#9 Waves Fall at USC Despite Wieczorek Double-Double
Three Waves posted career-high block efforts throughout the match.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.: – The 9th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team succumbed to USC in five-sets at the Galen Center this Saturday night, despite multiple career-high and record numbers. The Waves fell 30-28 and 25-12 to open the day before the team collected 25-22 and 25-23 to tie the match and then eventually dropped the fifth 15-10.
In the fifth set, USC (5-9, 4-7 MPSF) went ahead early, but the Waves (6-5, 4-4 MPSF) answered to remain even up to the 7-7 mark. At that point the Trojans built a small cushion that would eventually lead to a 15-10 fifth set to pick up the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation victory.
The Waves collected a massive 23.5 team blocks, while allowing only 9.5 to the opposition. USC led the attack effort, however, with 65 kills on a .227 hitting percentage and Pepperdine posted 53 kills on a .155 output. The Waves also added three aces and 33 digs compared to the Trojans eight aces and 51 digs.
The Waves had a multitude of career defensive performances, including redshirt-sophomore David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) and junior Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) who had 10 and 11 block assists respectively.
Wieczorek tabbed the second double-double of his career with 18 kills along with his block output. He added a .283 success rate on 46 swings and posted one ace, four blocks and 20 solid service receptions. Carr led Pepperdine with his career-best 11 blocks, along with seven kills on a .455 attacking percentage.
Senior Joshua Stewart led the squad with 48 assists while also producing a career-high seven blocks. Junior Colby Harriman (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit HS) also hit for double-figure kills with 14 and added three blocks. Senior Mitchell Penning (St. Louis, Mo./Westminster Christian Academy) added eight blocks and three smashes.
In the first set, each team worked to the 7-7 mark before Pepperdine went on a 7-0 run with the help of blocks from Harriman, Carr and Wieczorek and a strong service effort from Stewart. The opposition remained behind momentarily, but the Trojans eventually tied the match 22-22 late in the set. After 11 tie scores, USC picked up the only lead change of the set to earn a 30-28 win and pull ahead early.
The Trojans had the momentum in the second set, jumping out to a 12-4 lead early and continuing to secure points en route to a 25-12 win to go up 2-0 on the night.
The third set was close, with both sides reaching the 11-11 mark after a Wexter, Carr, Wieczorek block collaboration. The Waves block stayed tall and with five more collective blocks throughout the set, peppered with smashes from Harriman, Wieczorek and Wexter and the Waves earned a 25-22 win to start inching back into the match.
With the match still on the line, the Waves came out strong in the fourth, going point-for-point with USC to a 7-7 tie. The Trojans went ahead 16-12 shortly after, but back-to-back blocks from Penning and Stewart and another kill from Wieczorek tied the set at 20’s. Wieczorek, Carr and Harriman denied the Trojans twice more to secure a 25-23 set victory to send the match to the fifth.
Next week, the Waves head to Honolulu to challenge No. 4 Hawai’i on February 24 and 26, with first serve set for 9 p.m. (PT) each night. Follow Pepperdine @PeppVolleyball on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates and head to PepperdineWaves.com for recaps, results and more.