For the fourth time in as many years, the Pacific women's volleyball team claimed the Community Bankers Classic title as the Tigers downed San Jose State in three on Saturday, Sept. 14.
Champions Again, The Tigers Claim The 2013 Bankers Classic Title
For the fourth time in as many years the Pacific women's volleyball team claimed the Community Bankers Classic title as the Tigers downed San Jose State in three on Saturday, Sept. 14. The win moved the Tigers' record to 7-4 on the year and 3-0 at the tournament.
The sweep for the Tigers marked the ninth-straight sweep for Pacific at its home tournament dating back to 2011. Additionally, Pacific's seniors, Megan Birch and Jennifer Sanders, finished perfect at the Bankers Classic winning all 11 matches played at the tournament since arriving at Pacific as freshmen in 2010.
Set scores for the match were: 25-21, 25-23, 25-15.
In a battle from the outset of the opening frame, the Tigers found themselves in unfamiliar territory at the Classic as Pacific trailed by as much as three throughout the early go of the set. Struggling to find their offense the Tigers battled back to tie the set at 14-14 but fell behind again 18-15. With time running out, Pacific got what it was looking for as three straight kills, two from freshman Lexi Elman and another from junior Gillian Howard tied the set at 18 a peice heading down the stretch. Pacific would finally take the lead for good at 20-19 as sophomore captain Kimmy Whitson took control of the frame herself with a kill and a block alongside of Howard. She would add her second kill of the night to give Pacific set point from which they would get an ace from Howard to close the set on a 6-2 run.
Despite the win in set one, the Tigers were not out of the woods against the Spartans as San Jose State again clamped down on Pacific's attack early in the second frame. Behind three early blocks and a nearly flawless attack, the Spartans again took a small early advantage to put the Tigers' on their heels. However, Pacific would not wait until its backs were against the wall to fight back as the Tigers turned it around behind an 11-1 run that posted the Tigers a 19-11 lead. During the critical run Pacific picked up three kills from sophomore Kat Schulz who also served the final six points of the stretch for the Tigers. The big run proved to be of utter importance as the Spartans fought back to knot the set at 22-22 behind the attack of Hanah Blume before Pacific scored three of the final four points to hold on for the win.
After a war through the first two sets of the night, the Tigers turned the third and what would be the championship set into a rout. Up 10-9, the Tigers used a 7-2 run to bury San Jose State at 19-12. The bulk of the damage in the set came from sophomore Kat Schulz who shook off a slow start to pound down seven kills in the final frame of action. She would finish the night with a team-best 12 kills on .300 hitting while adding seven digs.
Overall, the night was dominated by Elman who posted 11 kills and 13 digs to post her third double-double of the weekend. Howard added seven kills and three blocks to the Tigers' effort while Birch posted seven kills. Both Elman and Howard earned all-tournament honors for their play throughout the weekend.
Earning tournament MVP honors for her play throughout the weekend, Whitson was masterful once again guiding the Tigers' offense as she posted 32 assists and six kills on eight attacks. Defensively, Whitson tallied nine digs and two blocks as she finished the tournament with 17 digs and 11 blocks overall.
The Spartans, who finished second in the tournament, were led by all-tournament honoree Hanah Blume who posted 11 kills and 13 digs to go along with three blocks. Mary Alice O'Reilly also earned all-tournament honors after posted seven kills and five blocks in the match.
Pacific is back in action on Thursday, Sept. 19, when the Tigers make their debut appearance in the West Coast Conference with a home tilt against Gonzaga. The Tigers and the Bulldogs will face off at 7:00 pm from the Alex. G. Spanos Center.