Pacific's Upset Bid Falls Short For The Second Time As Hawai'i Rallies In Five

Pacific Women's Volleyball - Photo by: Gary Jones
Pacific Women's Volleyball - Photo by: Gary Jones
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Stockton, Calif. - For the second time in under one month the Pacific women's volleyball team came up just short of upsetting No. 7 Hawai'i as the Tigers fell in five on Friday, November 16. The loss for the Tigers snapped a three-match winning streak and dropped Pacific to 20-9 on the year and 8-8 in conference play while the Rainbow Wahine improved to 23-2 overall and 15-0 in the Big West. The match was Pacific's nation-leading 14th five-set match of the season as the Tigers fell to 9-5 in such matches.

Set scores for the match were: 25-16, 25-27, 22-25, 25-16, 15-7.

In a match similiar to their tilt at Hawai'i on October 20, the Tigers took control of the match early only to see the Big West champs storm back to come-from-behind and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

For the Rainbow Wahine, the opening set win over the Tigers was their fourth-straight set win over Pacific after picking up the final three sets of their first encounter in October. In the set, Hawai'i was able to turn a close 19-16 affair into a run-away win with a closing 6-0 run. In the run, the Kaela Goodman took control for Hawai'i as junior off the bench picked up the final three points with a pair of kills and a block.

Down one, the Tigers roared back in game two behind a solid block and a strong serving performance. Led by their junior in the middle, Jennifer Sanders, the Tigers posted six team blocks including four from Sanders to hold Hawai'i to just .093 hitting in the set. The big block and four service aces allowed the Tigers to build a late five-point lead, however, the Rainbow Wahine would not go quietly as they forced extra-points before succumbing to the Tigers.

A set later, the Tigers again built a five-point lead, this time early, to put Hawai'i on its heels and playing from behind. Pacific would hold its lead throughout much of the set, even cruising to a 24-18nlead before a late push by Hawai'i would again close the gap. To build their lead the Tigers went to the pins as freshman Kat Schulz posted six kills in eight swings to lead the way while redshirt-freshman Anne-Sophie Bauer added four on 13 attacks. Schulz's sixth kill would prove critical as the lefty ended the Rainbow Wahine's comeback bid after Hawai'i scored four straight-points to cut the Tigers' lead from six to just two at the end of the set.

The late pushes by Hawai'i in each of the sets won by the Tigers would prove to be signs of what was to come as the Rainbow Wahine found their groove in set four and paralyed their successes into big wins in sets four and five. In set four, the Rainbow Wahine ran away with the match-evening win as they used a 10-3 run to turn a three-point lead into a 10-point avantage late. In set five, Hawai'i never gave the Tigers a glimpse of hope as they did a month prior as a 9-2 run turned a 4-3 lead into a commanding 13-5 advantage in the race to 15. Overall, the Tigers could never get on track in the final two sets of the night as the Rainbow Wahine committed just four combined errors in sets four and five while serving the Tigers out of system on the other side of the net.

Overall, the Tigers were led by Bauer at the net as the young outside posted 15 kills on 53 swings. She just missed the double-double on the night as she posted nine digs to go along with two aces and two blocks. Junior Megan Birch was the only other Tiger to reach double-digit kills as she posted 11 kills on 37 attacks. Senior Hannah Clancy picked up her seventh-straight double-double with 38 assists and a team-best 19 digs. Junior Jennifer Sanders led the Tigers' defensive efforts at the net as the third-year middle posted seven blocks including tying a career best with three solo efforts.

For the Rainbow Wahine, Emily Hartong posted a match-high 25 kills on 52 attacks while hitting .346. She added three aces and 16 digs to pick up a double-double on the night. Jane Crosson was not far behind as she posted 18 kills and 15 digs while Jade Vorster adde 13 kills and five blocks. For the night, Hawai'i outhit the Tigers .262-to-.160 while Pacific outblocked its opponents 10.0-to-9.0.

The Tigers will host Cal State Northridge on Saturday, November 17 in their penultimate match of the 2012 regular season. Pacific and the Matadors will face off at 7:00 pm from the Alex G. Spanos Center.