Waves Fall in Another Five-Set Nailbiter
MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine women's volleyball team almost rallied back from being two sets down, but unfortunately the Waves lost their second five-set match of the weekend, this time 25-16, 25-18, 20-25, 17-25, 17-15 to Santa Clara in a West Coast Conference match on Saturday afternoon at Firestone Fieldhouse.
The Waves, who fell in five to San Francisco on Thursday night, dropped to 11-9 overall and 4-3 in the WCC. The Broncos improved to 13-9, 3-4.
Senior outside hitter Rachel Grochmal (Brea, Calif./Brea Olinda HS) led Pepperdine with 18 kills, while sophomore middle blocker Kim Hill (Portland, Ore./Portland Christian HS) hit .560 with 16 kills and freshman middle blocker Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS) added 13 kills and five blocks.
Senior setter Kiah Fiers (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Peninsula HS) had 60 assists, sophomore libero Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) had a team-high 15 digs and freshman outside hitter Caitlin Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) added nine kills and 10 digs.
Santa Clara, which finished with advantages of .308-.239 in hitting and 12-9 in blocks, got 18 kills and six blocks from Lindsy Davigeadono, 15 kills from Kayla Lommori, and 10 kills and six blocks from Dana Knudsen.
Pepperdine scored the first point of the match, but Santa Clara then scored the next four and the Waves never caught up in the first set. A kill by Davigeadono and back-to-back blocks shared by Knudsen and Samantha Selsky grew the lead to 16-10, and the Broncos later went up by nine at 21-12 after a kill by Selsky. The Broncos had a big edge in hitting in the first set, .343 to .089.
It was more of the same in the second set, though the Waves took a two-point lead at 7-5 after Hill was in on consecutive blocks. But with Pepperdine up 8-6, Santa Clara scored five straight points, which included a kill and block assist by Davigeadono, to go ahead to stay at 11-8. Another 5-0 run that included three straight attack errors later made the score 19-13, and Santa Clara went up by eight at 23-15 after another four points in a row. The Broncos outhit the Waves .214 to 053 in the second set.
After the intermission, the Waves came out a different team and never trailed in the third set. Tied 2-2, kills by Adelhelm and sophomore opposite Kristen Seaton (Terre Haute, Ind./South Vigo HS) put Pepperdine ahead to stay. Kills by Seaton and Hill and a service ace by Adelhelm made the score 7-3. It was just a one-point lead at 14-13, but the Waves scored four of the next five points, two on kills by Hill, to begin to pull away. After hitting .072 in the first two sets, Pepperdine hit .459 to Santa Clara's .344. Hill led the way with seven kills.
The fourth set was close for a little while. A solo block by Seaton and a kill by Racich put the Waves ahead 8-6 and gave them a lead they wouldn't relinquish. When it was 11-10, Pepperdine went on a 5-1 run that saw two kills and a block assist by Adelhelm and a kill and a service ace by Grochmal. That put the Waves ahead 16-11 and they kept a sizeable lead the rest of the set. The Waves' hitting stayed hot, with a .417-.212 edge behind Grochmal's six kills.
Unfortunately for the Waves, they fell behind early in the fifth set for the second match in a row. Grochmal scored the first point on a kill, but Santa Clara scored the next five points, which included a block and a kill by Davigeadono. It took the Waves a while, but they finally evened the set up at 13-13 after a kill by Grochmal and an SCU attack error. But Pepperdine could not take the lead, and tied 15-15, Santa Clara ended the match with consecutive kills by Knudsen and Selsky.
Pepperdine plays five of its final seven matches away from home, beginning at San Diego (Wednesday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m.) and Saint Mary's (Saturday, Oct. 31, 1 p.m.) next week. The USD match will be televised live by ESPNU.