Waves Win in Tanner's Pepperdine Coaching Debut
Sophomore Jillian Bergeson leads Waves with seven kills, 12 digs and three aces in season-opening victory.
MALIBU, Calif. - A well-rounded effort by the Pepperdine women's volleyball led the Waves to a 3-0 victory over South Alabama to give first-year head coach Troy Tanner a win in his Pepperdine debut. The Waves, led tonight offensively by Jillian Bergeson and Becca Strehlow, continue action at their own Asics Classic on Saturday.
The Pepperdine Asics Classic opened late afternoon with Nevada topping Oral Roberts 3-0.
Bergeson (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood HS) and Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) both sent seven kills to the floor to pace the Waves in the 25-22, 25-23, 25-17 triumph.
Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) and Gaby Palmeri (Davis, Calif./St. Francis HS) followed with six kills apiece, while Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) scored 8.0 points behind a career-high four aces, four blocks and a pair of kills.
Pepperdine impressed from the service line versus the Jaguars with 11 aces as a team - just one shy of breaking into the top-five in the program record book. Bergeson followed Cash with three aces, Strehlow added two and Messing and Katie Lespier (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach HS) were both credited with one.
"All-in-all I thought we played well tonight," said Tanner after the match. "I thought we were good at the right times. I'm looking forward to mixing it up again tomorrow. Oral Roberts and Nevada are good teams with physical girls and we will be put to the challenge."
All four of Pepperdine's head coaches since the program began in 1975 - Patti Bright, Gary Sato, Nina Matthies and now Tanner -- have won in their Firestone Fieldhouse debut.
Overall, the Waves hit at a .227 (31 kills-9 errors-97 attempts) success rate while limiting South Alabama to a .107 (37-26-103) clip. Mechell Daniel led the match with 11 kills.
Strehlow and Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz./Valley Christian HS/Arizona) shared setting duties with 14 and 11 assists, respectively. Bergeson not only paced the offense, but the defense as well with 12 digs.
Although the Jaguars came out hot and built a 17-11 lead in set one, the Waves chipped away at the deficit point-by-point and eventually knotted the frame up at 19-all. Both sides battled fiercely to control the tempo, but in the end attack errors cost the visitors and Pepperdine prevailed 25-22.
The Waves, with just three attack errors, hit .194 in the set, compared to USA's 11 errors and a .027 clip.
Cash served Pepperdine to a 6-1 lead in set two, with three aces in six turns at the line. South Alabama threatened a comeback, but Tanner successfully iced the server with his timeout to make it 17-14 in favor of the home squad.
Pepperdine surged forward, taking set point at 24-19 following a Messing kill. The Jaguars went on a 4-0 run, but Palmeri squashed it with a cross-court put away from the outside pin to clinch the set.
Both teams vied for control in set three, but a 4-0 run late in the stanza gave the Waves an 18-14 advantage. The break was all Pepperdine needed and the home team rolled with the momentum to secure the sweep, 25-17.
Action at in Malibu continues on Saturday. The Waves face Nevada at 12 p.m. inside Firestone Fieldhouse and conclude the Pepperdine Asics Classic with a 7 p.m. contest versus Oral Roberts. Fans can watch both matches live and for free online, via WaveCasts.