Waves Outlast Matadors in Five Sets, Torres Matches Career High in Kills
April 4, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. – The #5 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team kept its chances of hosting a first-round MPSF Tournament match alive tonight, outlasting #10 Cal State Northridge in five sets on Thursday inside Firestone Fieldhouse. Maurice Torres pounded down a tied-for-career-best 28 kills while hitting at a .500 clip to lift the Waves to victory.
Final set scores were 22-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-18, 15-11.
Pepperdine is now 13-9 overall and a fifth-place 12-9 in league action. UCLA sits in fourth but lost tonight to Cal Baptist to fall to 13-8 in league play, leaving the door open for the Waves to move ahead a spot in the standings. The top four teams are awarded home court advantage during the first round of the conference tournament, set to open on Saturday, April 20. BYU, UC Irvine and Long Beach State have already clinched the top three spots.
Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) was the hero of the evening, tallying 28 kills off of 44 attempts and just six errors for a final hitting percentage of .500. The Waves improve to 10-1 in 2013 when Torres is hitting at .300 or higher.
The senior wasn’t finished there, however, and was also credited with a match-high seven blocks and three aces as well as seven digs.
Prior to tonight, Torres was credited with 28 kills against USC in 2010 as a freshman. Coincidentally, it was also the 28th time in his career he has surpassed the 20-kills mark.
Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) – who entered this week ranked second in the NCAA with 11.41 assists/set – conducted the offense with 63 assists, which ties for most by any MPSF player in a single match this season.
The Waves’ offense got a lift from Josh Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School). The sophomore racked up 19 kills and two blocks.
Middle blockers Parker Kalmbach (Coto de Caza, Calif./Tesoro HS) and Leonardo Granato (Reseda, Calif./Grover Cleveland HS/Pierce College) kept the CSUN’s offense in check with six blocks apiece. It was Granato’s first start of the season.
Beau Vandeweghe (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS) came off the bench with nine kills and tied a career high with eight digs.
Pepperdine got off to rough start in the opening frame, falling behind 8-3. Torres rattled off two aces to bring the score within one, 8-9, and the Waves even took a brief lead at 18-16. The Matadors never fully relinquished the momentum, however, and won 25-22.
Set two played out extremely close from start to finish, but another Torres ace sparked a 3-0 run to give the home team a 22-19 advantage. The small separation was enough and Pepperdine sided out its way to a 25-23 triumph.
The momentum continued to swing back and forth as Cal State Northridge took the third set and Pepperdine won set four, both in convincing fashion.
The Waves played an inspired fifth set and opened the final frame on a 3-1 run – two points of which were scored courtesy of the Malibu Roofing Company. The Matadors narrowed the gap to one, 10-9, but Torres and Vandeweghe nailed down kills in succession to give Pepperdine a 12-9 lead. After a CSUN sideout, Taylor accounted for the final three kills to secure the set 15-11.
The win was a repayment of sorts, as Cal State Northridge was on the winning side of a 3-2 decision back in February at the Matadome. The Matadors are 9-12 in conference play and clinging to the eighth and final spot in the MPSF Tournament.
The Waves host their final home match of the regular season this Saturday, April 6 against #2 Long Beach State. Match time is set for 5 p.m. Senior Night will be celebrated and Torres, Vandeweghe and James Powers (Forth Worth, Texas/Trinity Valley/TCU) will be recognized prior to the contest.