Waves Outlast Gauchos, Move Into Third in MPSF
March 14, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. – The #5 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team earned arguably its most impressive win on the road this season with a 3-2 triumph over #4 UC Santa Barbara. Junior Josh Taylor led the floor with 22 kills and helped the Waves snap the Gauchos’ four-match win streak.
With the 22-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-21, 15-12 victory, Pepperdine moves into third place in the MPSF standings behind a 12-5 record. The Gauchos were relegated back into fourth, a half a match behind the Waves at 12-6.
Although UCSB out killed the Waves 69-56, Pepperdine made up for the deficit by keeping its hitting errors to a minimum. The Waves committed 13 fewer errors on offense, leading to a .336 (56 kills-14 errors-125) team hitting percentage.
Pepperdine also won the blocking battle, with 14.0 blocks compared to the home squads’ six. Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS) assisted on seven rejections while Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) followed with six block assists.
In addition to his sound defensive performance, Taylor led the floor with 22 kills earned at a .439 (22-4-41) clip.
Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany) was once again impressive, and for the third match in a row, did not commit a single hitting error. The middle blocker went 10-for-16 (.688) on the attack tonight. Earlier this week at UCLA, he put down 12 kills off of 16 swings for a career-high rate of .750.
Last week, Tarantino earned 11 kills off of 15 errorless attempts in a 3-0 win over Pacific.
Quarterbacking the offense was Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS), who dished 53 assists in the win.
The Gauchos were led by Matt Hanley, with 20 kills, and Evan Licht, who produced 18 kills and seven aces. Libero Chad Kingi picked up a match-high 19 digs.
After UCSB won the opening frame 25-22, the Waves got a set back with a 25-21 victory in the second. Back-and-forth the match went, as the home team took the third and the visitors the fourth with relatively few lead changes.
Pepperdine scored the first two points of the deciding fifth set and never trailed the rest of the way. Although UC Santa Barbara knotted the score up at 2-2, the Waves scored five of the next six points to take a commanding 7-3 lead. Another failed sideout attempt by UCSB put the score at 11-7 in favor of the visitors and the Gauchos were forced to take their second timeout of the frame.
Although the Gauchos narrowed the gap to three, 12-9, Taylor and Antonijevic threw the roof on out of a timeout to tip the momentum back in the Waves’ favor.
Taylor slammed down another kill to bring the score to match point, and sealed the deal for Pepperdine 15-12 with his 22nd kill of the match.
Pepperdine hosts two matches next week, beginning with #2 Long Beach State on Thursday, March 20. On Saturday, March 22, the Waves welcome in Cal State Northridge. Be sure to “Like” Pepperdine men’s volleyball on Facebook or follow @PepperdineMVB on Twitter to take advantage of Thursday’s $3 ticket offer.