Waves Clinch Postseason Berth on Senior Night
Pepperdine ends the home portion of the season on a high note, and clinches a quarterfinal appearance in the MPSF Tournament.
April 7, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. - The sixth-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team secured a spot in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament with a 3-0 victory against #11 UC San Diego on Senior Night.
The Waves improve to 14-12 overall, and 9-11 in MPSF action. The team is guaranteed to finish in the top eight in the league, and is currently sitting in a tie for sixth place with Long Beach State.
A strong defensive showing proved to be the difference maker in tonight’s three-set sweep (25-23, 25-19, 25-21). In his final appearance inside Firestone Fieldhouse, senior Matt Pollock (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg HS) paced the match with seven blocks, and added five kills on the offensive end.
Maurice Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) earned a match-high 14 kills. The junior had a bit of a rocky start, committing five attack errors in the opening frame, but more than made up for it in the subsequent sets. Torres was a perfect 6-for-6 in the second frame, and tallied seven more kills on eight swings in the third to finish the night hitting .381 (14-6-21).
Senior Chase Ross (Carlsbad, Calif./Carlsbad HS) added eight kills in his final home curtain call, along with four blocks and an ace.
Overall, the Waves out-blocked the Tritons (8-18, 6-15 MPSF) 14-4. Both Torres and Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany HS) contributed five blocks apiece.
Equally impressive was Pepperdine’s performance at the service line. The Waves high-velocity serving kept UCSD out of system for much of the evening. In addition, the team tied a season low and committed just five serving errors.
In set one, both teams fought diligently for the momentum as evidence by the 11 tie scores six lead exchanges. Down 17-19, the Waves scored four unanswered points with kills by Tarantino and Ross, a block by Torres and a Triton attack error. Although UCSD was able to knot the score at 21, a Ross kill and back-to-back tandem blocks courtesy of Torres and Scott Rhein (Pleasant View, Tenn./Aaron Academy) gave Pepperdine set point. Although the Tritons were able to put two more points up on the board, a service error gave the home team the 25-23 win.
The Waves fired on all cylinders in the second stanza, posting 5.5 blocks and registering a .462 hitting percentage. UC San Diego was unable to counter, earning no blocks and maintaining a.267 clip. Up 23-18, Torres tallied kills No. 5 and No. 6 of the set to put Pepperdine up 2-0.
Although the Tritons held a small lead in the opening points of the third set, the Waves overcame the disadvantage at 10-9 following a Ross service ace. Pepperdine never looked back and protected the lead the remainder of the match. Tarantino terminated the final ball to clinch the set 25-21 and give the Waves just their second home sweep of the season.
Prior to the match, the team’s five graduating players were recognized. Along with Pollock and Ross, Doug Astor (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill HS/Orange Coast), Joel Lopata (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield HS) and Brandt Ng (Orinda, Calif./Bentley HS) were presented with framed photos by head coach Marv Dunphy.
Pepperdine concludes the regular season next week with road contests at Cal State Northridge (April 12) and Long Beach State (April 14).