Feb. 13, 2010

 

Courtesy of Pepperdine

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The #7 Pepperdine men's volleyball team knocked off USC for the second time this season, going on the road to sweep the #2 Trojans 30-28, 30-28, 30-26 on Friday night in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play.

Along with a five-game win at home against the Trojans (7-4, 5-3 MPSF) when they were ranked #1 two weeks ago, Pepperdine has now beaten USC in eight of the last 10, 17 of the last 20, 21 of the last 25 and 29 of the last 34 meetings.

The Waves (5-4, 5-3 MPSF) have now won four in a row since a tough start, but Pepperdine's fortunes have risen as some of their players have gotten healthier.

Freshman opposite Maurice Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) led the Waves with 16 kills, while senior outside hitter J.D. Schleppenbach (Ventura, Calif./Ventura HS) and junior outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS) had 12 kills apiece.

Senior libero Sean Grubbs (Newport Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) had a match-high 10 digs, while junior setter Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) had 46 assists and nine digs and directed the Waves to a .327 hitting percentage, compared to .274 for USC.

"Our confidence is extremely high right now," Grubbs said. "Every night it's going to be a tough match, but we're healthy, we've been training well and now we're on a hot streak. A lot of it has to do with how well we've been practicing. Now we need to carry it into our next match against Pacific."

The Trojans led by as many as four points in the first game and were still up three at 20-17. But the Waves scored three straight points on a kill by Schleppenbach, a USC attack error and a kill by Torres. Pepperdine took its first lead at 22-21 after a solo block by Riecks, and took the lead for good at 26-24 after kills by Riecks and Schleppenbach. The Waves went up 29-26, and after two USC points, Torres ended the first game with a kill. Pepperdine outhit USC .353 to .308 as Riecks had five kills and three blocks.

Thanks to a 6-0 run that included two kills from Riecks, Pepperdine jumped out to a 17-12 lead in game two. But USC rallied to tie the game at 21-21, and it stayed close until the end. Tied 28-28, Schleppenbach was awarded a kill after three USC players failed to corral his attack. And on the first game point, a USC attack went long and the Waves went up 2-0. Pepperdine won the game despite being outhit .231 to .205.

Game three stayed tied all the way to 14-14 before the Trojans broke the tie by scoring two straight points. They still led by two at 20-18 when the Waves reeled off seven straight points, with Torres recording two kills and a block assist. After USC scored two points, Pepperdine scored three more with kills by junior middle blocker Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) and senior outside hitter Brent Schirripa (Los Angeles, Calif./Crespi Carmelite HS) to go ahead 28-22. The Trojans cut that deficit in half, but wouldn't get any closer and Riecks eventually ended the match with a kill. The Waves had a .441-.286 hitting edge in game three.

USC was led by Murphy Troy's 16 kills, Tony Ciarelli's 13 kills and Austin Zahn's 12 kills.

Pepperdine plays its next four matches at home, beginning with Pacific next Wednesday (Feb. 17) and #5 Stanford next Friday (Feb. 19). Both matches are at 7 p.m. and Wave Casts subscribers can watch both matches online at www.pepperdinesports.com.