No. 12 Tigers Fall To No. 3 UC Irvine
Stockton, Calif. – The Pacific men's volleyball team returned to action in the Alex G. Spanos Center for a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match against UC Irvine. Despite a great effort all night, the Tigers fell 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-17, 25-19). The loss dropped No. 12 Pacific to 6-11 (3-9 MPSF) and improved No. 3 UC Irvine to 13-3 (9-3 MPSF).
The Tigers fell behind early in the opening set 7-3, and could not rally to make a comeback. Pacific eventually fell 25-18 despite junior Hughes' four kills, while hitting .500. Gornik would also aid the Tigers offense with three kills to hit .333. Sophomore libero Javier Caceres would add four of his nine digs to open the match. Senior Sean Daley and Hughes would each add a block in the game.
Game two was a different story for the Tigers after falling behind 9-4, head coach Joe Wortmann called a timeout and the team responded. Pacific would go on a 6-2 run and continue to chip away at the Anteaters lead to knot the score at 15. Then, the squads traded points before UC Irvine would have game point at 24-22, but back-to-back kills from Hughes then Gornik would force an Anteaters timeout. Out of the break UC Irvine committed an attack error to set up game point for the Tigers. Then, after a perfect set from junior Patrick Tunnell, senior leader Gornik would slam the ball to the hardwood to take game two 26-24.
Leading the Tigers in the second set was Gornik and Hughes with seven and six kills, respectively. Hughes and Gornik both set game-highs in the second frame as Hughes hit .714 and Gornik finished with a .700 attacking percentage. Tunnell would tally 12 of his 32 assists in the second game.
Pacific trailed 14-11 in the third game before an Anteaters 7-1 run put the set out of reach. UC Irvine would go on to take the third frame 25-17. Gornik and Hughes would each add three kills in the game, while Tunnell added eight assists.
Pacific dropped the final game after falling behind 8-2 early. However, the set did not come so easy for the Anteaters as Pacific would rally to bring the score to 11-9 and force a timeout. Out of the break UC Irvine would grab command of the game and match 25-19. The Tigers offense was led by Hughes' four kills in the frame.
Leading the Anteaters on the night was Kevin Tillie and Carson Clark with 19 and 17 kills, respectively.
The Tigers return to action tomorrow, March 3 for an MPSF match against UC San Diego in the Alex G. Spanos Center. The Tigers swept the Tritons 3-0 two weeks ago in San Diego. The contest will begin at 7:30 p.m. following the women's basketball game against Cal Poly.