Clean Sweep for the Waves on Opening Day

Victoria Adelhelm

March 8, 2014

MALIBU, Calif. – The #1-ranked Pepperdine sand volleyball team made quite the statement on opening day, shutting out both Cal State Northridge and USC. The Waves first swept the Matadors, newcomers to sand volleyball in 2014, before topping the #2-ranked Trojans 5-0.

Pepperdine, now 36-1 all time, won nine of the day’s 10 matches in straight sets.

The Waves opened the 2014 season vs. CSUN, coming off a narrow 3-2 loss to #6 UCLA on Thursday.

Emily Cook (Huntington Beach, Calif./Murrieta Valley HS) and Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) got the Waves rolling, disposing of Jullie Haake and Steffi Miller 21-9, 21-6.

At No. 3, Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) and Delaney Knudsen (Valencia, Calif./Valencia HS) topped Casey Hinger and Marissa Boyd 21-10, 21-6.

Pepperdine continued its dominance, winning in straights sets at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5.

2013 AVCA Sand All-American Lara Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif./Redondo Union HS/Nebraska) and 2013 AVCA Indoor All-American Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS/UCLA) got the bid to play No. 1. The duo earned their first win of the season with a 21-7, 21-12 rout over Mahina Haina and Natalie Allen.

Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) teamed up with Sophie Asprey (Southlake, Texas/Liberty Christian School/Tulane) at No. 5 for a straight-set victory. Messing was credited with seven blocks and six aces, while Asprey picked up 12 digs.

The Racich Sisters, Caitlin and Taylor (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS), secured the sweep for the Waves at No. 2. Although Taylor had a minor scare when she got caught up in the boundary line while in pursuit of a ball, the sophomore was soon up and back at it to help older sister Caitlin put away a 21-11, 21-16 decision against Kelcie Randazzo and Sydney Gedryn.

After USC defeated the Matadors 5-0, the #1 Waves were back on the courts for a showdown with #2 USC.

Pepperdine proved it was deserving of its top ranking and posted its second shutout of the day.

Cook and Messing, 15-4 as a pair in 2013, got their first win together in 2014 with a 21-13, 21-11 triumph over Bria Russ and Brooke Fournier. The Trojans had no answer for Messing, who produced 22 kills, five blocks and pair of aces.

Dykstra and Strehlow earned a convincing win over USC’s No. 1 duo comprised of 2013 AVCA Pairs National Champion Kirby Burnham and top sand recruit Sara Hughes. The Wave tandem opened the match with a 21-17 win in the first before closing out the second set on an 8-5 run for the 21-14 victory.

At No. 2, Larsen and Knudsen clinched the dual for Pepperdine, ousting Kelly Claes and Alexa Strange 21-18, 21-15.

Racich and Racich put Pepperdine in front 4-0 with their second-straight set win of the day, this time playing in the No. 3 slot.

The final match of the day featured an exciting come-from-behind finish to secure the sweep for the Waves. Asprey and Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS) rebounded from a 21-15 loss in the first to Allie Wheeler and Nicolette Martin to win 21-16 in the second.

Asprey and Adelhelm fell behind early in the deciding third frame, 3-7, but pieced together an 8-2 run to take over the lead. It was then Wheeler and Martins turn to make a run, and the Trojans found themselves ahead at match point 14-12.

Refusing to settle for anything less than the team sweep, Asprey and Adelhelm dug deep and fought off match point three times before the score fell in their favor 16-15.

Adelhelm threw the roof on to put things away 17-15 and tally the Waves’ fifth point of the day.

Next up for Pepperdine is the USAV Collegiate Challenge at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. on March 14-16. In addition to the Waves, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Bakersfield, Grand Canyon and Hawaii will be in attendance. For more information, visit the tournament’s website.

Dual | #1 Pepperdine 5, Cal State Northridge 0
March 8, 2014 | Malibu, Calif. (Zuma Beach)
No. 1  Lara Dykstra/Becca Strehlow (PEP) def. Mahina Haina/Natalie Allen (CSUN) 21-7, 21-12
No. 2  Caitlin Racich/Taylor Racich (PEP) def. Kelcie Randazzo/Sydney Gedryn (CSUN) 21-11, 21-16
No. 3  Kelley Larsen/Delaney Knudsen (PEP) def. Casey Hinger/Marissa Boyd (CSUN) 21-10, 21-6
No. 4  Emily Cook/Samantha Cash (PEP) def. Julie Haake/Steffi Miller (CSUN) 21-9, 21-6
No. 5 Sophie Asprey/Katie Messing (PEP) def.  Alia Casino/Rachel Diaz (CSUN) 21-10, 21-12

Dual | #2 USC 5, Cal State Northridge 0
March 8, 2014 | Malibu, Calif. (Zuma Beach)
No. 1  Sara Hughes/Kirby Burnham (USC) def. Mahina Haina/Natalie Allen (CSUN) 21-11, 21-11
No. 2  Kelly Claes/Alexa Strange (USC) def.  Casey Hinger/Marissa Boyd (CSUN) 21-11, 21-17
No. 3  Natasa Siljkovic/Sam Hirschmann (USC)  def. Sam Kaul/Brooke Dawson (CSUN) 21-6, 21-7
No. 4  Eve Ettinger/Brooke Fournier (USC) def.  Kelcie Randazzo/Stephanie Serna (CSUN) 21-5, 21-8
No. 5 Bria Russ/Allie Wheeler (USC) def.  Julie Haake/Steffi Miller (CSUN) 21-12, 21-17

Dual | #1 Pepperdine, #2 USC
March 8, 2014 | Malibu, Calif. (Zuma Beach)
No. 1  Lara Dykstra/Becca Strehlow (PEP) def. Sara Hughes/Kirby Burnham (USC) 21-17, 21-14
No. 2  Kelley Larsen/Delaney Knudsen (PEP) def. Kelly Claes/Alexa Strange (USC) 21-18, 21-15
No. 3  Caitlin Racich/Taylor Racich (PEP) def. Natasa Siljkovic/Sam Hirschmann (USC)  21-16, 21-15
No. 4  Emily Cook/Katie Messing (PEP) def. Bria Russ/Brooke Fournier (USC) 21-13, 21-11 
No. 5 Victoria Adelhelm/Sophie Asprey (PEP) def. Nicolette Martin/Allie Wheeler (USC) 15-21, 21-16, 17-15



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