Pepperdine's Comeback Effort Falls Just Short in 3-2 Loss to UC Irvine
April 5, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. – The #6-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team climbed back from an 0-2 deficit to #2 UC Irvine, but the comeback effort fell just short and the Anteaters clinched the 3-2 victory in the fifth set. Despite the loss, junior Maurice Torres earned his fifth double-double of the season with 21 kills and a career-high 15 digs.
The Anteaters (20-4,16-4 MPSF) took the first two frames 25-22, 25-22, before the Waves evened the playing field with 25-23 and 25-17 wins in the third and fourth sets. UCI got back on track in the fifth set and won 15-12.
Overall, the Waves (13-12, 8-11 MPSF) registered a .240 (58-27-129) hitting percentage. Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) paced the Waves with 21 kills earned on a .250 clip, followed by Scott Rhein (Pleasant View, Tenn./Aaron Academy) with 11 kills.
Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) handed out 47 assists, while on defense the freshman added 13 digs and two blocks.
The offense also got a boost from Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany HS), who handed in nine kills while hitting .468. In addition, the freshman paced the Waves with four blocks.
The Anteaters maintained a higher hitting percentage at .328 (62-19-131), but Pepperdine won the battle at the service line with 12 errors compared to UC Irvine’s 24. The home team added four aces – three of which courtesy of Torres – and UCI managed three overall.
Although UC Irvine sprinted out to a two set lead, the Waves never trailed by more than a few points behind.
In set three, the Waves took a 9-7 lead before a 4-0 Anteater run tilted the scales in the visiting teams’ favor. Pepperdine battled back however, but was unable to gain more than a single point lead. A UCI service error – the squads’ eighth of the set – gave the Waves set point at 24-23, and a tandem block by West and Matt Pollock (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg HS) secured the win.
The momentum made a clear shift into Pepperdine’s favor during the fourth frame. The Waves hit a solid .348 (13-5-23) in the frame, and forced the Anteaters to commit just as many errors as kills. Once again, a block put the finishing touches on the set. Torres and Tarantino teamed up for the block stuff to give the Waves the 25-17 victory and force a fifth set.
The comeback effort fell a little flat in the final stanza, and UCI controlled the offensive rhythm of the set by maintaining a high hitting percentage and keeping its service errors down. Although Pepperdine was able to erase two match points, Carson Clark pounded down his 24th kill of the match to clinch the 15-12 win.
The Waves return for their final home match of the season on Saturday, April 7, with a 7 p.m. match against UC San Diego. Senior Night will be celebrated and departing players Doug Astor (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill HS/Orange Coast), Joel Lopata (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield HS), Brandt Ng (Orinda, Calif./Bentley HS), Pollock and Ross will be recognized.