For just the second time in 10 all-time meetings with Pacific, the Gonzaga volleyball team defeated the Tigers.
Four hundred and forty-eight witnessed the Zags improve to 15-11 and 8-8 record in the West Coast Conference. With the win, GU finds itself right in the middle of the pack in the WCC at fifth place.
Earlier this season, Pacific handed the Bulldogs their fifth loss in a 3-0 defeat. It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but a win nonetheless.
Head coach Diane Nelson said she wasn’t thrilled with the overall performance with the team, but when it came down to it, the team responded.
“They persevered and they pushed through and they played with composure and they believed in each other and I think that is what we relied on and what we have relied on all season,” Nelson said.
She also noted that the transition offense and the setting was not up to standard. Senior libero Morgan Douglass also said she thought the setting wasn’t great, but she put the blame on some of the first passes instead.
“Keeping our first contacts high to give the setter more time to get her feet to the ball,” she said. “When it gets jumbled like that, we have a tendency to just shoot our passes to the setters and it just makes everyone rushed.”
With the score 24-23 in the fourth set, a dig was skied into the air and toward the back wall. Douglass raced over and sent a point-saving set back toward the other players while crashing into the wall.
“It was pretty high, so I had some time, but I kind of glanced at the wall to make sure I knew where I was and there seemed to be enough room,” Douglass said. “I just had to be ready to catch myself after I hit the wall.”
Coach Nelson thought the set was too close for comfort.
“Nobody likes to play that close in the end of the set,” she said.
With the play, the Zags were able to get the final kill to win the set and the match. It sets the Bulldogs up perfectly for the match on Saturday and it continues their goal they had at the beginning of the season.
“This group has set out to do something special and there are all kinds of goals we had at the beginning of this season and one of them is to make sure we have the best second half of conference (play) that we ever had and we still have (that) opportunity,” Nelson said.
The Bulldogs face the Saint Mary’s Gaels in the final home match of the season this Saturday at noon. Six seniors with be honored before the match and emotions are expected to run high.
“(It will) definitely (be) bittersweet,” Douglass said. “Our class is so big and we have been together for a long time … (I’ll) really embrace the last few sets we have with each other.”
Senior outside hitter Imani Wimush echoed those thoughts.
“It is definitely bittersweet, but I am excited above anything else to be at home in front of the home crowd one last time with my teammates and these coaches,” Wimbush said.