April 7, 2009


Courtesy of Pepperdine Athletics

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The #2 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team pushed its winning streak to nine games with a 30-23, 30-26, 30-28 sweep at #12 UC Santa Barbara Saturday evening.

With the win the Waves are now 18-2 overall and 16-2 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play. The loss drops the Gauchos to 8-16 and 4-15 in the MPSF.

Senior opposite Paul Carroll (Forster, Australia/Great Lakes College) dominated the match with 21 kills on an outstanding .594 (21-2-32) hitting percentage. Sophomore setter Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif. /Granite Bay HS) added 49 assists to a Wave team that was amazingly accurate all night hitting .482 to UCSB’s .225. The Gauchos had a top performance from Cullen Irons who had 18 kills on .520 (18-5-25) hitting.

In set one, the Waves came out strong to get an early 3-0 lead after back-to-back kills from Carroll and a kill from sophomore middle blocker Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif. / Granite Bay HS) but UCSB immediately retaliated with their own 3-0 run to tie the game. From that point until 22-20 neither team led by more than two points until Pepperdine went on a 7-2 run to put the Waves ahead for good at 29-22. Junior middle blocker Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil /BYU) took over during this run as he added two kills and a block assist with senior outside hitter Matt McKee (Aurora, Ill. /Aurora West HS). Sophomore outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif. /Placer HS) ended the game on a kill for a 30-23 win.

Once again the Waves jumped out early in the second set as they took advantage of three UCSB attack errors and Carroll added a block to give Pepperdine a 4-0 lead. After a block by senior middle blocker Mark Hulse (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township HS/Rutgers-Newark) and McKee the Waves had a 9-4 lead, but the Gauchos responded with a 6-1 run to push the game even at 10. After being tied at 15 the Waves went on a 8-2 run which started with a Riecks kill followed by a McKee ace and ended with a block and kill by Carroll as well as a block by Jaynes and Carroll to put the game at 23-17. From that point on the Pepperdine lead was too much as UCSB ended the game on a service error at 30-26.

In an exciting third and final set, Hulse pushed the Waves to an early 5-2 lead via a kill and block assist with Riecks. However, the Gauchos responded with a 5-2 run of their own with a pair of kills from Scott Slaughter to tie the set back at seven. Tied at 10, UCSB tried to push ahead with a 3-0 run but Pepperdine immediately countered with a 3-0 run of their own with a kill from Riecks and an ace from Crider to tie the game once again at 13. Tied again at 20, the teams alternated points until 27-27. During that time Carroll scored five of the seven Wave points. However, after that 27 all tie Riecks took over as he had three consecutive kills to push the game to 29-28. The game ended on Jaynes block.

Pepperdine is now 59-28 all-time against UCSB and has won eight straight vs. the Gauchos, including the last three matches played in Santa Barbara.

The Waves will look to extend their winning streak as they continue their road trip next week as they visit UCLA on Wednesday (April 8) at 7 p.m. followed by a game at UC Irvine Saturday (April 11) at 7 p.m.