in every point as they kept the ball alive in the back with 13 digs in the game led by sophomore Hannah Clancy (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and junior Rebekah Torres (Wahiawa, Hawaii) who each tallied five digs in the opening game. The defense by the Tigers forced the Wildcats into hitting .000 for the game as they just seven kills and made seven errors on 28 attempts. The Tigers hit just .172 in the game but did spread their offense around as five of their six eligible attackers recorded a kill in the game.
Up one game, the Tigers again found themselves in a battle with the Wildcats as they looked to take a commanding two games to none lead. In a sport of runs, game two showed the essence of that idea as both teams traded runs in the game before a winner could be decided. At the net, the Wildcats found themselves in prime positions against the Tigers throughout the game as they used four team blocks, including three block assists from Cursty Jackson in the middle, to flip the tables on the Tigers from game one and even the match at one game a piece.
Signs of what would come in the fourth and final game of the match started to show in the third game of the morning as the Tigers put the Wildcats behind comfortably 23-17 in the game before a small run late allowed Arizona to climb within two at the finish of the game. After putting up respectable numbers in the first two games to lead Pacific offensively, senior Svenja Engelhardt (Sinsheim, Germany) continued to push the Tigers in game three as she tallied five kills on 10 attacks while adding one ace. It was Engelhardt at the net and behind the service line who broke open the game for the Tigers as she posted a pair of kills and served out five straight points to break a 16-16 tie and give the Tigers their 23-17 lead late in the game.
Finding their stride late in the third game, the Tigers used their momentum to run away from the Wildcats in game four, burying Arizona early and never looking back on their way to their first win over a ranked opponent in 2010. Forcing two Arizona timeouts before the two teams reached 15 combined points the Tigers held a 10-4 lead on the Wildcats before they knew what hit them and using a balanced attack continued to build on their lead. The Tigers hit a match-high .444 in the game while holding the Wildcat to .000 for the second time in the match. Coming on strong in the third game with five kills, junior Sam Misa (St. George, Utah) led the way in the game for the Tigers with four kills, needing seven attacks to do here damage with no errors made. Additionally, Misa picked up her second ace of the morning in the game and added four digs to post her second consecutive double-double.
"We played our same match throughout and I think they got frustrated," stated Gibbons when asked about the difference between game four and the rest of the match. "They are not used to their attacks not going down or used to teams getting touches and digs and we were able to put out diggers in the right positions. It was a great job by Rebekah (Torres) and down the line by Hannah. We just took care of our side of the net and I think the match spoke for itself."
Overall, the Tigers got stellar all-around performances from Misa and Clancy as the duo posted double-doubles for the second straight game. Misa finished the match with 15 kills and 13 digs while Clancy added 43 assists and 17 digs while also tallying four kills. Offensively, Engelhardt again led the way with 16 kills while Torres led defensively with 22 digs.
For the Wildcats, Tiffany Owens did all she could to keep her team in the contest as she posted 17 kills and 13 digs for the double-double performance. She was joined by her setter Paige Weber who also tallied a double-double with 33 assists and 10 digs in the match. Whitney Dosty, Arizona's top hitter coming into the match posted nine kills but also made 11 errors on 35 swings as she hit -.057 for the match. Pacific outhit the Wildcats .274-to-.129 while also outdigging its opponents 64-to-43.