Waves Sweep LMU for PCH Challenge Point
MALIBU, Calif. - Sophomore middle blocker Kim Hill had a match-high 10 kills to help the Pepperdine women's volleyball team to a 25-13, 25-14, 25-18 rout of Loyola Marymount in West Coast Conference play at Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday night.
Pepperdine (11-7, 4-1) won its fourth straight conference match and climbed back into a tie for first place in the WCC. The Lions (9-10, 0-5) lost their seventh straight this season, and sixth straight in the series with the Waves.
The Waves also earned a point for Pepperdine in the newly created PCH Challenge, a season-long competition between the two local rivals that are separated by only 19.1 miles. Pepperdine currently leads the series, 2.5 to 1.5.
Hill (Portland, Ore./Portland Christian HS) also hit .471 (10-2-17). All six players in Pepperdine's starting lineup had between four and 10 kills.
Senior outside hitter Rachel Grochmal (Brea, Calif./Brea Olinda HS) had nine kills, freshman outside hitter Caitlin Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) posted six, sophomore outside hitter Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif./Cornelia Connelly HS) added five and freshman middle blocker Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS) contributed four.
Senior setter Kiah Fiers (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Peninsula HS) had five kills on seven swings (.714) to go with her 29 assists. Sophomore libero Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) provided match highs of 16 digs and four service aces.
The Waves outhit the Lions .280 to .113 and had an 8-0 edge in service aces. LMU was led by Alaina Bergsma's seven kills.
"We were efficient," Pepperdine Coach Nina Matthies said. "That's what we tried to work on this week, being more efficient. We served and passed extremely well. We kept LMU out of their system and we stayed in our system all night."
Pepperdine never trailed in the first set. Tied 2-2, the Waves took the lead for good after two straight kills by Hill and one by Racich. Robinson later had two consecutive service aces to make it 9-4. A 6-0 run was aided by Grochmal's two kills, making it 15-6. The Waves took their first double-digit lead at 18-8 en route to the easy win. Hill had five kills on five swings to lead Pepperdine, which had a .258-.065 edge in hitting.
LMU took its first lead of the match at 1-0 in the second set, but Adelhelm had a kill, block assist and service ace as Pepperdine scored five straight points and nine of the next 10. With the score 9-2, the Waves were hardly threatened again. The Lions eventually closed within four points at 15-11, forcing a Wave timeout, but Hill and Racich combined on a block and both had kills as part of a 6-0 run that made the score 23-12. The Waves had a .226-.031 hitting edge in the second set.
After the Lions took a couple of one-point leads early in the third set, a service ace by Grochmal and a kill by Hill made the score 5-3 and LMU never evened it up again. The lead grew to 13-6 after consecutive kills by Fiers, Frederick and Grochmal. LMU got no closer than four points the rest of the way. Both teams had their best hitting performance in the third set, with the Waves holding a .355-.235 advantage.
The Waves conclude the first half of WCC play at home next weekend with matches in Firestone Fieldhouse against San Francisco (Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.) and Santa Clara (Saturday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m.).