Women's Volleyball Earns 3-1 Victory Over Gonzaga
Taylor Racich paces Waves' offense with 15 kills while hitting .419.
Sept. 28, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. – The Pepperdine women’s volleyball team wrapped this week’s road swing with 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-16) win over Gonzaga. Three Waves reached double digits in kills including Taylor Racich, Katie Messing and Kelley Larsen.
With the win today, in addition to Thursday’s 3-2 triumph at Portland, Pepperdine has fought its way back to 2-2 in West Coast Conference play and 8-4 overall.
After a bit of a slow start, the Waves steadily improved the rest of the match and finished the afternoon hitting .257 (57 kills-21 errors-140 attempts). The Bulldogs countered with just a .104 (48-32-154) success rate on the attack.
The Waves’ defense at the net did a sound job forcing Gonzaga errors with 12 total blocks.
Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) led all defenders with a career-high six blocks. The senior was firing on all cylinders today and also collected her fifth double-double of the year with 12 kills and 13 digs.
Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) sent home a team-high 15 kills, while Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) also landed a double-double with 14 kills and 11 digs.
Savannah Blinn did most of the scoring for her team with 21 kills and four blocks.
Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) quarterbacked the offense with 44 assists and 12 digs.
The first set was a closely fought battle from start to finish, but tied a 22, Gonzaga (5-8, 1-3 WCC) managed to score on back-to-back points to take set point. Although Pepperdine got a point back off of a Strehlow kill, the Bulldogs sided out on the next ball to win 25-23.
Set two nearly mirrored the first, and the two teams continued to go almost point-for-point with one another. This time it was the Waves’ turn to make a crucial run in the end points. Knotted at 23, Strehlow sent a kill to the floor which opened the door for Messing to clinch the set 25-23 with another put away.
Although the third stanza was close in the first half of the frame, Pepperdine took a commanding lead after a 5-1 run put the Waves ahead 21-17. From there, it was just a matter of siding out their way to victory. Emma Fuzie (Carmel, Calif./Carmel HS), making her second start in as many matches, was credited with a block and a kill in the final points to secure the set 25-19.
Pepperdine controlled the rhythm in the fourth, jumping out to a 15-10 lead and never looking back. Led by six kills courtesy of Messing, the Waves won 25-16.
Jillian Bergeson (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood HS) led the match with 16 digs. Fuzie finished the afternoon with six kills and four blocks, three of which came in the pivotal set three.
Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) added five blocks in today’s four set effort.
A crucial week is in store for the Waves upon their return to Malibu, with home matches against BYU and #9 San Diego. Pepperdine opens the week on Thursday, Oct. 3 with an 8 p.m. match vs. the Cougars, which will air live on ESPNU. The Cougars are 9-3 this season, and have yet to lose in conference play after sweeping the Toreros, ranked #2 at the time, last week in Provo, Utah.
Pepperdine finishes the week on Saturday, Oct. 5 against San Diego. Although the Toreros are just 1-2 in WCC action, with losses vs. BYU and Saint Mary’s, they also have a handful of noteworthy wins. USD defeated then-#11 Hawaii in Honolulu during the first weekend of the season, and then-#1 USC in San Diego a couple weeks ago. The match can be watch live and for free via WaveCasts, available at PepperdineSports.com.