Volleyball Takes Home Opener

The Pacific volleyball team was just happy to be home Saturday night.

It is a wonder the Tigers still recognized the Spanos Center after a brutal opening schedule of ten road matches greeted the women to start the season. While Pacific went just 4-6 on that road trip, it definitely was not the worst-case scenario, considering the cards that were stacked against them.

The Tigers were eager to get in front of some friendly faces and reward the Tiger faithful with a victory. It was no small task, as the women were pitted against the 9-1 California Bears. With the home crowd behind them, though, the Tigers pulled off a dramatic 3-2 upset to hand Cal its first loss since August 25th.

The Tigers were a little shaky to start the match, as they gave up three straight points at the beginning of the first set and trailed throughout. Pacific was never able to get within four points of the Bears, and things really went off the rails for Pacific at the end of the set, when they were outscored 6-1; Cal ended up taking the set, 25-15.

Pacific struck back in a very competitive second set. The Tigers stayed just a point or two ahead of the Bears for much of the set, until a kill by outside hitter Kaitlyn Lines ’21 capped off a series of points by the Tigers to put them up 22-16.

However, the Bears responded with a few points of their own late in the set to tighten the score to 24-23, but outside hitter Andie Shelton ’19 secured the set for Pacific with a kill coming out of a timeout.

Pacific began the third set on the right foot, falling behind only one time early in the set to build up at 23-18 lead. The home crowd was silenced, though, when Cal came back with a fury. In a shocking sequence, the visitors strung together seven straight points to take the set.

The brutal end to the third set might have been enough to demoralize another team, but the Tigers were not discouraged. The women regrouped and reloaded in the fourth, chipping away at an early deficit to come back and win the set by a score of 21-25.

It would all come down the fifth and final set, and the Tigers pounced early; the women built up an 8-2 lead. The closest Cal would get was 7-12, and the Tigers easily closed out the shortened set, 15-7.

Shelton, Lines, outside hitter Emily Baptista ’20, and middle blocker Ashlyn Fleming ’20 all had stellar outings for the Tigers. Shelton finished with 10 kills, 23 assists, six digs, and six blocks. In her debut in front of the Tiger faithful, Lines notched 12 kills, three kills, and two blocks.

Baptista starred for Pacific as well, recording 13 kills, four digs and three blocks. Fleming, for her part, had eight kills, two digs, and eight blocks.

The Tigers improved to 5-6 on the season with the victory. They will take to the road once again tonight in Portland to take on the Pilots.

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