Waves' Upset Bid Stopped Short, BYU Wins 3-2
Kelley Larsen tied a career high with 19 kills vs. the Cougars.
Nov. 2, 2013
PROVO, Utah – The Pepperdine women’s volleyball team threatened to end BYU’s 23-match win streak at home, but the Cougars prevailed in five sets 15-25, 17-25, 25-23, 25-16,15-8 to extend the streak to 24 consecutive wins inside Smith Fieldhouse. Despite the loss, three Waves reached double figures in kills including Kelley Larsen, Katie Messing and Taylor Racich.
Pepperdine took a 2-0 lead thanks in part to rock-solid ball control, but #21-ranked BYU found its block game midway through the contest to improve to 19-4 and 12-1 in West Coast Conference action. The Waves fall to 11-10 and 5-8 in league play.
Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS) tied a career high with 19 kills and added 11 digs for the double-double. Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) also earned the double-double with 17 kills and 13 digs.
Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) was the third Pepperdine player to finish in double figures with 14 kills.
The defense was led by Jillian Bergeson (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood HS) with 20 digs.
Freshman middle blocker Brooke Honeycutt (Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista HS) set a new personal record at the net with eight total blocks.
Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) added six blocks at the net, while dishing 50 assists on the offensive end.
Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) made her return to the lineup after a three match absence with five kills and a pair of blocks.
Alexa Gray paced BYU with 16 kills followed by Tambre Haddock with 14. Kathryn LeCheminant was a wall at the net with a match-best 11 blocks.
The Waves got the early jump on the Cougars, taking a 13-8 lead to prompt a BYU timeout. Pepperdine continued to dominate the tempo and extended the advantage to 18-9 after back-to-back kills by Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) and Larsen. Another Cougar hitting error gave Pepperdine a double-digit lead before the home squad was able to sideout. The lead would remain unchallenged, however, and the Waves rolled to victory, 25-15.
Larsen was unstoppable, nailing down six kills on nine attempts with just one error. Overall, Pepperdine hit at a .351 (17-4-37) clip in set one, while limiting BYU to just a .071 (7-5-28) hitting percentage.
Set two picked up right where the first left off, and Pepperdine climbed ahead 5-2. Although BYU narrowed the gap to one, 6-5, the Waves pushed forward to extend the lead to 9-5 following back-to-back Cougar errors.
A tandem block by Honeycutt and Racich gave Pepperdine a 10-5 lead, but a 3-0 run threatened to swing the momentum in favor of BYU. The Waves squashed the run with three consecutive points of their own and never let trailed the remainder of the frame. Messing gave the Waves set point with a kill – her fifth of the stanza – and another BYU error put the stanza away 25-17.
BYU finally found a bit of rhythm in the third frame, taking a 3-1 lead off of two-straight blocks by Whitney Young and Camry Godfrey. Pepperdine continued to play aggressive though and the score remained close throughout. Tied at 18, Gray nailed down two kills in succession, followed by a Wave attack error to give the Cougars their biggest lead of the match, 21-18.
Strehlow and Larsen nailed down kills to force BYU to call a time out, but Gray came out of the break with another putaway. Larsen struck again and Gray swung wide to knot the score at 22.
The Waves took the lead after Honeycutt and Strehlow threw the roof on but BYU closed out the set with three-straight points to take the frame 25-23.
The Cougars ran with the momentum in the fourth and led late, 17-13. Pepperdine got kills out of Larsen, Messing and Racich to come back within one, but the BYU block took over to put the set away 25-16. The Cougars finished the stanza with six total team rejections.
The Waves unfortunately were never able to find their rhythm back, and fell behind 8-3 in the deciding set. Everything seemed to fall in the Cougar’s favor as they went on to win 15-8.
BYU’s 24 match win streak at home dates back to the 2011 season. The last time the Cougars lost at home was on Nov. 17, 2011 when Gonzaga got the upper hand 3-1. The Waves were also victorious inside Smith Fieldhouse that season, 3-1.
Pepperdine returns to Firestone Fieldhouse on Thursday, Nov. 7 when they host Saint Mary’s at 7 p.m. The match can be watched live via WaveCasts.