Aug. 29, 2009
Fresno, Calif. - Behind 18 kills from sophomore Rebekah Torres (Wahiawa, Hawaii), the Pacific women's volleyball team overcame a shaky start to the 2009 season to pick up a 3-1 win over UW-Green Bay on Friday, August 28. The victory set the Tigers off on the right foot as they moved to 1-0 on the season while the Phoenix dropped to 0-1 to start the year.
Set scores for the match were: 14-25, 25-14, 25-12, 25-18.
Looking to get off to a fast start to the 2009 season, the Tigers struggled to find their rhythm in the opening set of the Fresno State Invitational, committing eight hitting errors and posting a -.071 hitting percentage in the first set of the match. The Tigers early nerves put Pacific in an hole against the Phoenix as Green Bay pushed out to a big seven point lead as the media timeout neared after the Tigers had closed the set to within one at 10-9. The ensuing seven point run for the Phoenix broke open the set and setting up the dominating first set victory.
Throughout the run for Green Bay, the Tigers committed three attacking errors at the net, sending shots long as they attempted to hit through the Green Bay block. With the set nearly in hand Kelly Mischler made sure the Phoenix would not let the opening set slip away as she posted a trio of kills in the final points of the set and combined with the rest of the Green Bay attack to close out the opener on an 8-to-4 run.
Despite the start to the match, the Tigers rebounded in set two, turning the tables on the Phoenix in dominating fashion to capture their own 25-14 victory. Led by a nearly flawless attack, Pacific posted 20 kills in 36 swings, committing just two errors for a .500 hitting percentage. The lone attacker to find success in the opening set, Torres continued her torrid start, four kills in set one, posting five more in the second set. Joining Torres in the attack, senior Mallori Gibson (Bakersfield, Calif.) and junior Svenja Engelhardt (Sinsheim, Germany) shook off less then desirable performances in the opening set with impressive outputs in set two. The duo combined to post 10 kills in the second set with Gibson providing additional offense behind the service line with her first service ace of the season.
With the trio combining on the outsides to provide a balanced attack, the Tigers jumped out to an 8-4 lead to start the set, forcing Green Bay to call an early timeout and setting the scene for the rest of the set. After the timeout, Pacific rattled off a 13-5 run that put the set away and evened the match at one set apiece heading into the break.
After the impressive recovery in set two, the Tigers outdid themselves in the third set, again running out to an early lead that produced a 13 point victory for Pacific and a commanding 2-1 set lead. Again, it was the sophomore outside hitter, Torres, who propelled the Tiger attack as she posted a set-high six kills on 11 swings. For Gibson, a quiet set at the net meant a stronger focus behind the service stripe as she dropped in three more service aces throughout the set as Pacific produced a match-high six aces throughout the contest.
Following suit from set two, a quick outburst to 8-4 caused an early timeout from Green Bay. However, the timeout led to the same results as the Tigers produced their second 13-5 run to put away the set. Pacific sided out an an impressive 83% in the set, a number only outdone by their set two percentage of 86%.
With a solid two sets to one lead, Pacific put away the match in the fourth set with its defense, rather than its offense, as the Tigers posted five team blocks in the set, led by Torres who tallied a match-best two solo blocks in the set. Joining Torres at the net, Gibson combined with Pacific's middle blockers, seniors Masha Vaysburg (Livermore, Calif.) and Natalia Tomaszewska (Marklowice, Poland) to post three assisted blocks. In addition to their blocks, the Tigers' middles combined for 14 kills as the duo each posted seven kills apiece in the match.
What was a close set throughout at 18-16, turned into a runaway victory for the Tigers as Pacific closed the set and the match on a 7-2 run, marked by all four of Torres' set four kills.
Overall, Torres had her finest game for the Tigers in her young career as the sophomore posted her first career double-double with 18 kills and 10 digs. She added two blocks and had just three attack errors in her four sets on the court. Engelhardt joined Torres with a double-double as she posted 10 kills and 11 digs in the match while Gibson nearly had a double-double with 11 kills and seven digs to go along with her four blocks and four aces. Setting the Tigers up for success was senior Olivia Riley (Agua Dulce, Calif.) who had a match-high 43 assists and pushed the Tigers to a .290 hitting percentage.
For the Phoenix, Mischler was the lone attacker to reach double-figures as she posted 12 kills on 24 swings while also adding two aces. Nikki Hintze posted a solid performance for Green Bay as she tallied nine kills and 10 digs in the Phoenix's effort.
The victory marked the first victory in the career of head coach Dave Johnson who took over the Tiger program in July as the sixth head coach in Pacific's storied history.
Pacific will be back in action on Saturday, August 29, for two matches to close out the Fresno State Invitational. The Tigers first match is scheduled for 10:00 am against Cal State Bakersfield while they will play the host Bulldogs from Fresno State to close out the tournament at 7:00 pm.
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