Matthies, Seniors Victorious in Firestone Fieldhouse Finale
Nov. 16, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine women's volleyball team sent head coach Nina Matthies and seniors Kelley Larsen and Kellie Woolever out in style, defeating Loyola Marymount 3-2 on Saturday afternoon. It was the final match inside Firestone Fieldhouse for all three as Matthies announced her retirement from the indoor game after 31 years on the sidelines earlier this week.
Set scores in the match were 28-30, 25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 15-11.
"I don't look at it as retiring, I look at it as a change of scenery," said Nina Matthies. "I'm happy with my decision. It's the right time."
Seniors Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) and Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) made their final curtain calls in Malibu as indoor players, and did not disappoint. Larsen tied a career high with 20 kills, while Woolever picked up 13 digs.
"Kelley and Kellie both played so well for us today," Matthies said. "Both are such phenomenal team leaders. They've been through it all, four years of blood, sweat and tears, and I'm so proud of everything they have done for this team.
"But it's not really goodbye since we still have them on the beach," added Matthies.
Defense was the name of the game today. As a team, the Waves (14-10, 8-8 West Coast Conference) tallied 19.0 total blocks, which counts as the fourth most all-time in the program's single-match history (rally scoring only). Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) had a day, setting a new career high with 11 rejections. That stat ranks tied for fourth in single-match history, and is just two shy of Lindsey Hache' Weisenberg's record of 13.
"Samantha played fantastic, she's our motor," praised Matthies of her junior.
"We weren't going to lose today," said Cash of the team's attitude. "We were going to give all we had and I'm happy we could get the win for Nina."
Cash fell just short of her first double-double with nine kills to go along with her 11 blocks.
With today's phenomenal effort, Cash broke into the top-10 for career blocks at Pepperdine. Her current total stands at a 10th-ranked 324.
Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) was equally as impressive, earning her first career triple-double with 49 assists, 13 digs and 10 blocks. The last two triple-doubles on record for the Waves were achieved with kills, digs and assists, making her feat today even more extraordinary.
Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) put away 12 kills, while adding 14 digs and a pair of aces.
Not only was defense at the net en point, the back court defense was also getting the job done. Jillian Bergeson (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood HS) led Pepperdine with 22 digs, while Woolever, Messing, Strehlow and Larsen all finished in double figures.
After a marathon first set that went in favor of the Lions (14-12, 8-8 WCC), 30-28, the Waves rebounded with a pair of 25-19 wins in sets two and three. LMU snagged the early advantage in the fourth set to win 25-21 and force a fifth stanza.
Pepperdine wasted little time in the final frame, jumping out to a 6-2 lead behind a pair of Larsen kills, and aces courtesy of Messing and Cash. Although the Lions narrowed the gap to one, 7-6, the Waves never relinquished their lead. A 3-0 run firmly put the momentum back in Pepperdine's favor, and Larsen fittingly put down the final two kills to secure the set and match 15-11.
The Waves will close out the regular season next week, with road matches at San Francisco (11/21) and Santa Clara (11/23),