Pepperdine Edges Portland 3-2
Sept. 26, 2013
PORTLAND – Led by Katie Messing’s team-high 16 kills, the Pepperdine women’s volleyball team edged Portland 3-2 on Thursday night inside the Chiles Center. It was the Waves’ 37th consecutive win over the Pilots, dating back to 1995.
Pepperdine tallied its first West Coast Conference victory of the season by set scores of 17-25, 25-16, 22-25, 25-16, 15-10. The Waves improve to 7-4 overall and 1-2 in the league. Portland remains winless at 0-12.
Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) tagged down 16 kills and added three blocks and an ace for a team-leading 18.5 points.
Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) scored 13.5 points off of 12 kills and a block. Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) also posted 13.5 points. The junior scored her points with 11 kills and five blocks.
Emma Fuzie (Carmel, Calif./Carmel HS) made her first start of her collegiate career and did not disappoint. The freshman led the match with six blocks while adding six kills.
Overall, Pepperdine hit for a .201 (57 kills-26 errors-154 attempts) clip. Portland managed just a .162 (52-26-160) hitting percentage.
With a match-best 23 kills, Autumn Wedan was the Pilots go-to option. Emily Liger followed with 12 kills.
The Waves saw three players reach double figures in digs including Jillian Bergeson (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood HS) with 18, Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) with 15 and Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) with 13.
The Waves struggled to find their rhythm in the opening frame. Portland limited Pepperdine to an uncharacteristically low -.037 (8-9-27) hitting percentage, while maintaining control with their own .582 (16-2-24) clip. Led by nine kills from Wedan, the Pilots put set one away 25-17.
Pepperdine picked up the pace in set two, hitting .286 (13-3-35) compared the Portland’s .026 (9-8-38). Although the Waves stormed out to an 8-3 lead, the Pilots fought back to knot the score at 8-all. Pepperdine scored the next two points thanks to a pair of UP errors and never surrendered the lead the remainder of the set. Kills by Messing and Woolever secured the frame 25-16.
All tied up 1-1, both teams fought fiercely in the third stanza, hungry to take a set lead. A neck-in-neck set featuring 16 total tie scores, Portland made a run in the crucial final points to win 25-22.
The scales tipped back in Pepperdine’s favor in set four. A 9-3 opening run set the tone and the Pilots were never able to fully recover. Cash clinched the set 25-16 with a kill to send the match to a fifth and final frame.
Although the two teams were tied in the early points of set five, Pepperdine pieced together four-consecutive points to take a commanding 6-2 lead. The Pilots narrowed the gap back down to three, 8-5, but the Waves surged forward to win 15-10.
Strehlow finishes the night with 39 assists. Woolever, seeing time at the opposite side hitting position for the second match in a row, sent home eight kills.
The Waves continue the Pacific Northwest swing on Saturday, when they square off with Gonzaga at 12 p.m. noon. Links to live stats and video feed can be found here.