Waves Open 2009 With Win at #24 Colorado State
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Pepperdine women's volleyball team opened the 2009 season in outstanding form, routing #24 Colorado State in three sets (25-23, 25-17, 25-14) in the Rams' home gym on Friday night.
Pepperdine had a balanced attack, getting 13 kills from sophomore outside hitter Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif./Cornelia Connelly HS), 11 from senior outside hitter Rachel Grochmal (Brea, Calif./Brea Olinda HS) and 10 from sophomore middle blocker Kim Hill (Portland, Ore./Portland Christian HS). Hill hit .500 on 18 attempts. Grochmal added a match-high three service aces.
Senior setter Kiah Fiers (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Peninsula HS) had 30 assists and 12 digs and helped Pepperdine to a .271 team hitting percentage. The Rams were held to a .163 attack.
Sophomore libero Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) had a match-high 16 digs.
"The kids really did well at what we've been training and practicing," Pepperdine Coach Nina Matthies said. "They executed our defensive scheme, trusted each other and blocked well. It didn't show in the statistics but we got a lot of soft touches to help start the transition and get the ball back over quickly. We ran a really good offense. Kiah had choices and did a good job. This was a definite team win."
Despite nine ties and five lead changes in the first set, the Waves went ahead 24-20. A few points later, they finally put the Rams away on a kill by sophomore opposite Kristen Seaton (Terre Haute, Ind./South Vigo HS). The Rams had an early lead in the second set, but back-to-back kills by Hill made the score 6-5 in the Waves' favor and they never trailed again. Colorado State broke out to a 4-1 lead in the third set, but Pepperdine then went on a 7-0 run en route to an easy victory. Grochmal began the run with a kill and ended it with a service ace, and Frederick had kills on four straight points inbetween.
The Waves, who won their season opener away from home for the third straight season, last beat a top 25 team in a true road match in the 2005 NCAA Tournament at USC. It's the second straight year the Waves have beaten a ranked Colorado State team, as last season Pepperdine beat the then-#17 Rams in four sets in Corvallis, Ore.
Pepperdine was the top team listed in the "also receiving votes" category in the AVCA's 2009 preseason poll.
Pepperdine continues play at the Colorado State Asics/Coors Classic with matches against Cal Poly on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. PT and Oregon State on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. PT.