#4 Pepperdine Holds Off #8 USC, 3-1
Feb. 1, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. – The Pepperdine men’s volleyball team held off a late USC run and emerged with a 3-1 victory on Friday night inside Firestone Fieldhouse. The Waves were led by Josh Taylor with a match-high 16 kills, followed by Maurice Torres with 15.
Pepperdine (4-3, 4-3 MPSF) held a two-set lead before USC avoided the sweep with a 27-25 win in the third frame. Although the Trojans (2-3, 2-3 MPSF) threatened to force a fifth set and led 18-14 in the fourth, the Waves came up with several timely blocks to come back and clinch the match in four. Final set scores were 25-23, 25-18, 25-27, 25-22.
Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) led his team with a season-high 16 kills. The sophomore outside hitter also added a pair of aces, three digs and a block. Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) finished the evening with 15 kills and nine digs, just narrowly missing out on the double-double. He was also credited with a season-best three aces.
The Waves’ middle blockers had yet another strong showing. Parker Kalmbach (Coto de Caza, Calif./Tesoro HS) was an errorless 8-for-14 on the attack while Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS) set a new career high with seven kills.
Tanner Jansen paced the Trojans with 16 kills, while Micah Christianson posted 35 assists and nine blocks.
Overall, USC tallied 16 blocks compared to the Waves’ six. However, Pepperdine held a 54-42 advantage in kills and 8-5 advantage in aces.
Although the Waves were out blocked for just the second time this season, they threw the roof on when it mattered most. In the pivotal fourth set, when USC was leading 18-14 and a possible fifth set was looming, Pepperdine went on a 5-0 run that Antonijevic and Kyle Gerrans (Los Gatos, Calif./Valley Christian HS) put the exclamation point on with a tandem block. The Trojans sided out to tie the score up at 19, but the Waves surged forward and closed out the match on a 6-3 run. Pepperdine totaled four of its six blocks in the final set.
Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) averaged 11.50 assists/set in the match for a total of 46. West was also spectacular from the service line. The Trojans were only able to side out at a 48-percent rate when West was at the line.
Pepperdine got a boost on both offense and defense from Gerrans. The junior recorded seven kills, three digs, a pair of blocks and three assists. Libero Ryan Plueger (Los Angeles, Calif./Harvard-Westlake) finished the night with six digs and two assists.
The Waves hit the road next week for matches at Long Beach State (Feb. 6) and Cal State Northridge (Feb. 8).