Wieczorek's Big Offensive Puts USC Under 3-2
Michael Wexter and David Wieczorek led the team with 19 and 17 kills respectively.
PHOTO GALLERY | HIGHLIGHTS
MALIBU, Calif.: - The 9th-ranked Pepperdine men's volleyball team, led by David Wieczorek and Michael Wexter's offensive efforts, put USC under in a five-set MPSF match this Saturday afternoon in Firestone Fieldhouse. The Waves split the first four sets 20-25, 25-21, 21-25 and 25-16, before prevailing with a big 15-11 final set victory.
In the fifth, both teams fought hard, amassing a 6-6 tie in the early stages. Seniors Joshua Stewart (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep/Pacific) and Mitchell Penning (St. Louis, Mo./Westminster Christian Academy) followed up with a block and the Waves forced an attack error to pull ahead. Back-to-back kills from redshirt-sophomore David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) and sophomore Michael Wexter (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West HS) extended Pepperdine's lead to 12-8 and at that point, the Waves felt the energy in Firestone.
Wieczorek continued propelling the Waves forward with an ace at the 13-11 mark and freshman Noah Dyer (San Clemente, Calif./Saddleback Valley Christian HS) and Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) blocked Pepperdine into match-point territory. Wexter, put the set away and clinched the Waves' win with a solo block against the Trojan's biggest attacker of the night.
Wexter led the squad with 19 kills on a career-high .444 hitting percentage, adding one ace, nine digs and four blocks including one solo rejection.
Wieczorek was instrumental with 17 kills on a .536 success rate. He added a season-high four aces, one shy of his career-best effort, and produced two blocks, two digs and 34 successful service receptions.
Penning led the team with five blocks and added seven kills on a .357 attacking percentage. Stewart was the primary playmaker with 43 assists, and added eight digs, three blocks and a kill. Carr, Dyer and senior Kyle Suppes (Union City, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep) each had two blocks apiece. Dyer had four kills and Carr tabbed three.
After going point-for-point throughout the opening sequences to the 11-11 mark, the Trojans went on a 5-1 run to pull ahead 17-12. The opposition picked up another combination of points late in the set to go up 23-15. The Waves tacked on some kills to the leaderboard to close the gap to 20-24, but USC put down the final kill for the 1-0 set advantage in the match.
Pepperdine came out strong in the second set, amassing a 9-5 lead with back-to-back rejections from Penning with Wexter and Stewart respectively. USC stayed in the set, but the Waves maintained the advantaged until an 18-18 tie. The opposition took a short lead, but the home team overcame and with a strong service from senior Max States (Honolulu, Hawai'i/Solimar Academy), pulled ahead 21-20. Two kills from Penning in the final moments secured the Waves a 25-21 set win to tie the match.
After a 5-5 tie in the third set, the Trojans worked a gap over the home team to 14-11. Pepperdine came within two points at the 16-18 mark and then to a one-point deficit at the 21-22 mark, but USC added a few kills to close the set 25-22 and go up 2-1.
After a 7-7 tie in the do-or-die fourth set, the Waves unleashed, posting a 9-1 run over the Trojans to pull ahead. USC scattered some points in the following sequences but a big rejection from Carr, Stewart and Wieczorek put the Waves ahead by 10, 22-12. The Waves looked to close and a kill from Wexter and a service error from the opposition helped the home team to the 25-16 win to tie the match.
The Waves went on to win the fifth in commanding fashion to end the day with the second MPSF victory.
Next on the docket for the Waves is a trip to Long Beach State on February 2 as Pepperdine takes on the 49ers in Walter Pyramid at 7 p.m. Follow Pepperdine @PeppVolleyball on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates and head to PepperdineWaves.com for recaps, results and more.