Defensive Dominance Gets Pacific On Track With A 3-0 Win Over Towson
Led by a strong block and solid serving, the Pacific women's volleyball team rebounded to start day two of the Hokie Invitational with a 3-0 win over Towson on Saturday, Aug. 31, in Blacksburg, Va. The win for the Tigers moved their record to 2-1 on the new season while Towson fell to 0-3.
Set scores for the match were: 25-15, 25-11, 25-18.
Needing just over an hour to dispatch Towson in a battle of the Tigers, Pacific used a stellar effort on the defensive side of the ball and from behind the service line to come away with the victory. Throughout the opening match of the second day in Blacksburg, the Tigers dominated the net as Pacific posted a season-best 13 blocks in just three sets while holding Towson to -.117 hitting. The negative number in the hitting column marked the second time in as many days the Tigers had overwhelmed an opponents' attack en route to a quick victory after holding St. Francis (PA) to -.090 hitting a day prior.
Pacific's defensive efforts were bolstered by its service game that kept Towson on its heals for much of the morning forcing Towson out of system while also earning the Tigers six aces overall. The Tigers set the tone early in the match with five service aces in the opening frame including two from sophomore captain Kimmy Whitson that spurred on six-point run by Pacific that broke open a 14-12 set for the Tigers.
In set two, freshman Lexi Elman took control of the match for the Tigers as the young outside shook off a rough opening set to post five kills and five digs for Pacific. Elman posted four straight kills for the Tigers early in the set to put Pacific up big to start from which it would not look back. Additionally, the Tigers closed the set by taking the final nine points, turning a 16-11 set into a 25-11 win.
With the match in hand the Tigers took their time putting away Towson in what would be the final set of the morning session as Pacific fell behind 6-1 to start before slowly climbing back into the set. Overall, the Tigers back took control of the set behind their block by posting five total blocks in the set and four in a span of seven points to get back into the set early. Overall, it was junior Gillian Howard that led the way in the set as she posted four of her six blocks during the run including a solo effort. Howard's six blocks tied for the team lead with senior Jennifer Sanders who posted four of her six during Pacific's opening set victory.
In total, Elman led the way for the Tigers with nine kills and eight digs to go along with two blocks. Sophomore Kat Schulz finished with eight kills, 12 digs, one ace and three blocks. As a team the Tigers hit just .176 but came up with 46 digs, 13 blocks and six aces to do their damage against Towson.
Match Note: The victory was head coach Greg Gibbons 100th career victory between Cal Lutheran and Pacific.
The Tigers are back in action later in the day against No. 14 Michigan State.