No. 3 Pepperdine Defeats No. 6 Long Beach, 3-1

3/28/2009

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MALIBU, Calif. - Senior opposite Paul Carroll had 22 kills and nine digs to lead the No. 3 Pepperdine men's volleyball team to a 3-1 victory over No. 6 Long Beach State on Saturday night at Firestone Fieldhouse in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play.

With the 30-22, 25-30, 31-29, 30-28 victory, the Waves (16-2, 14-2 MPSF) won their seventh match in a row and kept pace with UC Irvine for first place in the conference. The 49ers dropped to 10-12, 7-10.

Carroll (Forster, Australia) was one of three Waves to reach double-figures in kills, as senior outside hitter Matt McKee (Aurora, Ill./Aurora West HS) added 16 and junior middle blocker Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil/BYU) had 12. Santos hit .786 (12-1-14) and added a team-high five blocks. Sophomore setter Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) posted 55 assists.

The 49ers got match highs of 26 kills and nine blocks from junior opposite Dean Bittner. Sophomore setter Mike Klipsch had 54 assists and six blocks.

Pepperdine finished with an advantage of .351 to .286 in hitting, but the 49ers were able to keep things close thanks to an 18.0-10.5 edge in blocks.

Tied 2-2 in the first game, the Waves scored the next five points as Carroll had two service aces, the 49ers committed two attack errors and Santos had a kill. The lead grew to 11-4 after a kill by sophomore outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS), a Long Beach State attack error and a Carroll kill. It increased to 18-9 after a kill by McKee, a block by Santos and Crider and a kill by Santos. The 49ers regrouped after a timeout, scoring the next four points as Jim Baughman was in on a pair of blocks. Long Beach got the deficit down to four points at 23-19 after a kill by Dan Alexander and a block by Bittner, but Pepperdine went on to double the lead again by the end of the game. The Waves had a .344-.154 hitting edge.

The Waves had a two-point lead early in the second game, but when it was tied 8-8 the 49ers scored four straight points, beginning with kills by Baughman and Bittner and ending with a service ace by Kyle Friend. Long Beach State would then take a five-point lead at 14-9 after a kill by Tommy Pestolesi. The Waves would close the gap, as a block by Santos and Crider made the score 22-21. On the next play, Pepperdine had a swing to tie the game, but Alexander and Bittner combined to win the point on a block. Bittner followed with a service ace and Friend and Alexander had a block to push the lead back up to 25-21, and the 49ers went on to win from there. Long Beach State upped its hitting to .357, compared to .320 for Pepperdine.

Halfway through game three, Long Beach State held a 15-11 lead. The Waves rallied to tie the game at 17-17 after a Crider service ace. The 49ers took back a two-point lead at 23-21 after a block by Alexander and Bittner, but Pepperdine eventually tied it again at 27-27 after McKee slammed home an overpass, and the Waves went ahead 28-27 after a 49er attack error. The game was tied again at 28-28 and 29-29, but Carroll put the Waves back in front with a kill, and a crosscourt attack attempt by LBSU's Bittner went wide, giving Pepperdine the third game victory. There were 12 tie scores and four lead changes and the Waves had a .333-.265 hitting edge.

Pepperdine never trailed in game four, but never quite pulled away either. It was tied 14-14 when a LBSU service error and a Riecks service ace gave Pepperdine a lead it would never relinquish. But the teams mostly traded points until senior middle blocker Mark Hulse (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township HS/Rutgers-Newark) had a service ace to make the score 24-21. The Waves went up by four points at 27-23 after a 49er attack error. Pepperdine had match point at 29-25, but the 49ers made things interesting by scoring three straight points on a kill by Friend, a Wave attack error and a Pestolesi service ace. But after a timeout, Carroll ended the match with his 22nd and final kill. Pepperdine outhit Long Beach .407 to .342 in the fourth game.

The Waves play their next four matches on the road, beginning with a contest at #2 Cal State Northridge on Wednesday (April 1) at 7 p.m.

Article courtesy of Pepperdine athletics.

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