No. 5 Pepperdine Outlasts Pacific in Five Games


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Malibu, Calif. - Junior opposite Paul Carroll recorded a season-high 33 kills to lead the No. 5 Pepperdine men's volleyball team to a hard-fought five-game victory over Pacific (30-22, 26-30, 30-26, 26-30, 15-9) in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play at Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday night.

The Waves (12-8, 11-8) ran their home record against the Tigers (4-20, 1-17) to 12-0 all-time.

Carroll (Forster, Australia) was just four kills of shy of his career best while hitting .456 (33-7-57). Freshman outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS) was the only other Wave in double-figures with 15 kills. Senior setter Jonathan Winder (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge HS) had his fifth double-double of the season with 58 assists and 10 digs. Sophomore libero Sean Grubbs (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor HS/Irvine Valley CC) added 13 digs.

Five Tigers reached double-figures in kills: senior outside hitter Pekka Seppanen with 18, senior middle blocker Simon Chen-Byerley with 14, sophomore outside hitter Jason Borchin with 13, senior middle blocker Blake Gentry with 13 and junior outside hitter Jeff Hendershot with 11.

With a 10-9 lead in game one, the Waves scored five straight points to move ahead 15-9. Junior middle blocker Mark Hulse (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township HS/Rutgers-Newark) had two block assists, a kill and an assist during the run. The Tigers got no closer than three points the rest of the way as Pepperdine, fueled by seven blocks, had a .500-.121 edge in hitting percentage.

The Tigers scored the first two points of game two and never let up. They built a four-point lead at 20-16, and although the Waves tied the game at 22-22, Pacific scored the next three points on a Hendershot kill and two Pepperdine attack errors. Pepperdine was back within one point at 27-26, but the Tigers ended game two on a Seppanen kill, a Kris Staks service ace and a Wave ball-handling error. Pacific was the hot team in game two, outhitting the Waves .565 to .308.

After trailing 10-8, the Waves took their first lead of game three thanks to a 4-0 run, which saw a kill by Hulse, a block by Hulse and Riecks and back-to-back service aces by Carroll. The Pepperdine lead grew to five points, last at 22-17. The lead dropped to one point at 26-25, but the Waves scored four of the final points, including two straight kills by Riecks to end the game. The hitting percentages dipped to .273 for the Waves and .184 for the Tigers.

Neither team could get any separation for most of game four, which saw 16 ties and five lead changes. The Waves had an early 5-2 lead and the Tigers would take several two-point leads. The game was tied at 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. But at 25-25, UOP scored the next four points on kills by Chen-Byerley, Seppanen and two by Gentry. Pacific outhit Pepperdine .395 to .250.

There was little drama in game five as Carroll recorded the first two kills and the Waves jumped out to leads of 4-0 and 6-1. Pepperdine hit a decisive .846 in game five, with 11 kills on 13 errorless attempts. Carroll had six kills in game five alone.

For the match, the Waves ended with a .369 to .289 edge in hitting percentage and also had a 15-9 edge in blocks.

Three home matches remain in the 2008 regular season, with the Waves hosting USC next Saturday (April 5) at 7 p.m.

Article courtesy of Pepperdine athletics.

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