Waves Grit Out 3-1 Victory Over Cal State Northridge to Open Conference Play
Josh Taylor delivers second-straight 20+ kill performance, while Maurice Torres boosts the Waves' offense with 16 kills.
Jan. 11, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. – Behind stellar performances from Josh Taylor and Maurice Torres, the #10 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team put a halt to #11 Cal State Northridge’s comeback attempt and pulled out a 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 16-25, 26-24) win to open Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play.
The Waves (2-1, 1-0 MPSF) took a commanding 2-0 lead before the Matadors (1-3, 0-1 MPSF) stopped Pepperdine dead in its tracks with a 25-16 win in the third set. The home team played catch-up in the pivotal fourth frame before reclaiming the lead and putting the set away 26-24 to clinch its first league win of the season.
Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School), a freshman outside hitter, led the Waves for the third-consecutive match, and put up 22 kills to bring his season average to 4.69 kills/set. Taylor added eight digs and was errorless on serve receive in tonight’s effort.
Junior opposite Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran) handed in his best performance of the season, with 16 kills earned on a .393 hitting percentage. The hard hitting server tied a career best with four aces, and added five digs and four blocks to his stat line.
Julius Hoefer paced CSUN with 21 kills and Charlie Condron led his team’s defense with nine digs.
The Waves dictated the first set, thanks in part to a sizzling .667 hitting percentage highlighted by 14 kills on 18 swings and just two errors. Torres was a perfect 5-for-5 on the attack and did his part on defense with three blocks. Pepperdine limited the Matadors to a .143 clip to put the first set away 25-18.
Cal State Northridge answered the Waves’ 3-0 opening run in set two with a 4-0 run to take a brief lead. Pollock evened the score with a kill, one of seven he would have on the night. The teams traded points until Torres stepped up to the service line to hand out back-to-back aces to put his squad up 11-9. Although the Waves would extend their lead to 15-11, the Matadors would fight back to a tie at 17-all.
Taylor then sparked a 4-0 run with two kills and en pointe serving before another round of back-to-back service aces from Torres put the 25-19 win in the books for Pepperdine.
With the momentum seemingly heading in Pepperdine’s direction, Cal State Northridge stormed its way back into the match during set three. Led by Hoefer’s seven kills and hitting for a .357 team hitting percentage, CSUN recorded a 25-16 win to avoid the sweep.
The Matadors continued to set the offensive rhythm in the fourth stanza, but Pepperdine’s persistent defense prevented the visitors from forcing a fifth set. Taylor collected six of his eight digs in set four alone, in addition to pacing the offense with seven kills. The back-and-forth affair featured seven lead changes and 13 tie scores that lasted until the very end.
Tied a 23, Taylor came up with the solo roof to give the Waves match point, but Hoefer was able to erase it with a kill and knot the score at 24.
The Matadors put Pepperdine back on top with a service error. In what turned into a marathon point, Pollock tried to put the ball away but the CSUN blockers promptly returned it the Waves’ side of the net. With a heads up save, Pepperdine got another crack at it, this time with Torres on the attack. Although CSUN blocked the ball back over the net for a second time, the ball landed out of bounds to give Torres the kill and clinch the match for Pepperdine.
Outside hitter Beau Vandeweghe (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS) came in off the bench with a kill and a block, while libero Ryan Plueger (Los Angeles, Calif./Harvard-Westlake) picked up a pair or digs and his first career kill with a well-placed free ball.
Pepperdine returns to action this Saturday, Jan. 14, when they host #5 Long Beach State (2-1, 0-0 MPSF) inside Firestone Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.