Tigers Rout UC Riverside Behind Season-Best Hitting Performance

#11 Megan Birch
#11 Megan Birch

Riverside, Calif. - Behind one of the best hitting performances in program history, the Pacific women's volleyball team routed UC Riverside on the road on Friday, November 4, sweeping the Highlanders for the second straight time in 2011.  The win moved the Tigers to 7-5 in the Big West 16-9 overall while the Highlanders fell to 2-9 in the conference and 5-20 on the year.  The win also marked the fourth-consecutive sweep of the Highlanders for the Tigers.

Game scores for the match were: 25-14, 25-17, 25-15.

In what will go down as one of the all-time greatest hitting performances in program history, the Tigers put together a hitting percentage that just missed setting the program's all-time mark as Pacific hit .506 as a team against the Highlanders.  Making just two errors in the match on 89 attacks while posting 47 kills, the 2011 addition of Pacific's attack finished just one error short of the all-time record of .522 set in a three-game sweep of San Jose State on November 15, 1993.  Pacific's top-notch attack was guided by junior Hannah Clancy, who finished the night with 39 assists and eight digs, while also getting in on the fun with three kills in four attempts.

Leading the way for the Tigers was sophomore Megan Birch who posted a match-high 13 kills on 22 attacks.  For the year, Birch dominated the Highlander defense to the tune of 26 kills on 46 attacks with just one error, hitting a ridiculous .543.  Not to be outdone on the night, the rest of the Tiger attack was just as dominant as sophomore Jennifer Sanders posted nine kills on 14 attacks, freshman Katy Tagart added eight kills on 14 swings while junior Gabby Cowden posted six kills on 11 attacks.  Additionally, the Tigers continued their stellar blocking as Pacific posted eight team blocks with Cowden leading the way with five.  Senior Samantha Misa added eight kills on 23 swings with two errors, finishing two kills shy of her sixth-straight double-double as she tallied a match-high 11 digs.  

In each of the three games throughout the night, the Tigers' attack grew stronger, beginning with a .448 hitting percentage before culminating in a season-best .556 attack in game three.  

In game one, the Tigers built a huge early lead, running out to a 16-4 before the Highlanders knew what hit them.  Early in the contest, Pacific went to Sanders, who put down five kills in seven swings to bury UC Riverside.

A game later, Pacific saw Birch take over with six kills in 11 attacks to turn a close game into another run-away win.  Down 15-14 miday through the game, the Tigers went on a 6-0 run behind the serve of sophomore Siga Appelgate and a balanced attack.  

In what would be the final game of the night, Pacific saw its senior take over the match as Misa posted four kills and five digs.  Additionally, Birch continued her outburst from game two by posting four kills and three blocks while the Tigers dispatched the Highlanders in just under an hour and a half.

The Tigers will head to Northridge, Calif. on Saturday, November 5 to take on Cal State Northridge at the Matadome in a clash of teams in the top half of the standings.  The Matadors picked up a three-game sweep of UC Davis on Friday night to put themselves into a virtual tie with Pacific and UC Santa Barbara for second place in the Big West.