Larsen Lifts Waves to Victory
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Kelley Larsen starred for the Waves with a career high 12 kills and four blocks as the Pepperdine women’s volleyball team defeated New Mexico State 3-1 on day two of the Rams Volleyball Classic.
After a slow start, the Waves dropped the first set to the Aggies 25-16 before taking the final three sets 25-22, 25-23, 25-23. Pepperdine, ranked #12 in the AVCA Coaches Poll, is now 5-2 on the season while New Mexico State falls to 6-2.
Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS), who subbed in midway through the first set, earned her team-leading 12 kills on a .333 hitting percentage. The junior added eight digs and four assists to her well-rounded effort.
Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) not only managed the offense with 42 assists, but was credited with the kill after eight of her nine attacks.
After a one-sided first set that went to New Mexico State, the remainder of the match was an all-out battle. In the final three frames, the score read even 31 times and the lead was exchanged on 14 occasions.
Down 9-11 in the second set, head coach Nina Matthies called for a timeout to give her team a chance to regroup. Although the Aggies extended the lead 11-14, Pepperdine fired back with a 3-0 run to balance the score. The teams continued to vie for the momentum until a Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS) kill put the Waves up 17-16. Pepperdine would not trail again, and Larsen would pound home a kill – her fourth of the set – to clinch the stanza 25-22.
Pepperdine opened the third set with a 14-10 advantage, but New Mexico State would fight back and eventually knot the score at 18. The score would read even three more times before the Waves forced two late Aggie errors to win 25-23.
Larsen once again paced Pepperdine in the game and was credited with five kills.
Up 2-1 with a chance to put away the match in the fourth, the Waves struggled to pull away in the opening half of the frame. Down 14-17, an Aggie service error gave Pepperdine the side out and rotated Larsen to the line. The junior served up the next five points to tip the scales in the Waves’ favor 20-17.
Although the Aggies threatened at the end and erased two match points, Jazmine Orozco (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS/Illinois) tallied her ninth kill of the match to put point No. 25 on the board for the Blue and Orange.
Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) had a solid match, registering 11 kills hitting .308 and adding four blocks on defense.
The backcourt was well defended by Michaela Christiaansen (Tucson, Ariz./Ironwood Ridge HS), who picked up 16 digs.
The Waves wrap action at the Rams Volleyball Classic with a 4 p.m. (PT) match vs. Florida International.