San Diego, Calif. - The Pacific volleyball team pushed No. 5 San Diego to five sets Thursday in a battle for first place in the West Coast Conference, but the Toreros escaped Pacific's upset bid, 3-2 (25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-12).
Ashlyn Fleming led Pacific with 15 kills and seven blocks as she hit .407 and served up two aces. Lexi Elman added 12 kills, 14 digs and five blocks, while Emily Baptista added 10 kills and four blocks.
Andie Shelton tallied eight kills, hitting .467, with 22 assists and sevens digs, while Jessica Diederich handed out 32 assists on the evening. Janie Feldsher tallied seven kills with a .667 hitting percentage to go with four blocks. The Tigers also received four kills and four blocks by Alex Holt, while Katrin Gotterba recorded 12 digs at libero.
Pacific out-hit San Diego .281 to .235, posted 14.5 blocks to the Torero's seven, held an 11-3 advantage in service aces, and a 83.5 to 66 advantage in points, but the Toreros inexplicably survived on their home floor. Pacific falls for the first time in five sets, having won their previous four. San Diego recorded its third win in five sets on the year against no defeats.
San Diego improves to 14-2 overall, 5-0 in WCC play, while the Tigers fall to 4-2 in WCC action and 10-8 overall. No. 13 BYU (4-1) leapfrogs the Tigers in the WCC standings ahead of Saturday's meeting in Provo.
In set one, the Tigers got on the board with kills from Fleming and Baptista. Pacific used a 8-2 run to take an 12-9 lead, including a pair of aces from Deiderich. A block from Baptista and Cline gave the Tigers a four-point lead at 15-11. The Toreros rallied back to tie at 16-16 before a kill from Baptista. USD took a 19-18 lead on a kill from Lauren Fuller. Down 21-18, Elman posted a kill, but Kaity Edwards answered with a pair of kills for San Diego to take the set, 25-21.
The Tigers tallied the first two points of set two, before the Toreros recorded their first block of the night. Elman and Shelton answered with kills before a Shelton ace gave Pacific a 7-4 lead. Tied 10-10, the Tigers scored off a kill from Fleming and a pair of aces from Elman. Baptista added a block and an error put Pacific up 15-10. Fuller stopped the Pacific run with a kill, but Shelton answered with a kill on the right pin for a 17-13 lead. A block from Hold & Feldsher stretched the Tigers' lead to 21-14. Holt drilled home a kill, and Gotterba added an ace for a 23-15 advantage. Fleming added a kill, and Elman crushed set point for a 25-18 win. The Tigers snapped San Diego's streak of 17-straight sets won on their home floor to tie the match 1-1 at the break.
Fleming opened set three with a kill and served up an ace for a 4-1 lead in the early going. Baptista added a kill, but the Toreros reeled off three straight points to tie at 6-6. The Torero's surged ahead 11-9 before Elman answered with a kill, and back-to-back blocks from Feldsher and Shelton gave Pacific a 14-12 lead. But Lauren Schad led San Diego to four-straight points for a 16-14 lead. Feldsher posted a kill to bring the Tigers within 19-17, but Lisa Kramer answered for USD and a 21-18 Toreros lead. Fuller added a kill before Kramer provided set point and Schad posted a block as San Diego took set three, 25-19.
San Diego opened to a 3-2 lead in set four as Fleming provided the first two Pacific points with kills. Feldsher and Elman added kills as Pacific tied the set 6-6. San Diego gained the advantage, but Fleming's block pulled the Tigers within 11-9. Baptista added a kill as the Tigers pulled within 12-11, but San Diego tallied back-to-back points for a 14-11 lead. Feldsher added two kills bringing the Tigers within 15-14, before Fuller answered for USD with two kills of her own. Elman and Fleming teamed for a block, but Fuller maintained a three-point San Diego lead at 18-15. Fleming and Baptista posted a block and Shelton's kill tied the set at 18-18. Shelton provided a 21-20 lead with a kill off the right pin, before Holt and Feldsher posted a block for a 22-20 lead. Baptista tallied a kill of the block, and after a service error, Baptista brought the Tigers within set point at 24-21. Schad answered for San Diego, but Elman put it way to force a fifth set.
San Diego tallied the first two points of set five with a block and an error before Fleming put the Tigers on the board. Baptista and Edwards traded kills, but the Toreros posted a block on the right pin for a 5-3 lead. Feldsher responded with a kill from the middle, but a service error allowed San Diego to maintain a two-point advantage at 6-4. San Diego posted a block for an 8-4 lead at the switch. Elman delivered a kill, and Fleming teamed with Holt for a block as Pacific rallied with four-straight points to tie the set at 8-8. After trading points, Edwards provided an 11-10 lead for San Diego and Kramer provided a two-point cushion. Fleming responded with a kill, but an attack off the block was ruled off the antenna against the Tigers. The Tigers also put down an attack for an apparent kill, but after a deliberation the point was replayed, with Kramer provided a kill to set up match point for San Diego. Fleming's 15th kill kept the Tigers alive at 14-12, but Kramer struck again, finishing from the right pin for the USD win.
Pacific will travel to Provo, Utah, for a meeting with No. 13 BYU on Saturday at noon Pacific time (1 p.m. Mountain). The Tigers will try again for win number 225 against a ranked team in program history. The Tigers are 224-169 (.570) against ranked opponents dating back to the start of the 1982 season, the birth of the AVCA Top 25 poll.