Pepperdine Falls In Five To Minnesota 2-3
Dec. 12, 2003
LONG BEACH, CALIF. - Erin Martin had 28 kills and Paula Gentil added 30 digs as the No. 14-ranked Minnesota Gophers registered the second California Regional upset of the night after defeating No. 4 Pepperdine 3-2 (30-28, 30-28, 27-30, 30-26, 15-8) during the round of 16 at the Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. Earlier in the night, No. 13 Washington beat No. 5 Stanford 3-1 to advance to the regional finals Saturday night.
In a season of many accomplishments where the Waves won 25 straight matches and earned the program's first ever No. 1 regional seed, Pepperdine simply could not find its rhythm in all five of the games.
With the loss, the Waves fall to 27-3 while the Golden Gophers improve to 25-10.
"To be honest, I didn't even have my end of the season speech ready because I never expected this," said Pepperdine head coach, Nina Matthies. "This team had a tremendous year and you can't take anything away from them. I'm proud of Minnesota and I'm proud of our girls...I just hate us to go out like this because we didn't play like ourselves."
Four Pepperdine players recorded double-digit kills and double-figure digs. Freshman Sophia Milo had 19 kills on 29 attempts for a match-high .552 hitting percentage while Katy Daly recorded an impressive 16 kills and 18 digs. Lyndsey Hache' added eight blocks and Katie Wilkins guided her squad with 24 kills.
Game one started out with ease thanks in part to Katy Daly's clutch time performance where she recorded a kill, ace, and a block assist consecutively to give the Waves an 11-7 cushion. While the Waves led the entire match, the Gophers posed a scare late in the contest when they went on a fast run and tied the score at 28 even. However, Minnesota gave the Waves a point on a service error and Wilkins followed with a kill as Pepperdine survived 30-28.
For the first game, Pepperdine hit .261 percent while Minnesota accounted for a .200 clip. Wilkins paced the team with eight hammers while Daly added five kills, six digs, and one block. The Golden Gophers out-blocked the Waves six to two and Pepperdine out-hit the opponent 20 to 16 kills.
Minnesota wasted no time in the second game as the Golden Gophers jumped out to a quick 10-5 lead in part to the Waves' reception errors. Each time Pepperdine got within reach, Minnesota posed a strong offensive threat, preventing the Waves from tying the score. Matthies called timeout at the 15-22 point to calm her team, and it appeared that the measure worked as the Waves went on a 12-8 run and came within one point at 28-29. Both teams volleyed vying for the final point and Minnesota earned it on a kill to even the series.
Through the second performance, both teams raised their hitting percentage as Pepperdine finished at .287 percent (40-92) versus Minnesota's .277 (37-94). However, the Golden Gophers continued to have the advantage at the net where they out-blocked the Waves seven to five.
It seemed as though the Waves had control of the third game as they took an 8-3 lead but the Golden Gophers slowly climbed back. With the score 20-16, Minnesota went on a 8-0 run and took the lead at 23-20. After a Matthies' timeout, Pepperdine attempted to hop back in the game and came within one 28-29. Once again, a mental mistake cost the team as the Golden Gophers walked away victorious.
In game four with the season on the line, down 17-19, Pepperdine relied solely on spectacular defensive plays to remain in the game. The scored tied ten times and the lead changed on four occasions but Christina Hinds difficult digs in crucial points gave the Waves the 30-26 win as both teams prepared for the fifth battle.
Immediately Minnesota slid away 5-3 off of two Martin slams. Pepperdine attempted to get back in the game but three straight Gopher blocks put Minnesota ahead 8-3. The Gophers continued to attack at the net and soon after grabbed a 12-6 lead. From that point the Waves never got back into the match and fell 15-8.
For the match, Pepperdine out-hit Minnesota .263 to .238 but the Gophers out-blocked (14-11.5) and out-dug the Waves (92 to 75).