Waves Rally Past Louisville, 3-1
Sept. 14, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Just one day after upsetting #19-ranked Kentucky in straight sets, the Pepperdine women’s volleyball team downed a strong Louisville squad 3-1 on the final day of the Bluegrass Battle. The Waves, now 6-2 on the season, were led by the efforts of Kelley Larsen with a career-high 19 kills, and Becca Strehlow who collected a match-best 18 digs.
The Waves made another brilliant comeback late to clinch the match in four sets. Louisville had a 24-22 lead in set four, looking to force a fifth, but Pepperdine charged back with four unanswered points to clinch the match 26-24.
Yesterday, the Waves found themselves behind 17-23 to the Wildcats in set three, before rattling off eight-straight points to secure the win 25-23.
Set scores for today’s match vs. the Cardinals were 22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 26-24.
“The Waves played fantastic today,” said head coach Nina Matthies. “They remained calm, cool and collected under pressure. I really couldn’t be happier with our first road trip. This gives us some great momentum heading into next week when we start West Coast Conference matches.”
Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) led all hitters with 19 kills, surpassing her previous career high of 16. The senior added eight digs, two blocks and an ace for 21.0 total points.
Right behind her was Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) with 15 kills earned at a .387 (15 kills-3 errors-31 attempts) clip.
Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) did her part on both the offensive and defensive end, distributing 44 assists while adding 18 digs and a pair of rejections. Ryann Chandler (Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) also reached double figures in digs with 14.
The Waves, who hit .239 (55-22-138) as a team, out-blocked Louisville 13.5-9.5. Both Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) and Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) were both credited with seven blocks.
Louisville struck first, winning the opening frame 25-22. Although the stat line was practically identical for both teams, the Cardinals narrowly out swung Pepperdine .364 (16-4-33) to .323 (14-4-31). Larsen paced the Waves with five kills.
Set two fared much better for Pepperdine. The Waves scored eight of the first 12 points and never relinquished the lead. Messing nailed down a kill – her seventh of the frame – to secure the stanza 25-19.
Pepperdine continued to dictate the rhythm of the match in set three, but the Cardinals found a way to fight back late to take a two point lead, 16-18. The relentless Waves continued to push forward, and eventually overcame the deficit to go ahead 22-20. A triple block courtesy of Larsen, Cash and Racich extended the gap to three points and Pepperdine was able to sideout its way to victory, 25-22.
The fourth set was nail biter featuring 14 ties and seven exchanges of the lead. Tied at 21, the Cardinals scored three of the next four points to bring the frame to set point 22-24. The Waves, determined to finish the match in four sets, relied on the offensive prowess of Strehlow, Messing and Racich, who all put down kills in the run, to come from behind and win 26-24. Strehlow was at the service line – as she was yesterday vs. Kentucky – when Pepperdine made the late comeback.
The Waves open West Coast Conference action next week when they host Santa Clara on Thursday, Sept. 19, followed by a tilt with San Francisco on Saturday, Sept. 21.