Pacific Mens Volleyball: Tigers Take First MPSF Win Over UC Santa Barbara
The Pacific men's volleyball team returned to action on Friday, Jan. 20 against the 2011 national runner-up UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. The Tigers took the match 3-1 (25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 25-13) led by junior Taylor Hughes' 13 kills and six blocks. Senior Sean Daley added six blocks including four solos for the defense. With the win Pacific improved to 3-2 and 1-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). The loss dropped the Gauchos to 2-3 and 0-1 in the conference.
The Tigers trailed early in the first set before taking the game lead 11-10 and never looked back. After a kill from Daley, Pacific led 20-15, and settled in to take the set 25-23. The final kill came from one of sophomore Adam Troy's 12 strikes. The Tigers recorded 11 of their 19 match blocks in the initial frame.
Pacific and UCSB battled to a 12-12 tie before the Tigers took the advantage in the second set. The game's final point came on a block from Daley and junior setter Patrick Tunnell. The Tucson, Ariz. native also recorded a team-high 41 assists.
The Gauchos were determined to not be Pacific's third match sweep of the season in the third frame. UCSB jumped out to an early 16-11 lead, but the Tigers battled back to tie the game at 20. However, after a timeout, the Gauchos rallied for five straight points to take the set.
The final game was all Tigers as they lead by as much as five points throughout the set. They hit .556 in the final frame, with 15 kills on 27 attacks and no errors. The match-point was won on another block solo from Daley.
Senior outside hitter Florian Gornik recorded a team-high 13 digs for the Tigers, while collecting 13 kills.
Head coach Joe Wortmann commented about his team's performance saying, " we showed a great amount of resilience and effort. Our guys were willing to play every point hard with passion." He added, "Pat (Tunnell) was unbelievable giving three of our guys double-digit kills. It was great to see Javier Caceres, Daley, Troy and Gornik all click on the same night."
Wortmann continued to say, "we had great serving and blocking tonight which pressured the Gauchos, but give UC Santa Barbara credit they played hard and fought for points giving us a great match."
Leading the Gauchos was Miles Evans with 16 kills, while Oliver Deutschman had a match-high 42 assists.
The Tigers are back in action tomorrow Jan. 21 against No. 3 and MPSF foe UCLA at 7 p.m.