Tigers Take First Set Against Pepperdine, But Fall 3-1
The Pacific men's volleyball team returned to the court for a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match against the Pepperdine Waves on Saturday, February 25 in the Alex G. Spanos Center. The No. 11 Tigers took the opening frame, but fell to the No. 10 Waves 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-21). The loss dropped Pacific to 5-11 (3-8 MPSF) and improved Pepperdine to 8-6 (6-5 MPSF).
Leading the Tigers on the night was senior Florian Gornik with 12 kills, while hitting .393. Junior Taylor Hughes also added a double-digit kill performance with 10 on 32 swings to go with five blocks. Senior Sean Daley also added five blocks in the match.
The Tigers won an emotional first set 25-22 behind Gornik's five kills and junior Christian Ahlin's three slams. In the set, Pacific trailed 14-11 before rallying to knot the score at 18. After a Pepperdine timeout, the Tigers would continue to pressure the Waves and eventually take the game. Senior Dylan Walker and Hughes each had two kills in the frame. Junior setter Patrick Tunnell collected 10 of his 36 assists in the opening set. While, Daley and Hughes each racked up four blocks in the game. Sophomore libero added six of his 15 digs to open the match.
Then, the score was knotted at nine before Pepperdine seized control of the second game with an 8-2 run. When the set finished the Waves collected a 25-18 set victory. Daley added a set-high four kills for the Tigers, while hitting .429. Gornik recorded three kills to hit .600 in the frame, while Tunnell collected nine assists.
The crucial third frame went to the Waves 25-17 despite three kills from Hughes. Pacific led early in the game, but a mid-set charge from the Waves left the score tied at 15. Then, Pepperdine would close out the Tigers with a 12-2 run for the set victory.
The fourth frame played to a six-all tie before Pepperdine would gain the advantage in the set on a 6-2 swing. Pacific would eventually drop the game and match 25-21. Leading the Tigers in the final set was Gornik's four kills and Hughes' three point-finishers. Mathew Houlihan and Marcian Evans would each add to Pacific's cause with a kill.
The Waves had a total team-effort on the evening with four players collecting double-digit kills. They were led by Josh Taylor, and Maurice Torres who finished with 17 and 15 kills, respectively. Chase Ross recorded 13 kills, while Matt Tarantino added another 10.
Up next for the Tigers is a pair of conference matches against UC Irvine and UC San Diego on March 2 and 3, respectively. The matches are set to begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Alex G. Spanos Center. Last weekend Pacific dropped a 3-0 decision to the Anteaters, but downed UC San Diego.