#2 BYU Tops #4 Pepperdine
March 1, 2014
PROVO, Utah - After winning the Jan. 31 meeting in Malibu, the #4 Pepperdine men's volleyball team had to settle for the series split with #2 BYU, falling 25-22, 25-23, 25-22 on the road. Smith Fieldhouse, packed with 4300+ fans tonight, provided a strong home court advantage for the Cougars, who won their 18th consecutive match at home.
The Waves (9-4, 9-4 MPSF) were led offensively by Parker Kalmbach (Coto de Caza, Calif./Tesoro HS). The opposite side hitter put down 13 kills, while also adding six digs and six blocks on defense.
With a match-high seven blocks, Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany) assisted in every Pepperdine roof vs. BYU.
Although the Waves finished the night hitting .220 (33 kills-15 errors-82 attempts), the Cougars (12-3, 12-1 MPSF) trumped that with a .302 (43-17-86) team hitting percentage. Taylor Sander led the match with 18 kills.
Pepperdine struggled to find its rhythm in the opening points, and fell behind 9-5. BYU led by as many as seven before the Waves created some momentum with a 10-4 run to close the gap to one, 20-21. Unfortunately, the visiting team would get no closer and the Cougars held on to win 25-22.
Set two was a rollercoaster from the start, with 14 tie scores and seven lead changes. Pepperdine led late at 21-20, but a partisan crown fueled a 4-1 run that would be enough for the Cougars to close out the frame 25-23.
Kalmbach and Tarantino combined for eight kills, and were responsible for all three of the Waves' blocks in the second stanza.
Pepperdine grabbed a 3-1 lead after opening the third set with back-to-back Tarantino-Kalmbach blocks, but BYU overtook the advantage at 8-7 and would not trail again. The frame would close just as it opened, with two consecutive blocks, but the final two rejections were in favor of the Cougars.
Kyle Gerrans (Los Gatos, Calif./Valley Christian HS) concluded the match with eight kills, while Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS) and Josh Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) tallied three each.
Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) scattered 30 assists.
Pepperdine returns to the friendly confines of Firestone Fieldhouse next week to host Stanford (March 7) and Pacific (March 8). Both matches can be watched live and for free on WaveCasts.