Pepperdine Holds Off BYU in Five-Set Battle

Josh Taylor

Jan. 31, 2014

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Final Stats | Box Score: Pepperdine 3, BYU 2 Get Acrobat Reader

MALIBU, Calif. - The #3 Pepperdine men's volleyball team came from behind to beat #4 BYU 15-11 in the fifth set to hand the Cougars their first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation loss of the season. Josh Taylor paced the match with 21 kills to lead the Waves, followed by Parker Kalmbach with 17.

With the 25-19, 17-25, 25-21, 26-28, 15-11 victory, Pepperdine moves to 5-1 on the season. BYU drops to 6-3 overall and 6-1 in MPSF play.

Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School), who didn't even make his first attack attempt until late in set one, finished the night with 21 kills, four blocks and an ace. Kalmbach (Coto de Caza, Calif./Tesoro HS) followed with 17 while hitting .406 (17 kills-4 errors-32 attempts).

Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS), ranking in at No. 2 in the NCAA with a 1.60 blocks per set average, maintained that number tonight with a team-high eight roofs.

Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany) did a little bit of everything for Pepperdine, posting seven kills, two aces, two digs and two blocks.

The first three sets were relatively tame, with the Waves taking the early lead in the first and third frames, and in both instances riding the momentum to victory relatively unchallenged. Set two looked much the same, but only with BYU in control the majority of the stanza.

Although Pepperdine had its chances in the fourth set and led by as much as four, 14-10, the Cougars clawed their way back and eventually knotted the score at 18-all. The Waves killed off three set points before BYU was able to squeak away with the 28-26 triumph and force a fifth.

"This was an early season, hard-played match.  Not necessarily well played, but hard played by both teams," said head coach Marv Dunphy. "Give BYU credit, we had them against the ropes in set four but they earned that one."

Pepperdine returned the favor in the final set, rallying back from an early deficit to earn the win.

The Waves fell behind early, 3-6, in set five but Kalmbach pegged down a kill out of the timeout. Antonijevic and Taylor got another point back for Pepperdine after stopping Josh Grosh's attack short with a block.

A 3-2 run deadlocked the score at 8-8, and Taylor came up with a solo block to tip the scales in the Waves' favor in for the first time in the frame.

BYU got the sideout to tie the score up once again, but Taylor would nail down another kill to give Pepperdine the lead once and for all.

The deal was sealed when Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) came up with a pancake dig that translated into yet another Taylor kill, 13-10.

Put aways courtesy of Kyle Gerrans (Lo Gatos, Calif./Valley Christian HS) and Antonijevic would clinch set five 15-11.

Gerrans collected a team-best 11 digs to go along with six kills. West orchestrated the offense to the tune of a .225 (55-26-129) team hitting percentage. He collected 49 assists.

The Waves gear up for another important home match next week Wednesday, Feb. 5 when they host current #1 UCLA. The Bruins are on an eight-match win streak heading into Saturday's match vs. UC Irvine. 



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