#7 Waves Fall to #10 Stanford in Four
Michael Wexter led the team with 13 kills and Alex Harthaller picked up a career-high three aces.
HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERY
MALIBU, Calif.: – The 7th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team dropped the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener in a four-setter against 10th-ranked Stanford in Firestone Fieldhouse this Friday night. After falling 29-27 and 25-16 to open the match, the Waves rallied with a big 25-13 win to stay in the match, but eventually fell 26-24 to end the night.
With the 2-1 advantage in the Cardinal’s court, both teams went into the fourth with strong effort, eventually seeing 19 tied scores and eight lead changes throughout the set. The score went from 5-5, to 11-11 and 18-18, before falling at 23-23. Stanford (4-2, 1-0 MPSF) picked up the first advantage, but the Waves (2-2, 0-1 MPSF) answered right after with a Michael Wexter (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) smash from the right side. The opposition still had the edge, however, and the visitors put the set away 26-24 to end the night.
Throughout four sets, sophomore Wexter and redshirt-sophomore David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) led the offensive charge with 13 and 12 kills respectively. Wexter produced two aces, five digs and led the team with five blocks alongside junior Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS). Wieczorek was good for an ace, six digs and a team-high 34 service receptions and Carr added six kills on a .500 hitting percentage.
Junior Alex Harthaller (Innsbruck, Austria/Akademischeg Gymnasium/IPFW) also tabbed nine kills, while adding a career-high three aces, five digs and four blocks.
Seniors Joshua Stewart (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep/Pacific) and Soren Dion-Kindem (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura HS) led in playmaking duties for the Waves with 22 and 20 assists respectively.
Senior Mitchell Penning (St. Louis, Mo./Westminster Christian Academy) also picked up four kills, three blocks and an ace for the home squad. Redshirt-junior libero Owen Yoshimoto (Ventura, Calif./Adolfo Camarillo HS/Santa Barbara CC) ended the night with six digs.
In the first set, Stanford worked ahead quickly, amassing a 10-6 lead before the Waves brought the score within two 10-12. The Cardinal stayed ahead by a four-point margin through a majority of the set, but Pepperdine rallied hard to tie the score at the 23-23 mark. The Waves combated four set point opportunities, but Stanford had other ideas as the opposition eventually won the 29-27 victory.
The Cardinal had the edge throughout the second set, building an 18-11 lead before putting the set away 25-16 to gain a 2-0 match advantage.
Pepperdine rallied big in the third set. After a 5-5 tie, the Waves broke away with strong block efforts from Penning, Harthaller, Wexter and Carr and an extra big service from Wexter had the Waves leading 15-10 in the middle of the set. Another Wexter, Carr collaboration late in the set, followed by kills from Harthaller and Penning and the Waves were looking at 10-point lead, 23-13. Senior Max States (Honolulu, Hawai’i/Solimar Academy) earned his sixth ace of the season and then forced a Stanford attack error in the next sequence to help the Waves to a 25-13 set three win.
The stakes were on the line in the fourth set, and both teams played as such, building 19 tie-scores and eight lead changes en route to a 19-19 tie. A late attack by Carr put the Waves up 23-22 late, but the Cardinal answered and with a block to end the set 26-24 picked up the 3-1 MPSF match victory.
Pepperdine will be back in Firestone Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Jan. 25 as the Waves continue MPSF play against Cal Baptist at 7 p.m. Follow Pepperdine @PeppVolleyball on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates and head to PepperdineWaves.com for recaps, results and more.