Women's Volleyball Blanks Pacific 3-0
Nov. 9, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. – A well balanced offensive attack translated into a 3-0 victory for the Pepperdine women’s volleyball team this afternoon inside Firestone Fieldhouse. The Waves swept the season series versus Pacific and won by set scores of 25-22, 25-22, 26-24.
The Waves improve to 13-10 overall and 7-8 in West Coast Conference.
Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) led all hitters with 13 kills, followed by Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) with 12 while hitting .375 (12 kills-3 errors-24 attempts).
Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) was the third Pepperdine player to reach double figures, ending the afternoon with 10 put aways.
Junior middle blocker Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) contributed seven kills earned at a .462 (7-1-13) clip and defensively added six blocks to bring her season average to 1.31 blocks per set. She entered the match ranked 39th in the NCAA with 1.28 blocks per set.
Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) orchestrated the offense with 37 assists to help the Waves to an overall hitting percentage of .250 (46-17-116). The sophomore setter added 12 digs and a pair of blocks.
“I thought we executed well today and played very patiently,” said Hall of Fame coach Nina Matthies. “We kept our wits about us, even when we were behind in the third set, and kept the errors to a minimum which I’m very happy about.”
Overall, Pepperdine out-dug the Tigers (11-14, 4-10 WCC) 58-45 to help drive Pacific’s success rate on the attack to .211 (46-19-128). Despite the loss, Gillian Howard had a phenomenal day for the visiting squad with 12 kills earned off of an errorless 23 swings (.522). She also paced the defense with five blocks.
The back court was well protected by libero Jillian Bergeson (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood HS), who led the match with 18 digs. Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) and Larsen added nine apiece.
Although the Tigers stormed out to an 11-6 lead in set one, the Waves remained calm, cool and collected and tied the score up at 13. Even at 20-20, Pepperdine pieced together a timely run featuring a pair of Larsen kills to go ahead 23-20. Pacific was unable to come up with an answer and the home team went on to win 25-22.
The Waves held firm control of the second frame, leading by as much as five 16-11. The Tigers did chip away at the lead but the Pepperdine blocking contingent forced several hitting miscues to keep the momentum in the Waves’ favor. Messing nailed down the final kill to clinch the set 25-22.
After intermission, the Tigers opened the third stanza with a 5-1 run and did not trail until the very end. With Pepperdine down 19-22, Racich put down a kill followed by a Larsen ace to bring the Blue and Orange back within one. A Pacific attack error would give Pepperdine the tying point, but a Kat Schultz kill would lift the Tigers up once again.
Two side outs later the Waves were able to eliminate set point, and a Cash-Messing tandem block gave Pepperdine its first lead of the frame, 25-24. Messing capitalized on the opportunity with a kill to win the set 26-24 and secure the sweep for her team.
Pepperdine’s final home match of the 2013 season is set for next week Saturday, Nov. 16 vs. Loyola Marymount at 1 p.m. Seniors Woolever and Larsen will be honored prior to the match for their four years of service.