MORAGA, Calif. – Emily Baptista smashed 25 kills, matching her season-high, to lead the Pacific women's volleyball team to a four-set (25-23, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21) victory at Saint Mary's on Saturday afternoon.
Baptista committed just eight errors in 54 swings to finish with a .315 hitting percentage. The sophomore from Hilmar also totaled eight digs and an assisted block.
Andie Shelton finished just shy of her third triple-double on the season after collecting 14 kills, 24 assists, and nine digs. Ashlyn Fleming was the only other Tiger player to record double-digit kills, hitting .444 with 11 kills.
Pacific dominated in nearly every statistical category, holding the edge in hitting percentage (.319-.230), kills (63-50), assists (60-45), digs (58-50), service aces (6-5). Saint Mary's out-blocked Pacific 7-6. Leading the Tigers at the net were Shelton and Janie Feldsher with each totaling four block assists.
The Gaels went on an early 7-4 run to open the match. Pacific slowly crept back and went on a five-point run at 7-9 to take a 12-9 lead. Saint Mary's tied the game up twice at 17-17 and 18-18 before the Tigers went on a 5-1 run to gain their largest lead of the match (23-19). One final push by the Gaels added some pressure on the Tigers game, as they came within one point at Pacific's set point (24-23), but a kill by sophomore Skylar Wine secured a victory in the first set.
In set two, the Tigers and Gaels were tied nine times before either team had scored 10 points. Pacific had two 4-0 runs at 10-9 and 22-17 to help claim the second set easily by a score of 25-17.
The Tigers struggled a bit more against Saint Mary's, which hit .419, in the third set. Pacific only had the lead twice and that was to start the set. SMC held a narrow lead throughout a majority of the match and pulled away with its largest lead at 22-17. The Tigers answered back with three straight points but then found themselves trailing by four at set point (24-20). Pacific won the next two points on a kill by Baptista and an assisted block by Fleming and Alex Holt, but the Gaels spoiled the Tigers sweep by winning the set, 25-22.
The fourth set was as tight as the first and third. Following an 8-8 tie, Pacific took a a three-point lead (11-8) after a Saint Mary's service error and consecutive attack errors by SMC's Sienna Young. For every point the Gaels scored the Tigers answered back, inching closer to a match victory. The last multi-point run for Pacific was at 21-18 and 22-18, thanks to kills from Shelton and Baptista. The Gaels were unable to overcome the four-point defictit and eventually fell by a score of 25-21.
Pacific will return to the Bay Area next weekend to take on Santa Clara and San Francisco.