Big Defensive Effort Leads No. 9 Waves to 3-1 Win at No. 8 Stanford
Michael Wexter tabbed his first career double-double with 15 kills and a career-best 12 digs.
PALO ALTO, Calif.: – The 9th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team commanded the court at Burnham Pavilion this Saturday night, defeating 8th-ranked Mountain Pacific Sports Federation competitors Stanford 3-1 with 25-23, 25-19, 20-25 and 25-13 final set scores.
The Waves (8-9, 6-8 MPSF) out-blocked the Cardinal (11-10, 6-8 MPSF) with 15.5 team blocks to Stanford’s 8.0, allowing the opposition only a .128 hitting percentage on the night. Pepperdine was also solid on the attack effort with a .301 success rate after posting 47 kills and only 16 errors on 103 swings.
Sophomore Michael Wexter (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) and redshirt-sophomore David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) led the team with 15 kills apiece. Wexter garnered his first career double-double with a career-best 12 digs along with his kill output. He posted a .429 hitting percentage with 28 swings and added four blocks and two aces for the Waves. Wieczorek finished the night with a .367 success rate on his 30 swings, while producing seven blocks and six digs in an all-around effort.
Junior Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) led the squad with eight blocks and freshman Noah Dyer (San Clemente, Calif./Saddleback Valley Christian HS) tabbed 11 kills on a .348 attack output as well as seven digs and two blocks.
Senior Joshua Stewart (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep/Pacific) led Pepperdine with 41 assists and added four blocks, including one solo rejection, three digs, two kills and an ace. Junior Weston Barnes (Laguna Beach, Calif./Laguna Beach HS) picked up eight digs and senior Mitchell Penning (St. Louis, Mo./Westminster Christian HS) produced four blocks as well.
Stanford began the night with a 9-5 advantage early, but Pepperdine quickly closed the gap after a strong service effort from Wexter and a big solo block by Dyer to make it a 10-10 set. The opposition then picked up another lead 14-11, with the Waves working point-for-point to always stay within striking distance. The Cardinal had a 23-21 lead late in the set, but back-to-back smashes by Wexter and a block collaboration from Wieczorek and Carr tied the set. Pepperdine continued with the momentum and a final kill from Wieczorek and a forced Stanford attack error earned the Waves a 25-23 set win.
With the advantage heading into the second set, the Waves were fueled up after an early 6-6 tie and broke away with an 8-3 run to lengthen the gap. The Cardinal brought the deficit within two at the 18-16 mark, but Pepperdine continued to hold the lead throughout the remainder of the set. After a 20-19 lead late in the set, the Waves used the energy to propel forward with kills from Wexter and Dyer. The team sealed the second set win with near back-to-back triple-blocks from Wieczorek, Penning and Stewart, 25-19.
The third set was close throughout, but the home court advantage aided Stanford. After a 17-17 tie, the Cardinal worked forward en route to a 25-20 win to make it a 2-1 match.
Pepperdine absolutely commanded the fourth and final set. After bursting out to an 11-6 lead early with the help of Carr, Wexter and Carr, Wieczorek blocks and a four smashes from Wexter. The Waves continued to post several quick uncontested runs and back-to-back aces from Wexter put the team’s advantage at 20-9 late in the match. To win the match, Wieczorek and Carr collaborated on another block effort and then followed it up with a kill apiece to win the set 25-13 and the match 3-1.
Next up for the Waves will be UC Irvine on March 25 at 7 p.m. in Firestone Fieldhouse. Follow Pepperdine @PeppVolleyball on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates and head to PepperdineWaves.com for recaps, results and more.