Stewart's Big Night Pushes #9 Waves Over #12 UCSB, 3-1
The Waves posted a .386 hitting percentage (58-9-127), including a .647 output (11-0-17) in the second set alone to earn the win.
HIGHLIGHTS | FINAL STATS
MALIBU, Calif.: – The 9th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team, aided by the playmaking efforts of senior setter Joshua Stewart, bested 12th-ranked UC Santa Barbara in a four set MPSF match this Wednesday night in Firestone Fieldhouse.
After falling 25-23 in the first set, the Waves (5-3, 3-2 MPSF) battled back and rolled through the second set with a 25-12 win over the Gauchos (6-6, 3-6 MPSF). Then, the two teams went point-for-point in the following two sets, but the home team prevailed with 34-32 and 31-29 set scores to clinch the victory.
The Waves posted 58 kills with only nine errors on 127 attacks for a .386 success rate, compared to a .241 output by the Gauchos with 73 kills and 33 errors on 166 attempts. Pepperdine added five aces, 46 digs and 11.5 team blocks, while allowing two aces, 53 digs and 5.0 team blocks to UCSB to earn the win. Overall there were 63 tie scores and 22 lead changes throughout the match, including 51 ties scores and 17 lead changes in the third and fourth sets combined.
Stewart (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep/Pacific) led the team with his third career double-double after dishing 50 assists and 11 digs, along with five blocks, an ace and a 2-0-5 attack output for a .400 percentage.
Redshirt-sophomore David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) was a member of the 20-kill club with 20 smashes on a .488 hitting percentage. He tabbed not a single error in 41 swings, while adding seven digs, a block, an ace and 22 successful service receptions.
Senior Mitchell Penning (St. Louis, Mo./Westminster Christian Academy) was more than instrumental to the win with 14 kills and no errors on 23 attempts for a big .609 attack output. He led the team with seven blocks and added an ace as well. Junior Weston Barnes (Laguna Beach, Calif./Laguna Beach HS) was solid in the back row with 14 digs and 37 successful service receptions on a perfect 1.000 reception percentage.
Sophomore Michael Wexter (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West HS), junior Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) and freshman Noah Dyer (San Clemente, Calif./Saddleback Valley Christian HS) had nine, seven and six kills respectively. Wexter added nine digs, two blocks and assists and an ace. Clay and Dyer produced three and five blocks respectively.
The Waves opened the first set with an aggressive tone, amassing a 12-9 advantage with four kills by Wieczorek. Pepperdine maintained the advantage until the 20-20 mark when the Gauchos came back, eventually taking the set 25-23 to pull ahead 1-0 on the night.
With all intent of winning the second set, the Waves unleashed, plastering 11 kills with not a single error on 17 attempts for a .647 hitting percentage throughout the set. After an 8-8 tie early on, Pepperdine closed the door and two blocks, two aces and a wealth of smashes from the home team earned a 25-12 win to tie the match.
The final two sets were more than close, literally going point-for-point through 51 tie scores and 17 lead changes. In the third set, the Waves and Gauchos fought through the 23-23 mark. Pepperdine had seven set-point opportunities, with kills from Wieczorek, Penning and Wexter littered throughout, but forced Gauchos’ errors after hard serves from Wexter put Santa Barbara off-kilter sealed the deal and earned the 34-32 hard-fought set win to give the Waves a 2-1 match lead.
In the fourth set, the Gauchos took the first lead at the 3-1 mark. The Waves quickly tied, 4-4, and then the two teams literally worked point-for-point through to the 23-23 mark. A kill from Penning put the Waves up 24-23, but the Gauchos countered. Penning again found the floor at 25-24, but the opposition was close behind to tie. Stewart then dished out to Wexter to put the team up 28-27, but UCSB was not to be rolled over just yet. The Gauchos picked up a set-point opportunity at the 29-28 mark, but a kill from Penning tied the set yet again. A UCSB attack error followed by a triple-block from Penning, Stewart and Dyer would be the final sequence in the 31-29 set win to garner a four-set MPSF victory for Pepperdine.
Next up, the Waves remain in Firestone Fieldhouse this Saturday, taking on 4th-ranked UCLA at 7 p.m. Follow Pepperdine @PeppVolleyball on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates and head to PepperdineWaves.com for recaps, results and more.