#5 Pepperdine Suffers First Loss at 9 Lewis
David Wieczorek hit for a career high 26 kills throughout four sets.
ROMEOVILLE, Ill.: – The 5th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team suffered the first loss of the 2017 campaign this Saturday night at Neil Carey Arena, as the Waves dropped a four-setter to 9th-ranked Lewis with 25-23, 25-22, 24-26 and 25-21 set results.
Redshirt-sophomore and Chicago native David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola HS) commanded the Waves’ offensive with a career-high 26 kills, and with only five errors on 46 swings, amassed a .457 hitting percentage as well. He also tied the team-high with two aces in the match, alongside senior Max States (Honolulu, Hawai’i/Solimar Academy).
The Waves produced a .294 offensive output collectively with 58 kills, compared to the Flyers .333 hitting percentage on 57 kills. The home team, however, out-blocked the visiting Waves 13.5 to 4.0 on the night, while collecting nine service aces to Pepperdine’s six. The Waves did pick up 41 digs, as opposed to the Flyers 38 during the four-set match-up.
Fellow Illinois-native and local for the night, sophomore, Michael Wexter (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West HS) was good for 11 kills on 28 swings. He added an ace and nine digs as well.
Senior Soren Dion-Kindem (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura HS) led the team in playmaking duties after coming into the match in the third set. He posted 41 assists on 80 touches for a .512 hitting percentage and tabbed five digs and a kill for the team. Senior Joshua Stewart (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep/Pacific) had the start on the day and finished with 12 assists and one block.
Junior Alex Harthaller (Innsbruck, Austria/Akademischeg Gymnasium/IPFW) was next for Pepperdine with eight kills and eight digs. Senior Mitchell Penning (St. Louis, Mo./Westminster Christian Academy) and junior Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) each had six smashes. Penning on a .364 output, and Carr on a .556 success rate. Carr tied the team-high with two blocks alongside Wieczorek.
Junior libero Owen Yoshimoto (Ventura, Calif./Adolfo Camarillo HS/Santa Barbara CC) tied the team-high nine digs from the back row and led the squad with 33 total receptions.
To start the match, both teams collected points en route to a 6-6 tie, but the home team would then pull ahead slightly to gain the early advantage. Lewis went ahead 14-10 on a strong attack output and maintained the lead until the 24-19 mark. Pepperdine went on a 4-0 run to bring the score within one, 24-23, but the Flyers then sealed the deal with a Waves’ service fumble to go up 1-0 in the match.
In the second set, the teams once again edged forward together, until the 8-8 mark when the home team picked up a three-point lead 13-10. The Flyers continued to keep the lead through a 21-17 score, but Pepperdine battled back for the second time in the match within one after three consecutive plays and strong services from States including his first ace of the night. Lewis picked up the momentum after that, though, and shut the Waves down for a 25-22 set two win to go up 2-0.
The third set started similarly to the first two as the team reached the 8-8 and 12-12 marks. Lewis pulled ahead by two, but Pepperdine came back with a kill from Harthaller to tie the set at 19’s. Each side went head-to-head at the point, exchanging kills and the Waves would collected the first advantage 24-23. The Flyers tied it up, but a quick kill from Wieczorek and an ace by freshman Noah Dyer (San Clemente, Calif./Saddleback Valley Christian HS) finished off the set 26-24 in Pepperdine’s favor.
With the game on the line and the score 2-1 in the home team’s favor, the momentum was in Lewis’ court. After a 10-10 tie in the middle of the set, the Flyers went on a 7-1 run to pull ahead 17-11 and it was a deficit the Waves would be unable to come back from. Lewis ended the night with a 25-21 set win for the 3-1 victory.
Pepperdine will be back in Firestone Fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 20 as the Waves open Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play against #10 Stanford at 7 p.m. Follow Pepperdine @PeppVolleyball on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates and head to PepperdineWaves.com for recaps, results and more.