After 15-point first-set win, GU drops three straight sets in loss to UOP

Gonzaga outside hitter Kennedy Croft led the Zags with 19 kills during their 3-1 to Pacific on Thursday at the Charlotte Y. Martin Centre. 

Regaining lost momentum is no small task. 

That’s what Gonzaga head volleyball coach Katie Wilson told her team after they won the first set by 15 points, but dropped three straight sets in a 3-1 loss (25-10, 22-25, 18-25, 15-25) to Pacific on Thursday at the Charlotte Y. Martin Centre. 

“Katie was telling us that, ‘once you have momentum and you lose it, it’s super hard to get it back,’ and I think that proved it,” said middle blocker Kelsie White.

The tide started to shift early in the second set as the Zags had a 6-1 lead before the Tigers slowly chipped away at their deficit until they were ahead 12-11. 

It remained close, but Pacific outside hitter Alexa Edwards scored her team’s final six points on six kills to help the Tigers win the set by three points. 

No. 1 in the West Coast Conference (WCC) in total kills with 198, Edwards recorded eight kills in the second set after posting one kill in the first set. 

Once Edwards found her rhythm, the Tigers were tough to contain as they took the third and fourth sets by seven and 10 points. 

Edwards finished with 14 kills, but she wasn’t her team’s top performer in that stat as outside hitter Biamba Kabengele had a game-high 21 kills. The pair of heavy hitters were assisted on most of their kills by setter Jenna Heller, who dished out 40 assists.  

“They’ve got a great back row,” White said. “Once they get that first contact going in, their setter’s pretty crafty. I think it showed in the first set that we challenged their offense, but we just weren’t able to hold them during the next few sets.”

In the eyes of GU outside hitter Kennedy Croft, the Zags displayed a lack of attentiveness. 

“It’s a focus issue,” Croft said. “We need to learn how to be more focused and extend that focus over long periods of time.” 

Following its fourth loss in five games, GU will look to bounce back against rival Saint Mary’s (4-5) on Saturday. 

“We have to go in with our foot on the pedal and not back down,” White said. “I know we can do it. We have talented players and we’ve got what we need to win, but we just need to execute.”

The Zags host the Gaels at noon.

Henry Krueger is a sports editor. Follow him on Twitter: @henrykrveger.

Sports Editor

Henry Krueger is a sophomore from Sacramento, California, and is in his second semester as a sports editor after entering the job in the spring of 2022. He is currently studying journalism and broadcast.