Women's Volleyball Dispatches Santa Clara in Five Sets
Oct. 13, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. – Although Santa Clara took the #24 Pepperdine women’s volleyball team to five sets, the Waves ended up on top by a score of 3-2 to finish the week a perfect 3-0. Jazmine Orozco led all hitters with 19 kills.
Pepperdine, with the 25-16, 19-25, 25-16, 17-25, 15-10 victory, improves to 14-7 on the season and 3-4 in the West Coast Conference.
"For us our goal last week, after the UC Santa Barbara match, was to win. We know we need to win,” said head coach Nina Matthies, whose team sits in sixth place in the conference standings after today’s victory. ”It is imperative in this conference race. Even though our conference is playing really well, we need to win to stay in the race. In volleyball, it doesn't matter if it's 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 – it’s a win.”
It was a tale of two teams for Pepperdine, who hit a combined .345 (37 kills-6 errors-89 attempts) in the three sets they won, but just .038 (20-17-78) in the two frames lost.
“I was really proud of the kids and how they performed today,” continued Matthies. “They are still learning about themselves and learning to focus and we know we have to stay focused for an entire match. We can't let up at all. Game four, we made like four-straight errors and all of a sudden those are four points that we lose and we end up dropping that set. We lose our momentum and the match was close. We can't do that and we know it. But we are getting better at it, so I'm happy with our effort."
Orozco (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS/Illinois) once again paced the Waves with 19 kills to go along with 15 digs for the double-double. Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) added 10 kills, 11 digs, six blocks and another two aces to bring her season total to a team-best 24.
Pepperdine also got stand-out performances from Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS), who disposed of 10 kills, and Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS) who dominated the defensive end with nine blocks.
Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) quarterbacked the offense with 44 assists, and also added 14 digs and four blocks – one of which clinched the match for Pepperdine.
The Waves handily won the opening set 25-16 behind the sure-fire swing of Orozco, who accounted for seven of her team's 15 total kills. Overall Pepperdine hit for a near-unstoppable .500 (15-0-30) hitting percentage, while holding Santa Clara to a .235 (14-6-34) clip. Michaela Christiaansen (Tucson, Arizona/Ironwood Ridge HS) protected the backcourt with five digs to provide Pepperdine several second-chance opportunities to put the ball away.
Christiaansen would eventually surpass the 20-dig benchmark for the third time in five matches with 22.
The Waves opened the second set strong, jumping to a 15-11 lead, but Santa Clara strung together a 6-2 run to tip the scales in their favor. Hindered by attack errors, Pepperdine dropped the frame 19-25.
After the intermission, the Waves found their offensive rhythm back and held a 2-4 point lead the majority of the third stanza. Up 18-15, Woolever stepped to the service line and stayed there for the next six points. Racich sent home the final kill to put the 25-16 set in the books.
The Broncos came out strong after the loss, and cruised to a 20-10 advantage in the fourth. Although Pepperdine made a late charge, the comeback effort fell short and Santa Clara won 25-17 to force a fifth and final set.
Santa Clara tallied the first point in the deciding frame, but the Waves scored the next six in a row to claim the early lead. The Broncos were able to diminish the deficit to two points, but Pepperdine never relinquished control and found itself with match point, 14-8. SCU killed off two points, but Woolever was credited with the solo stuff block at the end of a long rally to clinch the match for Pepperdine.
Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) returned to the lineup after a five-match absence with seven kills and a pair of roofs.
Pepperdine travels to the Pacific Northwest next week to take on Portland (Oct.18) and Gonzaga (Oct. 20). The Waves' next home match is scheduled for Oct. 25 against Loyola Marymount. Not only will the contest count for PCH Cup points, but it will be the team's annual Dig Pink match in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.