Tigers Make Short Work Of The Spartans

#11 Megan Birch - Photo by: Gary Jones
#11 Megan Birch - Photo by: Gary Jones
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San Jose, Calif. – Playing their final non-conference match of the season, the Pacific women's volleyball team made short work of their former rival as the Tigers won in a sweep over San Jose State on Tuesday, September 25. The win moved the Tigers to 12-2 on the year and 12-1 in non-conference play.

Set scores for the match were: 25-21, 25-17, 25-20.

Despite statistically dominating the opening set against the Spartans, the Tigers were forced to fight for the early lead as Pacific was unable to put San Jose State away until late in the first frame. Down two at 19-17, the Tigers finally put together a sustained run against the Spartans to come away with the set. Out of their first and only called timeout of the set, the Tigers posted an 8-2 run to close the frame and with it, take a 1-0 advantage in the match. Overall, the Tigers outhit the Spartans .359-to-.160, led by junior Jennifer Sanders who posted six of the Tigers' 17 kills while hitting .750.

Tied at 4-4 in the second set, the Tigers turned up the pressure on the Spartans and forced San Jose State to break on both sides of the net. Flying to the pins, the Tigers pounded down eight kills from the outsides between junior Megan Birch and freshman Kat Schulz to open up a 10-point lead at 16-6. Despite the quick start, the Tigers struggled late to put the Spartans away as San Jose State began to recover against Pacific at the end of the set. Up 10 at 23-13, the Spartans posted four straight against the Tigers to put a small scare into Pacific, but a brief timeout and a refocusing the Tigers' at the net ended the Spartans' hopes for a miracle comeback.

With Birch proving to be nearly unstoppable in the opening two sets, the Tigers continued to feed the third-year attacker in set three as she picked up five kills in the first 11 points for Pacific. Her hot start to the set would not dissipate late as the second time through her front row rotation the junior picked up four more kills to keep the Spartans at arms length. Pacific would close out the set with its defense as a block and tough serving put San Jose State away. The Tigers ended their night with their best hitting effort of the match as Pacific posted a .528 mark in set three as Pacific posted 20 kills with just one error on 36 attacks.

In the match, Birch picked up her 200th kill of the season during the first set of the night. The junior finished with a match-high 18 kills to post double-digit kills for the 12th time in 14 matches on the year. She hit a season-best .515 in the match as she committed just one error on 33 swings. As a team, the Tigers posted a .363 hitting percentage, just seven points off their season high, as Pacific tagged the Spartans for 36 kills and on 102 attacks with just nine errors. Senior Hannah Clancy orchestrated the Tiger attack throughout the night as she posted 39 assists while grabbing her 11th double-double of the season adding 10 digs to Pacific's defensive efforts.

For the Spartans, Mary Alice O'Reilly was the lone attacker to reach double-figures in kills as she posted 11 kills on .231 hitting. As a team, the Tigers held San Jose State to .157 hitting as the Spartans posted 37 kills and 18 errors on 121 swings. 

Pacific will head back into the fray of the Big West on Friday, September 28, as the Tigers return home for the first time in over a month as they take on Cal State Fullerton at the Alex G. Spanos Center. The match is scheduled for 7:00 pm.