Balanced Attack Lifts Waves to 3-1 Victory vs. UC Santa Barbara
Sep 6, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. – With four players finishing the evening with double digits in kills, the Pepperdine women’s volleyball team defeated UC Santa Barbara 3-1. Katie Messing led the Waves with a career-high 18 kills, while Kelley Larsen picked up a double-double with 11 kills and a match-high 18 digs.
After a slow start, Pepperdine (3-1) picked up the pace and won by set scores of 22-25, 25-14, 25-20, 25-15.
Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) pegged down a team-high 18 kills, surpassing her previous career best of 17 (vs. Santa Clara, 9/29/12). She narrowly missed out on the double-double with nine digs.
Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) followed, with 13 kills while hitting .440 (13 kills-2 errors-25 attempts).
In addition to her 11 kills and 18 digs, Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) posted a career-high five blocks.
Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) also finished in double figures, posting 11 kills earned at a .500 (11-2-18) clip. Cash entered this week with a .533 season hitting average – No. 1 amongst all West Coast Conference players.
Quarterbacking the Waves’ offense for the first time was transfer Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS/UCLA). The sophomore dished 50 assists while picking up 11 digs for her first double-double of the season.
Overall, Pepperdine out-hit UCSB (2-2) 61-46 and held a commanding 14.5-4.0 advantage in blocking. Brooke Honeycutt (Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista HS) paced the defense with six of those blocks.
Leah Sully accounted for most of the visiting team’s kills with a match-high 21.
UC Santa Barbara got off to a hot start, taking a 16-11 lead. Although the Waves recovered and eventually knotted the score up at 19, they were unable to fully gain control. Kara Sherrard dished out back-to-back aces in the final points to secure the win for the Gauchos 25-22.
It was all Pepperdine from there, and the home team almost never relinquished the lead the remainder of the match, save the 0-1 deficit to open set four.
The Waves found their groove in the second stanza, hitting .438 (16-2-32) while limiting the Gauchos to a .111 (11-7-36) clip. Never trailing, Cash, Racich and Messing each knocked down four kills apiece and the Waves won handily, 25-14.
The intermission did little to slow Pepperdine down, and the Waves sprinted out to a 6-2 advantage in set three. Racich extended the lead, 8-2, with a set of consecutive aces. UC Santa Barbara was never able to come back closer than five points, and the Blue and Orange clinched the set 25-20 on a Cash kill.
The fourth frame looked much the same as Pepperdine took an early lead, 7-4, and never gave it up. Hitting at a blistering .548 (19-2-31) attack percentage, the home team put the set and the match away 25-15.
The Waves resume action at the Pepperdine Invitational tomorrow, Sept. 7 vs. Virginia at 10 a.m. and Colorado State at 7:30 p.m. Links to live stats and video coverage can be found at the Tournament Central. The Rams defeated the Cavaliers 3-1 earlier this evening to open the tournament.