No. 8 Men's Volleyball Falls 3-2 at No. 5 UC Irvine
The Waves will travel to No. 4 Hawai'i for the first round of the MPSF Tournament on April 15.
IRVINE, Calif.: – The 8th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team posted a valiant effort against 5th-ranked UC Irvine at the Bren Events Center on Saturday night, falling in five-sets to end the 2017 regular season with a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation loss.
The Waves (10-11, 8-10 MPSF) won the first set 29-27 before dropping the next two 19-25 and 18-25. After securing a 25-21 set four win to send the match to the fifth, but were unable to close the door on UC Irvine (19-6, 13-5 MPSF) as the Anteaters amassed a 17-15 set five win to end the night.
Pepperdine amassed a .256 hitting percentage on the night with 53 kills, three aces and 12.0 team blocks, compared to UC Irvine’s .354 success rate with 74 kills, seven aces and 9.0 team blocks.
With the match tied 2-2, the opposition started the fifth set strong with a 7-3 lead early on. The Waves rallied back and brought the deficit to one-point at the 9-8 mark with a kill from redshirt-sophomore David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy), an ace from senior Mitchell Penning (St. Louis, Mo./Westminster Christian HS) and a block collaboration from junior Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) and Wieczorek.
Pepperdine tied the set at 13’s and had the match-point advantage at the 14-13 mark, but a strong attack by the Anteaters flipped the switch and eventually the home team garnered the 17-15 set win to shut the Waves down 3-2 on the night.
Wieczorek led the Waves with 19 kills on a .256 success rate, while adding three blocks including one solo and eight digs. Senior Soren Dion-Kindem (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura HS) also tabbed his fifth career double-double with 46 assists and 10 digs, while also amassing four blocks including one solo rejection and two kills.
Carr posted a team-high five block assists and Penning was good for eight kills on a solid .636 hitting percentage, along with one ace and four blocks including a solo block.
Sophomore Michael Wexter (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) tabbed eight kills, four digs and one ace, and freshman Noah Dyer (San Clemente, Calif./Saddleback Christian Academy) tallied 10 kills on a .360 clip with six digs and four block assists.
The Waves jumped out of the starting gate early in set one, picking up a 7-3 lead and maintaining an advantage throughout until the final moments of the set. The opposition tied things up 19-19 and each side continued to exchanged points en route to a 25-25 tie to send the set to extra points. After the 27-27 mark, a Eater service error followed by a smash from Wieczorek put the Waves up 1-0 on the day.
UC Irvine bounced back in sets two and three to pick up 25-19 and 25-18 set wins for the lead.
With the match on the line in the fourth, the Waves came out strong offensively, amassing multiple kills from Wieczorek and junior Colby Harriman (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit HS) helped the Waves pull ahead 18-15. With the momentum on the Waves side, Pepperdine continued to pound down on the opposition with smashes from Penning, Dyer and Wieczorek to win the set 25-21 and send the match to the fifth.
After ending regular season tonight, the Waves will head into postseason with the MPSF quarterfinal match-up set for April 15 against No. 4 Hawai’i. Find official start times on PepperdineWaves.com. Follow Pepperdine @PeppVolleyball on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates and head to PepperdineWaves.com for recaps, results and more.