April 10, 2010

Courtesy of Stanford

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The #3 Pepperdine men's volleyball team fought off multiple match points in the third game and extended Friday night's contest at Stanford to five games, but the top-ranked Cardinal ended up posting a 30-22, 30-25, 36-38, 36-38, 26-30, 15-6 win in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play.

The loss likely knocks the Waves out of the picture for the MPSF regular-season title. Entering the match, the Waves stood in fourth place in the MPSF but just a game behind the first-place Cardinal. But the loss drops Pepperdine (14-8, 12-7) two matches behind Stanford (17-5, 14-5) with just three to play.

Pepperdine had posted a 3-0 home win against the Cardinal earlier this season, so the Waves do hold a tiebreaker over Stanford based on total games won.

The Waves are on the road for the final three matches of the regular season and conclude their Northern California swing at Pacific on Saturday (April 10) at 7 p.m. Pepperdine is still hoping to hold onto a top-four MPSF finish in order to host a first-round tournament match.

Senior outside hitter J.D. Schleppenbach (Ventura, Calif./Ventura HS) led Pepperdine with 21 kills, while senior middle blocker Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil/BYU) had 13 kills and nine blocks. Freshman opposite Maurice Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) had a double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs.

Junior middle blocker Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) and junior outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS) had 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Junior setter Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) handed out 72 assists.

Stanford had a .337-.266 hitting edge, led by Evan Romero's 37 kills.

Pepperdine fought off six match points in the marathon third game. Trailing 36-35, Riecks got a kill to even things up, and consecutive attack errors by the Cardinal extended the match to a fourth game. Tied 21-21 in the fourth, Santos got a kill, Schleppenbach had a solo block and Santos and Crider combined on a block, putting the Waves ahead to stay. Stanford put a stop to Pepperdine's momentum quickly in the fifth game, scoring the first two points and taking leads of 5-1, 7-2 and 11-3.

The Waves had won their first four five-game matches in conference play, but have since lost two straight after falling at home to UC Irvine in five last weekend.