Tigers Survive Another Five As Pacific Outlasts Cal Poly
Doing what they have done all season long, the Pacific women's volleyball team found themselves in another five-set battle as the Tigers outlasted Cal Poly, 3-2, on Saturday, November 10. The win for the Tigers was their 20th on the year marking the first time since 2001 Pacific has reached the 20-win threshold. Overall, Pacific improved to 20-8 while climbing to 8-7 in the Big West while the Mustangs fell to 3-23 overall and 2-12 in conference play. The win also marked Pacific's ninth win in five-set contests as the Tigers improved to 9-4 in fifth and decisive sets.
Set scores for the match were: 25-21, 25-23, 13-25, 22-25, 15-7.
On a night in which the Tigers picked up their 20th win of the season to mark their most wins in a single season in over a decade, Pacific also saw a milestone performance achieved by their senior setter Hannah Clancy. Entering the night just shy of 1,000 career digs, the senior came up big defensively for the Tigers throughout the night as Clancy picked up 19 digs in the match to finish the night with 1,004 career digs. The senior picked up her 1,000th dig in set four of the five-set match as with the 1,000th dig, Clancy became just the second player in Pacific program history to posted 3,000+ career assists and 1,000+ career digs. Clancy joined Pacific hall-of-famer and all-time great Melanie Beckenhauer as the only two Tigers to ever reach such a milestone.
Not to be outdone, the Tigers also saw their freshman Anne-Sophie Bauer continue her growth as a true all-around talent as the young outside hitter posted a career-best 24 digs in the victory. Bauer just missed her fourth-straight double-double as she finished her night with just seven kills on 43 attacks.
With their career performances leading the way, the Tigers narrowly avoided being upset by a game Mustang squad that was looking for its third conference win of the season. Early on, the Tigers appeared as if they were in line for another quick win over Cal Poly in much the same fashion as their 3-0 domination just one month prior. However, the easy win was not to be as the Mustangs controlled the flow of the match and the stat sheet while forcing the Tigers to fight for every inch needed for victory.
In both of the opening two sets of the night, the Tigers ran out to big early leads only to see the Mustangs claw back to late making Pacific sweat. In the opening set, the Tigers made an early nine point lead stick as they were able to hold off a late charge that closed the gap to just three before Cal Poly ran out of time. A set later, Pacific opened the set with five-straight points and held a lead as large as six midway through the frame only to see the Mustangs close the gap late, even taking a brief lead at 21-20. The Tigers would score five of the final seven points of the set to take the 2-0 lead, but with a tenuous hold on the momentum it would only be a matter of time before the Cal Poly took control.
The change in momentum would not take long to take effect as Cal Poly came charging out of the locker room in set three and ran away with a 12-point win in the frame to hand Pacific its worst single-set loss of the year. Still up one set, the Tigers let the match victory temporarily slip through their hands in set four as the Mustangs used a 6-1 run at the end of the frame to turn a 21-18 deficit into a 25-22 win.
Once again back in familiar territory of a fifth set, the Tigers did not panic as Pacific reversed the course of the match with one massive run. Up just one point at 8-7, the Tigers ran away with the final set of the night behind a closing 7-0 run on the serve of Clancy, who ended the night with her career-best fourth ace of the match.
Overall, the Tigers were led by their junior Megan Birch who finished the night with 16 kills on 54 attacks. Just behind Birch, senior Gabby Cowden posted 14 kills and just one error on 35 attacks in her first match on the right-side while junior Jennifer Sanders added 14 kills as well on .407 hitting. Defensively, sophomore Gillian Howard led the way with seven blocks as she also added eight kills on 27 attacks. Clancy picked up her sixth-straight double-double since coming back from injury as the senior posted 47 assists to go along with her 19 digs.
For the Mustangs, the night was nearly won by Holly Franks as she posted a match-best 21 kills on .306 hitting while adding five aces, five digs and four blocks. Chelsea Hardin added 11 kills while Megan McConnell posted nine kills on .381 hitting to go along with 10 digs and six blocks. For the night, Cal Poly outhit the Tigers .222-to-.198, outblocked the Tigers 13-to-9 and outaced the Tigers 10-to-5.
Pacific hits the homestretch of its season on Friday, November 16 when the Tigers host No. 7 Hawai'I to begin a three-match homestand. The match is scheduled for 7:00 pm from the Alex G. Spanos Center.