Waves Crash Portland, 3-1

Jazmine Orozco

Sept. 22, 2012

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MALIBU, Calif. - With her fifth consecutive kills-digs double-double, Jazmine Orozco led the #14 Pepperdine women’s volleyball team to a 3-1 triumph over the visiting Portland Pilots inside Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.

The Waves, who won by set scores of 25-22, 25-22, 16-25, 25-14, improve to 10-4 on the season including a perfect 3-0 when playing at home. In West Coast Conference matches, which just started this past Thursday, Pepperdine is 1-1.

Earlier this week, the Waves suffered a tough 3-0 loss to BYU in Provo, Utah to open the conference season, but were able to regroup and turn things around today versus the Pilots.

“BYU was tough. But we knew they were a really good team, and I think it was good to start out the conference season with a challenge,” said Orozco (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS/Illinois) after the match.

“We got right back to it after that one, and practiced right after we got off the plane and just went hard, and realized we can’t take any matches off. We just need to keep pushing. Portland is a good team. They put up a big block and challenged us in some areas where we were weak so it was a great win for us today.”

Orozco registered her seventh double-double of the season today with 14 kills and 14 digs.  Additionally, she has reached double digits in kills in all but two matches in 2012.

Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) had a spectacular day for the Waves with 15 kills earned on a career-high .481 (15 kills-2 errors-27 attempts) hitting percentage. The freshman also picked up six digs and a pair of blocks in today’s effort.

Middle blocker Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian) was a threat on both offense and defense. The senior tallied 11 kills while hitting .391 (11-2-23) and was credited with a match-best six blocks.

Overall, the Waves overpowered the Pilots (6-9, 0-1 WCC) 60-47 in the kills column, and hit .269 (60-21-145) overall. Portland finished the match with a .200 (47-22-125) clip.

The Pilots started out hot in the first set, and cruised to a 10-3 lead after Lexi Dempsey handed out three consecutive service aces. The Waves slowly but surely chipped away at the deficit, and strung together a 10-4 run to come back within one, 18-19. Portland sided out to go back up by two, but the Waves scored on seven of the next nine plays to clinch the first frame 25-22.

Racich and Orozco fueled the offense with five kills apiece, while Adelhelm powered the defensive side with three roofs.

Pepperdine controlled the rhythm of set two, until Portland made a late surge that threatened the Waves’ stronghold on the lead. Up 23-14, the Pilots scored eight-straight points to put the score at 23-22. Monica Jordan served up a gem that Orozco misplaced, and it appeared as though Jordan would get the ace. As the ball sailed towards the back of the gym, Racich ran the ball down to keep the play alive and Michaela Christiaansen (Tucson, Arizona/Ironwood Ridge) sent the ball over the net from the end of the Waves’ bench. Portland’s Rachel Femling’s attack attempt was promptly returned by Adelhelm and Orozco to turn the tables and give Pepperdine set point. Racich finished the job with a kill to give the Waves the 25-22 win and a 2-0 lead heading into intermission.

The Pilots avoided the sweep with a strong showing in the third stanza. The visitors hit .345 (12-2-29) in the frame, while limiting the home team to a lackluster .098 (13-9-41) clip. Autumn Wedan pounded home her fifth kill in six tries to put the set away 25-16.

The Waves closed the door on the comeback in the fourth, and never trailed from start to finish. Pepperdine sided out 73-percent of the time, while Portland struggled and managed just a 43-percent side out rate. Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) sealed the victory 25-14 for the Waves with her ninth kill of the match.

Christiaansen defended the floor with a match-high 16 digs. Emily Cook (Huntington Beach, Calif./Murrieta Valley HS) returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the season opener, and handed in seven kills and seven digs.

The Waves head north next week for road matches at Saint Mary’s (Sept. 27) and Santa Clara (Sept. 29). The next home match is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 6 vs. San Diego.



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