#3 Pepperdine Shuts Out #1 UCLA
Feb. 5, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. – The #3 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team did something no other MPSF team has been able to do in 2014 and shut out #1 UCLA 25-14, 25-20, 25-19 on Wednesday night inside Firestone Fieldhouse. The Waves were firing on all cylinders and were led by Josh Taylor with 14 kills and Nikola Antonijevic with nine blocks.
The loss snapped the Bruins’ nine-match win streak to bring the team to 9-2 overall and 6-1 in league play. With the win, Pepperdine moves to 6-1 overall and in MPSF matches.
Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) couldn’t be stopped tonight and put down 14 kills earned at a .550 (14 kills-3 errors-20 attempts) hitting percentage.
Kyle Gerrans (Lo Gatos, Calif./Valley Christian HS) turned in a well-rounded performance with nine kills, two aces, five digs and four blocks.
The Pepperdine defense was up to the challenge and out-dug UCLA 35-26 while out-blocking the opposition 14.5-5.0.
The Waves’ serve receive, comprised of Gerrans, Taylor and Brennan Anderson (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona Del Mar HS/Ohio State), allowed just one ace against a team that averages an MPSF-best 1.65 aces per set. Anderson also provided 10 digs from his libero position.
Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) handed out 33 assists as he set the offense to the tune of a .345 (39-10-84) team clip.
“There was a lot to like about tonight’s match,” said head coach Marv Dunphy, now in his 31st season at the helm. “I thought we blocked real well and our points scoring was good.
“The ball bounced our way tonight,” continued Dunphy. “It just feels good to get a win against a good team.”
The Waves got off to a blazing start, building a 10-3 lead off the phenomenal serving of Gerrans. The senior dished two aces during the 6-0 run and Pepperdine only extended the lead from there. After going ahead by as much as 12 points, 17-5, the home squad rode the momentum to a lopsided 25-14 triumph.
With five team blocks, the Waves limited the Bruins to just a .045 (7-6-22) attack percentage in the opening frame, while swinging at a .381 (12-4-21) clip themselves. Taylor paced the offense with five kills, while Parker Kalmbach (Coto de Caza, Calif./Tesoro HS) was credited with four blocks.
Although the Bruins opened the second frame on a 5-1 run, Pepperdine battled back to knot the score at 11-11. UCLA took back the lead 13-11, but a sideout followed by back-to-back roofs – one on both ends of the net -- put the Waves out in front 14-13. Back and forth the two opposing sides went until a 5-0 run punctuated by a Kalmbach ace lifted Pepperdine to a 19-15 advantage. The separation was enough and the Waves sided out their way to the 25-20 win to take a 2-0 lead.
Taylor added six kills to his stat line, followed by Gerrans with five. Antonijevic was practically impenetrable at the net, sending back five attacks to the UCLA side of the floor.
Pepperdine broke open the third set right away, dominating on both offense and defense to take a 12-5 lead. UCLA was unable to break up the momentum, despite taking both timeouts during the set-starting run.
The Bruins made a late push to close the gap to three, 21-18, but Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany HS) tacked down a kill out of the timeout from the outside. The sideout put Taylor at the service line, whose hard-hit serve was overpassed back to the Waves’ side with Kalmbach waiting to send the ball right back down. A Gerrans kill brought the set to match point and the Bruins committed an attack error to wrap things up 25-19.
Tarantino finished the three-set affair with five kills, four blocks and a pair of digs, while Kalmbach posted seven kills, six blocks, four digs and an ace.
Pepperdine’s week continues on Saturday when they face #8 UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. inside Firestone Fieldhouse. The Gauchos sit in fourth place in the MPSF standings, behind the Waves, BYU and UCLA.