Men's Volleyball Falls Short to UC Irvine in Four Sets
Weston Barnes was solid in the back row with 10 digs and 45 successful service receptions with only one error.
HIGHLIGHTS | FINAL STATS
MALIBU, Calif.: – The 8th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team posted a hard-fought battle against 5th-ranked UC Irvine this Saturday night in Firestone Fieldhouse, falling just short in the comeback effort for a 3-1 Anteater win. UCI collected 25-18, 25-22, 28-30 and 28-26 final set scores to garner the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation victory.
Pepperdin (8-10, 6-9 MPSF) posted a .290 success rate on the offensive with 45 kills on 107 swings, compared to the .407 output with 78 kills on 145 attempts from UC Irvine (16-6, 10-5 MPSF) throughout the match. The Waves led the night with 8.5 blocks, opposed to the Anteaters 6.0 team blocks. Each side tallied three service aces, with UCI added 29 service errors on the night.
Redshirt-sophomore David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) led the effort with 14 kills on a .345 hitting percentage. He added six digs and 12 service receptions. Freshman Noah Dyer (San Clemente, Calif./Saddleback Valley Christian HS) also hit for double-figure kills with 10, and added two blocks, three digs and 11 receptions.
Junior Weston Barnes (Laguna Beach, Calif./Laguna Beach HS) commanded the back row with a team-high 10 digs, while also posting 45 successful service receptions with only one charted receiving error against the tough-serving Anteaters.
Senior Mitchell Penning (St. Louis, Mo./Westminster Christian HS) led Pepperdine at the net with six blocks and also produced five kills on a .455 output and one ace. Sophomore Michael Wexter (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) added eight kills, six digs and five blocks including one solo rejection.
Senior Soren Dion-Kindem (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura HS) led the squad with 31 assists and junior Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) was good to tie his career-high seven kills on a .333 success rate.
Senior Max States (Honolulu, Hawai’i/Solimar Academy) came in off the bench to serve, tabbing two aces to help the Waves’ effort.
UC Irvine broke out to an 8-3 lead early in the set, but kills from four-separate Waves and a block collaboration from Penning and Wexter tied things up 10-10. UCI went on another run, posting a 21-15 advantage and a lead that Pepperdine would be unable to overcome as the Anteaters’ attack efforts resulted in a 25-18 set win.
The second set stayed close throughout, with each side amassing 6-6, 11-11 and 18-18 tied scores before the opposition broke ahead 21-18. A kill from Wexter and back-to-back blocks from Penning, Wexter and Dyer helped the Waves close the gap 22-23, but UCI took control en route to a 25-22 second set win for the 2-0 advantage.
The third set was a nail-biter from start to finish as each team once again worked through 5-5, 10-10, 15-15 and 20-20 tied scores. The Waves worked ahead, 22-20, but the opposition rallied. Long rallies and grit on each side had the score reach an eventual 28-28 tie score in the sets final moments. Pepperdine worked through three match-point opportunities for UCI and on the Waves’ third set-point opening, tabbed back-to-back kills courtesy of Carr and Wexter for the 30-28 set win to extend the match to a fourth.
The fourth set would go extra points as well after the Waves and Anteaters posted 10-10 and 20-20 tie scores on the board yet again. Pepperdine battled against three more match-point chances for the opposition, fighting through with kills from Dyer and Wieczorek before the Anteaters would shut the set down 28-26 for the 3-1 match-win.
The Waves will close out home action in Firestone Fieldhouse on March 30 against UC San Diego. Follow Pepperdine @PeppVolleyball on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates and head to PepperdineWaves.com for recaps, results and more.