April 9, 2009

 

Courtesy of Pepperdine Athletics

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – UCLA had multiple game points in both the first and third games, but the top-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team pulled off a pair of dramatic comebacks in a three-game sweep (35-33, 30-26, 33-31) of a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday night.

Pepperdine, which got 38 of its 53 kills from senior opposite Paul Carroll (Forster, Australia) and senior outside hitter Matt McKee (Aurora, Ill./Aurora West HS), had to come back from deficits of 29-23 in the first game and 29-27 in the third game against the ninth-ranked Bruins.

The Waves (19-2 overall, 17-2 MPSF) won their 10th straight match and have now beaten the Bruins (12-14, 8-11) in nine of the last 12 meetings. Tonight’s match will be shown on a tape-delayed basis by FSN Prime Ticket on Thursday night (April 9) at 8 p.m.

The victory sets up a huge contest this Saturday night (April 11), as the Waves hold a one-game lead over second-place and second-ranked UC Irvine. The Waves and Anteaters meet at the Bren Events Center at 7 p.m. A Pepperdine victory would give the Waves home-court advantage for the upcoming MPSF Tournament.

Carroll had a match-high 23 kills, while McKee notched 15 kills, five digs and five blocks. Sophomore setter Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) had 47 assists and nine digs. Sophomore middle blocker Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) was in on five blocks and junior middle blocker Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil/BYU) was in on four as the Waves had a 12.0-9.5 blocking edge.

Pepperdine hit .288 as a team but held UCLA to a .217 hitting percentage.

The Waves pulled off a near-unbelievable comeback to claim game one. UCLA took a 2-0 lead and appeared to have the game well in hand after building a six-point lead at 22-16 and again at game point at 29-23. But Pepperdine staved off defeat by scoring the next six points to tie the game at 29-29. Jaynes and Carroll had kills, Jaynes had a service ace, McKee and Santos combined on a block, Santos followed with a solo block and the Bruins committed a hitting error. The Waves would take their first lead at 31-30 on a block by Crider and Santos. Tied 33-33, Carroll notched his ninth kill of the first game, and then Jaynes and junior outside hitter Brent Schirripa (Los Angeles, Calif./Crespi Carmelite HS) combined on a game-winning block.

The second game went back and forth for a while. The Waves built a 6-3 lead after a Santos ace, but the Bruins came back to go ahead 10-8. Tied 17-17, Pepperdine went on a 4-0 run to take the lead for good. McKee and Carroll had kills, followed by back-to-back attack errors by the Bruins. UCLA kept it close momentarily, scoring three straight points to get back to within one point at 21-20. The Waves would pull away, however, scoring five of the next six points to make the score 26-21, with McKee collecting two kills and a block. McKee would also end the game on a block.

Pepperdine trailed 14-9 early in the third game, but rallied to tie the game at 19-19. The game was still tied at 24-24 when the Bruins scored two straight points on a kill by Kevin Ker and a Wave attack error. With UCLA holding a 29-27 lead and two game points, the Waves ran off three consecutive points, and McKee was again a key figure. He began the run with a kill, then got a block with Santos. Santos then combined with Crider for a block and a 30-29 Pepperdine lead. Later, with the game tied 31-31, Carroll got a kill. Just as they did to end the first game, Jaynes and Schirripa finished the match with a block.