Feb. 20, 2010

 

Courtesy of Pepperdine

MALIBU, Calif. - The #4 Pepperdine men's volleyball team won its sixth match in a row and continued its run of success against the nation's top teams as the Waves swept #2 Stanford 30-28, 30-27, 30-27 on Friday night in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action.

Since the Waves' winning streak began in late January, they've knocked off #1-ranked teams twice and #2-ranked teams twice. Pepperdine is now 7-4 overall and in second place in the MPSF with a 7-3 record, while Stanford fell to 7-4, 6-4. The Waves have now won 13 straight at home against the Cardinal.

Junior outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS) hit a career-high .800 with 17 kills and just one error on 20 swings. He helped Pepperdine to a season-high .544 hitting percentage.

Freshman opposite Maurice Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) added 15 kills while senior outside hitter J.D. Schleppenbach (Ventura, Calif./Ventura HS) had 13. Junior setter Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) directed the attack and had 57 assists.

Senior middle blocker Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil/BYU) contributed nine kills and junior middle blocker Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) had six kills and five blocks.

All five of Pepperdine's hitters finished with attack percentages of .400 or better.

"This feels really great to get this win at home," Riecks said. "Our fans have been so supportive of us and they deserve it. We came ready to play, and tonight we were the better team."

On his own performance, Riecks gave credit to his teammates: "It takes a couple of great middles to do that. Rodnei and Tyler are two of the best in the country and teams have to commit to them, so Maurice and I are able to hit 1-on-1. And our setter Kasey makes it easy on us."

Stanford, which hit .495, got 19 kills from Evan Romero, 16 kills from Brad Lawson and 11 kills from Spencer McLachlin.

The Waves took a couple of early three-point leads, first at 4-1 after a kill by Riecks and again at 9-6 after a block by Jaynes and Torres. But the first game stayed extremely close the rest of the way and had 16 ties and four lead changes. Stanford's last lead came at 23-22 after a Pepperdine attack error. Tied 28-28, Schleppenbach recorded a kill and then a block by Jaynes and Schleppenbach ended it. Both teams hit very well in the first game, with the Waves holding a .516-.500 edge.

Pepperdine also had a strong finish to the second game, as the Waves scored four of the final five points to break a 26-26 tie. A kill by Jaynes was followed by a service ace by Crider, who floated a high ball that dropped in on the back line. After a Stanford point, Schleppenbach made it game point with a kill. Schleppenbach then came up with an impressive dig in the back row, leading to a game-ending kill by Torres. Both teams were over .500 hitting again, with Pepperdine earning a .567-.531 advantage.

Stanford had an 11-10 lead in the third game when Schleppenbach posted three kills during a 4-0 run. Pepperdine's lead grew to as many as five points at 19-14 after an ace by Schleppenbach and a block by Riecks and Jaynes. The Cardinal would close the gap to one point several times, first at 21-20 and later at 28-27. Torres and Santos then finished the match off with kills. Pepperdine hit better than 50 percent for the third straight game at .552, while Stanford was at .452.

The Waves are in the midst of a four-match homestand. They next host Grand Canyon (Wednesday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m.) and #1 Cal State Northridge (Friday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m.). Wave Casts subscribers can watch the matches online at www.pepperdinesports.com.