No. 1 Waves Stop Defending NCAA Champions Lewis, 3-0
Jan. 16, 2004
ROMEOVILLE, Ill.-- In a rematch of the 2003 NCAA semifinal that saw Lewis defeat Pepperdine in five games, Pepperdine exacted its revenge with a 3-0 sweep of the host Flyers on Friday night to open the Cheddar's Invitational Volleyball Tournament at Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville, Ill. The two-day tournament features four teams - host Lewis, Pepperdine, Penn State, and Loyola-Chicago - and will continue on Saturday.
Pepperdine stifled the emotion of a capacity crowd of 1,200 with a performance that displayed its worthiness of the nation's No. 1 ranking.
"No doubt Pepperdine was the favorite to win this match," said Lewis head coach Dave Deuser. "They are deep and solid in each rotation and are definitely the best team in the nation right now."
The Waves (3-0) claimed a 30-23, 30-28, 30-20 victory in one hour and twenty-five minutes.
With the exception of setter John Mayer at six feet two inches tall, Pepperdine's starting lineup is at least 6-5. The result is an intimidating block that dominated the Flyer offense with 15 team blocks in the three games.
"They are probably the best blocking team in the nation," said Deuser.
The Waves utilized their veterans and size to over power the Flyers. As expected, senior Fred Winters led his team with 15 kills, a team-high two service aces, and four block assists in his first college match of the 2004 season. Sophomore Andy Hein recorded an impressive 10 block assists and hit a .538 mark (8-13) for 13.0 points. Junior Sean Rooney compiled nine kills, four digs, and four blocks for the Orange and Blue. Freshman John Parfitt posted five kills and four blocks while Mayer collected 35 assists, six digs, and four blocks. Leading the way on defense for the Waves was libero James Ka who paced both teams with nine digs.
Other outstanding performances went to junior Mike Gledhill (4-7 for .429 percentage) and freshman Tanner Sutherland (2 kills, 2 digs, .500 hitting percentage).
Lewis led game one 15-12 at the technical timeout, but Pepperdine's locals Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.) and Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) powered the Waves through a 9-0 run that handed them a 21-15 lead. During the run, the pair combined for three blocks, Rooney had three kills, and Hein had a kill.
Pepperdine held the 15-12 lead at the technical timeout in game 2, but Lewis scored three straight points and tied the game at 15-all. Another Waves spurt pushed the score to 21-16, before Lewis was able to mount a comeback. Greg Pochopien's kill for Lewis tied the game at 25-all. Winters committed an error at 26-all and Lewis owned a 27-26 lead. Pepperdine's Parfitt quickly responded with a kill to tie the game and then Winters served an ace that turned the game's tide.
Pepperdine got out to an early lead in game 3 and rolled to the victory from there. The Waves got the job done as they hit .407 on the night while the Flyers managed to complete just .155 percent of their attacks. Pepperdine also put up 15.0 team blocks, and allowed Lewis just 2.0 blocks.
Pepperdine will battle Loyola-Chicago at 3:00 p.m. (PST) and Lewis will face Penn State in the 5 p.m. match of the Cheddar's Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 17.