#1 Waves Hold Off Cal State Northridge, 3-2
Nikola Antonijevic finishes night with 12 blocks to lead the Waves' defense.
Jan. 22, 2014
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – After falling behind 1-2, the #1 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team clawed its way back to a 3-2 win over Cal State Northridge on Wednesday evening. The Waves were a force at the net, out blocking the Matadors 21.5-9.0.
Set scores for the barn burner were 25-15, 27-29, 25-27, 25-19, 15-12 to send Pepperdine to a perfect 4-0 record on the season. CSUN falls to 1-3 with the loss. It was the Waves’ first win inside the Matadome since the 2011 season.
Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS) was impenetrable at the net, posting a career-high 12 blocks. Josh Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) also set a new career-high with eight roofs to go along with his 19 kills.
Reigning AVCA National Player of the Week Parker Kalmbach (Coto de Caza, Calif./Tesoro HS) produced 18 kills, including the match-clinching point at 15-12 in the fifth frame.
Kyle Gerrans (Lo Gatos, Calif./Valley Christian HS) earned his second-straight double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs. Brennan Anderson (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona Del Mar HS/Ohio State) led the match with 12 saves from his libero position.
Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) dealt 52 assists to lead Pepperdine to a .291 (60-23-127) clip.
Business was booming for the Malibu Roofing Company in the first set, and the Waves out-blocked CSUN 8-0. The frame was close in the opening points, but a 6-0 run fueled by four Pepperdine blocks provided all the separation the team needed. Leading the way at the net was Antonijevic with six rejections, while Taylor and Kalmbach led offensively with a combined six kills to help put the frame away 25-15.
The second set was closely contested from start to finish. Tied 23-23, Taylor earned a crucial kill off the block touch after taking a swing extremely off balance. Cal State Northridge erased the set point with a block, but gave the advantage back to the Waves after an attack error. A kill by Greg Faulkner followed by another CSUN rejection tipped the scales in the home team’s favor, but Gerrans pounded down his sixth kill of the frame to knot things back up 26-26. Another Matador miscue on the attack followed but it was overruled because the Waves were caught out of rotation.
With CSUN leading 27-26, it was Antonijevic’s turn to erase the disadvantage with a kill but an untimely service error followed by a forced Pepperdine attack error put the set away 29-27.
Set three was another fierce battle from point No. 1 to point No. 25 and beyond. Down 24-23, Taylor once again came up with a clutch kill. Gerrans and Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany), freshly subbed in, threw on the roof to take set point, but just like the second stanza, CSUN got the sideout. The Matadors blocked a ball when they needed it most and scored the clinching point off of a free ball kill, 27-25.
The Waves got back on track in set four, and with a 6-1 run took an 11-7 lead. Pepperdine held the advantage the rest of the set, thanks in part to Kalmbach’s five kills. At set point, 24-19, Antonijevic showed off his offensive chops and sent the match to a fifth set with a put away.
Pepperdine opened the fifth with a 3-1 lead behind back-to-back Kalmbach kills, and extended the advantage to three points, 6-3, after a pair of Cal State Northridge errors. The lead was short lived, however, as the Matadors rattled off three-consecutive points to make it 6-6.
The Waves took back the lead after Taylor terminated a ball following the CSUN overpass. A Tarantino-Taylor-Kalmbach triple block put Pepperdine ahead 10-8 to force a timeout, but like all night long the Matadors simply would not bow out quietly.
CSUN took back the lead 11-10, but in an effort to hit around the Pepperdine block, committed untimely attack errors.
With Pepperdine ahead 13-12, CSUN committed a service error – its 23rd of the match – to give Pepperdine set point. Taylor served a tough ball and the pass was sent back over the net where Kalmbach was waiting to send the ball straight back down.
Demani Lenore led the Matadors with 28 kills and pair of aces.
The Waves continue this week’s action at #5 Long Beach State on Friday, Jan. 24. First serve inside the Walter Pyramid is scheduled for 7 p.m.