Pepperdine Falls in Four to USC
March 21, 2013
LOS ANGELES – Despite a match-high 21 kills out of Maurice Torres, the #3 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team could not overcome #15 USC’s strong serving performance and bowed out 3-1.
Final set scores were 19-25, 25-19, 27-25, 25-18.
Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) led all hitters with 21 kills while hitting a solid .351 (21 kills-8 errors-37 attempts). Josh Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) followed with 12 kills.
The Trojans (5-13, 5-13 MPSF) controlled the tempo of the match with 12 service aces, compared to the Waves’ six. Setter Micah Christenson was credited with five alone and also managed the offense with 32 assists.
Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) handed out 38 assists, leading the Waves (12-7, 11-7 MPSF) to a .273 (42-18-88) clip.
Overall, USC hit .290 (33-13-69).
The Waves and Trojans fought fiercely for control in the opening plays of set one. Down 11-12, Pepperdine scored three points in succession to force USC to call a timeout. The Waves gained some more separation, 17-13, after Ryan Plueger (Los Angeles, Calif./Harvard-Westlake) dug a ball that appeared destined for the floor. The save provided a second-chance opportunity that Scott Rhein (Pleasant View, Tenn./Aaron Academy) capitalized on with a kill. The visiting team continued to control the offensive tempo and with back-to-back Torres aces, Pepperdine put the set away 25-19.
The Trojans found their stride in set two and jumped out to a 15-8 advantage. Although a late Waves push narrowed the gap to five, 19-24, USC sided out to win 25-19 and tie the match up at one set apiece.
Pepperdine brought the energy up a notch in the third frame and went ahead 7-2. USC erased the deficit, 15-14, but a timely Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS)-Torres roof followed by an attack error forced the home team to call a time out 17-14. The Trojans continued to hang around, however, and tied the score up at 19. All even at 25, Christianson – the 2012 MPSF Freshman of the Year – served up an ace to give USC match point and the Trojans put the set away 27-25.
USC continued to set the tempo with excellent serving in the fourth frame, and with six aces, took a 16-11 lead. The Waves came back within three, 13-16, but the Trojans continued to sideout at a high clip to clinch the set and the match 25-18
Next week, Pepperdine faces both BYU and Cal Baptist on the road. The Waves and Cougars play in Provo, Utah on Thursday, March 28, followed by a match in Riverside, Calif. versus the Lancers on Saturday, March 30.