Boxers thump 16th-ranked Puget Sound
- Forest Grove News-Times - Sports
Pacific hitters come up huge in an upset victory over a nationally ranked foe
The growth of the Pacific volleyball program was never more apparent than it was on Friday night as the Boxers put together a solid hitting attack to upset No. 16 Puget Sound, 25-19, 16-25, 25-16, 25-22, in front of an energetic crowd at the Stoller Center.
The Boxers (8-4, 2-1 NWC) finished with a .309 hitting percentage as a team and never hit less than .212 in the opening set. Alexa Block finished with a match-high 21 kills and added 14 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Kelsy Takashima added 16 kills and a .519 hitting percentage to go along with four blocks.
Puget Sound (11-1, 3-1 NWC), ranked No. 16 in the latest AVCA Division III Top 25 Poll, never seemed to get in rhythm outside of a second set that saw the Loggers hit .455. They finished with a team .140 hitting percentage for the match, led by nine kills from Jackie Harvey and eight from Brynn Blickenstaff.
In addition to snapping
Puget Sound's season-opening 11-match win streak, the Boxers captured their first win over the Loggers since the 2007 season and their first under head coach Lena Chan.
'The mentality of our hitters tonight made the difference,' Chan said. 'We've been really good defensively and we've been good setters and servers, but the difference tonight was that our hitters went after it. Every hitter did a great job and our defense was awesome.'
Despite the absence of starter Keahi Braginsky-Ahloo due to injury, the Boxers' hitters kept everything in control. After trailing by as much as three points early in the first set, the Boxers took a 12-11 lead when Takashima and Block combined for a block. The Loggers came back to force a 15-15 tie and had it deadlocked at 18-18 before a service error started a run in which the Boxers scored seven of the last eight points.
Haley Bedell, who started in place of Braginsky-Ahloo, had the final kill of the set to gave Pacific the 25-19 win.
The Boxers opened the second set by taking a 5-2 lead on Takashima's kill, but Puget Sound won the next six points and took an 8-6 lead on an attack error. Pacific rallied back to tie it at 13-13 on Block's kill before the Loggers ran off a string of seven straight winners that sealed the set.
Puget Sound scored just four points off their own serve as the Boxers rolled to a third set win. The Loggers came within 20-15 late, but Block closed it out with two kills.
A close fourth set appeared to be going Puget Sound's way as the Loggers took a 21-16 lead on a Pacific attack error, but the Boxers showed resiliency, scoring nine of the final 10 points of the match.
Johnson tied things at 20-20 on an ace and Takashima's kill made it a 22-21 lead. Blickenstaff followed with a kill to tie the frame again, but Takashima responded to put the Boxers up 23-22 and Block came up with the match-winner.
Pacific will travel to Newberg for a match against George Fox today, followed by a return to the Stoller Center on Saturday to face Linfield.