Waves Blank Kansas State, Advance to NCAA Regional Final
Dec. 9, 2011
HONOLULU – The #18-ranked Pepperdine women’s volleyball team advanced to the Regional Final of the NCAA Tournament following a 3-0 sweep of Kansas State on Friday night inside the Stan Sheriff Center. The Waves will face either Hawaii or USC in tomorrow’s final, scheduled for 9 p.m. (PT)
The match will be broadcasted live on ESPNU, while a free audio broadcast is also available at PepperdineSports.com.
Kim Hill (Portland, Ore./Portland Christian HS) and Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif./Cornelia Connelly HS) both registered the kills-digs double-double for Pepperdine (25-6). Hill paced all hitters with 15 put aways and 15 digs. Frederick added 10 kills and 11 digs.
Three more Waves reached double digit dig totals including Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) with 15, Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) with 12 and Michaela Christiaansen (Tucson, Ariz./Ironwood Ridge HS) with 11.
At the net, Hill and Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) both recorded five blocks, followed by Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS) with four rejections.
Kansas State concludes its season at 22-11, after makings its third Sweet 16 appearance in program history. Kathleen Ludwig led the team with 12 kills, while Hawaii-native Kuulei Kabalis picked up 17 digs in front of her hometown crowd.
The Waves are making just their second-ever Elite Eight showing and are now 17-20 at the NCAA Tournament.
Christiaansen got things started with the first serve of the match, but the Wildcats got a lucky roll off the Pepperdine block to claim the opening point. Hill put the first point on the board for the Waves with a kill from the back row, while a Woolever ace gave the designated home team its first lead of the match at 4-3.
Although K-State challenged Pepperdine and knotted the score back up at 5-all, a 3-1 run gave the Waves a 9-6 lead to force the Wildcats to call a timeout. The Waves continued to build their lead and another ace, this time courtesy of Christiaansen, prompted another timeout to be called at 14-10.
Pepperdine extended its lead to as much as five, but a late Kansas State surge brought the score within two, 19-17. Hill tallied another kill out of the timeout to roll the momentum back in the Waves’ favor. With the sideout, she rotated into the service position where she served up the next three points. Frederick put a ball away for point #24, and Hill tallied her sixth kill of the frame to clinch the opening set for Pepperdine.
Defensively, Hill seemed to cover the entire court and picked up nine digs.
K-State came out swinging, but a huge combined save from Robinson and Hill gave Frederick an offensive opportunity that put the Waves up 1-0 to open set two. Pepperdine scored five of the next six points to force the Wildcats to once again utilize both timeouts early in the stanza.
The Waves really found their grove in the set and allowed little opportunity for the designated visiting team to gather any momentum. Adelhelm posted a kill to give Pepperdine a 25-12 win and a 2-0 overall lead heading into the locker room.
The Wildcats got back on track in third set and built a 13-9 lead but the Waves responded with an 8-2 run to reclaim the advantage, 17-15. Kansas State did now go away quietly, however, and scored on back-to-back points to tie score at 17. Both teams traded points and the score remained even at 23. Following a tandem block by Hill and Cash, Hill dished a service ace to catapult the Waves to victory and into the Elite Eight.
Woolever quarterbacked the office with 40 assists, and the team hit for a .289 percentage.
Pepperdine plays the winner of the USC-Hawaii match on Saturday and is 1-3 all-time versus the Trojans in NCAA postseason action. The Waves have never faced the Rainbow Wahine in the Tournament.