Gauchos Stun Waves, 3-2
Feb. 8, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. – Although the #3 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team fought back from a 0-2 deficit vs. #8 UC Santa Barbara, the Waves’ comeback fell short and the Gauchos won 15-12 in the fifth set. Josh Taylor put down a match-best 21 kills in the loss, followed by Parker Kalmbach with 19.
Set scores were 25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 16-25, 15-12 in favor of UC Santa Barbara (6-3, 5-3 MPSF). Pepperdine drops to 6-2 overall and in conference matches.
The Waves were riding high after blanking #1 UCLA inside Firestone Fieldhouse on Wednesday, but were unable to carry over the energy to tonight’s match.
UCSB, led by Evan Licht’s 19 kills, hit .284 (64 kills-24 errors-141) as a team while Pepperdine concluded the night hitting at a .259 (61-25-139) clip.
Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School), as he’s done all year long, paced the Waves with 21 kills. Serving was en point for the junior outside hitter tonight and he dealt two aces while keeping the Gauchos off balance all night while serving.
Kalmbach (Coto de Caza, Calif./Tesoro HS) earned his 19 put aways on a solid .457 (19-3-35) hitting percentage. He also lent a tied-for-match-high seven blocks on defense.
With 11 kills and 13 digs, Kyle Gerrans (Lo Gatos, Calif./Valley Christian HS) picked up his team-best third double-double of the season.
Matching Kalmbach’s seven blocks was Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany).
The Waves and Gauchos battled back and forth in the opening frame until a 4-1 UC Santa Barbara run put the visitors ahead 18-15. Pepperdine rallied to cut the deficit to two, but would ultimately fall 25-22 in the first.
UCSB continued control the tempo in set two and never trailed on its way to the 25-19 win.
Pepperdine began to pick up the pace in the third, thanks in part to the efforts of the Malibu Roofing Company. Although the Waves had set point, 24-23, the Gauchos came up with back-to-back blocks to put themselves in a match point situation. A Taylor kill for the sideout, followed by a Kalmbach solo roof brought the stanza to set point again, and Weston Nielsen swung long to put set three away 27-25 in favor of Pepperdine.
Momentum carried over into the fourth for the home squad, and the Waves handily won 25-16. As a team, Pepperdine sided out at a 93-percent success rate and hit at a blistering .542 (15-2-24) attack percentage. Kalmbach owned the frame with eight kills.
Although the Waves jumped ahead 4-1 in the deciding fifth, UCSB erased the gap and knotted the score at 5-all. With the momentum shifted, the Gauchos made a timely run to go in front 11-9 and Pepperdine was never able to recover. Setter Jonah Seif terminated a ball to clinch the upset 15-12.
The Waves look to rebound on the road next week with matches at UC Irvine (Feb. 14) and UC San Diego (Feb. 15).