Waves Win Pepperdine Asics Classic With Down-to-the-Wire Victory Over Arizona
Jazmine Orozco paces Waves' offense with 21 kills in a thrilling five-set win.
Sept. 1, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. – The #13 Pepperdine women’s volleyball team put the finishing touches on a spectacular weekend with a 3-2 triumph over Arizona to win the Asics’ Classic. Victoria Adelhelm was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Although the Waves (4-1) took a commanding two set lead, the Wildcats (3-2) came back and nearly escaped Firestone Fieldhouse with a five-set victory. Down 10-12 in the fifth frame, Pepperdine scored five unanswered points to clinch the win. Final set scores were 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 20-25, 15-12.
Adelhelm was virtually unstoppable all weekend, and did not commit a single attack error in three matches. The senior was credited with 24 total kills on 39 attacks for a .615 clip.
Tonight alone versus Arizona, Adelhelm scored 14.5 points off of 12 kills, three blocks and an ace.
Orozco paced the Waves with a season-high 21 kills while hitting .341 (21 kills-7 errors-41 attempts). Messing captured her first-ever double-double with 13 kills and career-high 15 digs.
Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) effectively managed the offense with 54 assists to help the Waves to an overall hitting percentage of .228 (73-28-197). The junior was just as brilliant on defense with 25 digs – just one shy of her career best.
Michaela Christiaansen (Tucson, Ariz./Ironwood Ridge HS) picked up 17 digs in the match to bring her weekend total to 36.
Orozco and Christiaansen both received all-tournament honors.
The two teams battled for control in the opening points of the match. Although an Orozco back-row attack was blocked back by the Wildcats, superb block coverage by the Waves kept the ball alive. Messing was able to lace down the kill to prompt an Arizona timeout at 8-4. The Wildcats continued to hang around, however, and knotted the score back up at 9-9. Messing proceeded to pound home a kill with authority for the sideout followed by back-to-back Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) aces to regain a three-point lead.
The Waves maintained the advantage the duration of the stanza, and won 25-20. Orozco paved the way with six kills, followed by Messing with five.
An exuberant student section fueled the Waves, and Racich and Adelhelm roofed the first Arizona attack to begin set two. Another ‘return to sender,’ this time courtesy of Racich and Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy), gave Pepperdine a 5-2 lead and forced the Wildcats to use their first timeout. A marathon rally, one which Messing soundly defended the backcourt with three digs, ended with a well-placed tip shot from Woolever to give the Waves a 10-5 advantage and prompt Arizona to use its second timeout of the frame.
Although the Wildcats hung around and never let the set get away, the Waves never relinquished the lead. At set point, 24-23, Messing went cross court to put the clincher on the board and send Pepperdine into the locker room with a two set lead.
Orozco once again had six kills in the game, while Missing and Christiaansen picked up five and seven digs, respectively.
The Wildcats came out hot in the third set, and recorded two-straight service aces to take a 2-0 lead. The Waves quickly regained control, however, piecing together a 5-1 run. From there, Pepperdine began to struggle to put the ball away and the Cats took full advantage. Trailing 14-17, the visiting squad went on an 11-3 run to win its first set of the contest.
The momentum carried over into the fourth set, and Arizona scored seven consecutive points to claim a 9-4 advantage. Although the Waves kept the score close the entire frame, they were hindered by a low .077 hitting percentage. Tied at 19, the Wildcats overtook the lead once and for all after a Taylor Arizobal ace and put the set away 25-20.
The teams battled back-and-forth in the determining fifth set until a mini Arizona run put the score in its favor, 10-8. Halli Amaro and Arizobal came up with a block to extend the lead to three, before Racich threw down a kill and an ace in successive points to get the Waves within one, 10-11. A Cash kill off the slide attack evened it out at 12 and a kill courtesy of Orozco gave the home squad the go-ahead point. A brilliant Messing dig, followed by a well-placed put away by Racich brought the score to match point and a Wildcat attack error sealed the deal.
Racich finished the night with eight kills, three aces, eight digs and pair of blocks. Woolever helped her cause with eight kills of her own.
Madi Kingdon and Chanel Brown of Arizona, as well as Call State Fullerton’s Bre Moreland were all named to the all-tournament team.
Next up, the Waves take on #24 Colorado State, New Mexico State and Florida International next weekend, Sept. 7-8, at the Rams Volleyball Classic.