Pepperdine Victorious vs. Pacific, Remains Perfect on the Road
Oct. 10, 2013
STOCKTON, Calif. - Two squads entered tonight's match at the Alex G. Spanos Center with perfect records on the line: the Pepperdine women's volleyball team with an untainted road match record and Pacific, undefeated at home. Despite falling behind 2-1 in the contest, the Waves emerged with the thrilling five set victory to tally their fifth win in as many matches away from Malibu.
Pepperdine, winning by set scores of 17-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 15-13, was led by the career-best effort of freshman Jillian Bergeson (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood HS). In just her second start as an outside hitter, Bergeson pounded down 19 kills.
Three more Waves reached double figures in kills including Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) with 17, Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) with 14 and finally Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) with 11.
With the win, Pepperdine improves to 9-6 overall and 3-4 in West Coast Conference play. Pacific, new to the league in 2013, drops to 9-8 and 2-4 in WCC action. Prior to tonight, the Tigers were 5-0 at home and had lost just one set in those matches.
The Waves held the offensive edge tonight, out-killing Pacific 70-60. The Tigers narrowly beat the Waves in blocks 14.5-13.0, but Cash still had a solid night with five roofs. The junior entered the match with a blocks-per-set average of 1.41, ranking in at 13th in the NCAA.
Messing earned her fourth double-double of the season, matching her 17 kills with 17 digs. Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS), who served as libero in set one before finishing the night as a defensive specialist, also concluded the night with 17 digs. Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS), who switched places with Woolever in set two, followed with 15.
Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) set her team to a .257 (70 kills-25 errors-175 attempts) hitting percentage with a career-high 56 assists. Her all-around effort also included 13 digs, seven kills and four blocks.
After trading sets, the Tigers held the lead in the third frame and went on to win 25-21. With momentum on its side, Pacific opened set four on a 5-1 run and continued to lead late, 17-14. After Pepperdine utilized its second timeout of the stanza, things began to shift in favor of the visitors. A 4-1 run, highlighted by back-to-back Bergeson kills, brought the Waves within one, 18-17, but the Tigers were able to sideout and stretch the lead back to two.
Bergeson pounded home another kill and Racich followed suit to knot the score at 19-all. The squads battled point-for-point the rest of the way, but a timely run that was started by a Cash-Strehlow tandem block secured the set 25-23 to send the match to a deciding set five.
Although Pepperdine jumped ahead 7-4 to open the fifth, Pacific would not go away quietly. The Tigers tied things up at 7-all before taking their first and only lead of the stanza 12-11. Racich got the Waves back on track with a kill. Next, Cash and Bergeson teamed up to throw the roof on, followed by Bergeson's match-leading 19th put away of the contest to bring up match point. Pacific managed to sideout, 14-13, but Cash clinched the victory with a kill.
The Waves continue their tour of NorCal with a 1 p.m. match at Saint Mary's (9-5, 5-1 WCC) on Saturday, Oct. 12. Live stats can be followed here. The Gaels improved to 6-0 when playing at home after edging Loyola Marymount 3-2 earlier this evening.