Sanders Leads Pacific Past Cal Poly
Stockton, Calif. - Continuing their run through the conference, the Pacific women's volleyball team swept away the visiting Cal Poly Mustangs at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Friday, October 28 to improve to 6-4 in the Big West and 15-8 overall. The win marked the second straight sweep for the Tigers to start the second half of conference play and their fourth sweep in their last six matches. The loss dropped the Mustangs to 10-13 overall and 5-5 in the Big West.
Game scores for the match were: 25-19, 25-16, 25-18.
Winners of five of their last six, the Tigers made short work of the visiting Mustangs to take control of second place in the Big West behind an offensive attack that was firing on all cylinders throughout the night. Led by their sophomore middle, Jennifer Sanders, the Tigers put together a hitting performance that ranked as one of its best of the season, outhitting Cal Poly, .315-to-.152 to earn the short three-game victory. For Sanders, the all-conference middle had her way with the Mustang defense to the tune of a .609 hitting percentage, a career high for the young attacker, as she posted 14 kills on 23 attacks with no errors.
Right out of the gate, Sanders took control of the match as the sophomore put down seven kills in just 12 attacks to propel Pacific to an opening game victory. Throughout the opening game, the Tigers used small runs, none being longer than three points, to distance themselves from the Mustangs and secure the win.
With the Mustangs worried about the middle, the Tigers took to the pins in game two as Pacific's outside hitters had a field day at the net en route to a dominating nine point win. Hitting .438 (16 kills, two errors, 32 attacks) in the game, the Tigers blew the game wide open early when they changed a 7-6 contest into a 13-6 route with strong attacking and even stronger defense. Pacific picked up four kills in the run while also tallying their first two blocks of the night to put away the Mustangs early. In the set, senior Samantha Misa shook off a rocky start in game one with seven kills in 12 attacks to lead a Tiger offense that saw all five attackers post at least two kills in the game.
Controlling the match in every aspect, Pacific nearly duplicated its game two performance in the match's final stanza as the Tigers again tallied 16 kills and just two errors while hitting .359. Tied at 11-11 in the game, Pacific blitzed the Mustangs with another six point run as Sanders again asserted herself in the match with four kills in five points. She finished the game with five kills and two blocks, combining twice with freshman Katy Tagart, who completed her night with five kills and 11 digs to go along with her two blocks.
Overall, the Tigers saw Misa post a match-high 15 kills on 41 attacks while adding 11 digs to pick up her fourth-consecutive double-double. After Sanders' 14 kills, sophomore Megan Birch tallied nine while junior Gabby Cowden again quietly put together a stellar hitting night with seven kills in 13 attacks with no errors. She also posted two aces, two digs and two blocks. Junior Hannah Clancy, the conductor of Pacific's offensive orchestra, finished just short of a double-double as she tallied 41 assists and eight digs while also tallying two blocks and one kill. Defensively, Pacific's libero, sophomore Koala Matsuoka, and defensive specialist, senior Rebekah Torres, each posted eight of the Tigers' 55 digs.
The Mustangs, who were held in check throughout the night, were led by Jennifer Keddy who posted 11 kills while hitting .226. The junior added nine digs and four blocks as the Mustangs tallied 55 team digs and six team blocks in the match. No other Mustang reached double-figures in kills as Kristina Graven was the closest with seven kills on the night.
Pacific will be back in action on Saturday, October 29, as the team looks to continue its run of late season success when it takes on UC Santa Barbara. The match is scheduled for 7:00 pm.