Men's Volleyball Rallies to Beat UCSB

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MALIBU, Calif. - Despite being on the road and falling behind two games to none, the #10 Pepperdine men's volleyball team came back to defeat #9 UC Santa Barbara in five games (23-30, 26-30, 30-22, 30-28, 15-13) on Wednesday night in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play.

Pepperdine (3-4, 3-3) defeated UC Santa Barbara (4-6, 4-3) for the ninth straight time. The Waves won their second straight match in five games after beating then-#1 USC last week.

A balanced attack saw all five of Pepperdine's starting hitters finish with double-figure kills, led by 18 from freshman opposite Maurice Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) and 17 from junior outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS).

Senior outside hitter J.D. Schleppenbach (Ventura, Calif./Ventura HS) had his first double-double of the season with 12 kills and 15 digs, while junior setter Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) recorded his second with 70 assists and 10 digs.

Junior middle blocker Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) had 14 kills and six blocks, and senior middle blocker Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil/BYU) added 12 kills and five blocks.

The Gauchos, who finished with a .340-.322 edge in team hitting, got 29 kills from Jeff Menzel and 21 from Cullen Irons. The Waves had advantages in aces (six to three), digs (51 to 38) and blocks (13.0 to 10.0).

The Gauchos took a small lead at the start of the first game and never let up. The Waves kept it close for most of the game, as UCSB held just a two-point lead at 21-19 after a kill by Santos. But the Gauchos scored the next three points, and later had a four-point run before claiming the first game. UCSB hit .500 to Pepperdine's .310.

The Waves got off to a good start early in the second game, going up 10-7 after Santos and Riecks shared a block. But the Gauchos scored the next four points to take an 11-10 advantage, and shortly thereafter took the lead for good. Both sides saw their hitting drop in the second game, with UCSB down to .231 and Pepperdine at .216.

Pepperdine grabbed the lead quickly in the third game and never let up. UCSB hung close for a while, but a kill and a service ace by Torres, followed by a Gaucho attack error, made the score 20-16. After a UCSB point, the Waves rolled off three straight kills by Riecks, Schleppenbach and Torres to make it 23-17. The game eventually ended on a triple block by senior outside hitter Brent Schirripa (Los Angeles, Calif./Crespi Carmelite HS), Santos and Torres. Pepperdine had its best hitting game at .452 while the Gauchos had their worst at .182.

The Waves looked like they had the fourth game well in hand with a 25-19 lead, but the Gauchos scored six straight points to tie things up. UCSB later went ahead 28-27, but Pepperdine scored the final three points of the set on a kill by Santos and a pair of errors by the Gauchos. The Waves won the set despite being outhit .471-.278.

There was no separation between the two squads in the fifth game until the Waves scored three straight points to take a 13-11 lead. Schleppenbach and Torres had kills, followed by a block by Jaynes and Schleppenbach. A UCSB service error gave the Waves two match points at 14-12. UCSB got a kill to prolong the match for one more play, but Jaynes finished everything off with a kill. The Waves outhit the Gauchos .438-.333 in the fifth game.

The Waves will next try to beat the nation's #1 team for the second time in eight days when Pepperdine visits top-ranked Cal State Northridge on Friday (Feb. 5) at 7 p.m.




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