Waves Open NCAA Tournament Play With 3-0 Sweep Vs. Missouri State
Pepperdine and North Carolina tangle at 7 p.m. Friday evening for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
Dec. 1, 2011
MALIBU, Calif. – The #18-ranked Pepperdine women’s volleyball team opened the 2011 NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 sweep against Missouri State on Thursday evening inside Firestone Fieldhouse. The Waves continue second-round action at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 against North Carolina.
The winner of tomorrow night’s match advances to the Honolulu Regional on Dec. 9-10
The Waves (23-6) hit a .302 hitting percentage while holding the Bears (22-9) to a .139 clip. Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif./Cornelia Connelly HS) led all hitters with 11 kills and was just one pick up shy of the double-double with nine digs.
2011 West Coach Conference Player of the Year Kim Hill (Portland, Ore./Portland Christian HS) followed with 10 kills, six digs and three blocks.
Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS) was responsible for several key points during the match, and tallied nine kills and five blocks.
“I know from watching film and from watching Missouri State that they are a very good, physical team,” said head coach Nina Matthies following the match. “We have been practicing since Sunday and then watching the Cal-UNC game in front of us that went five sets, we were ready to play. I told the kids that this would be the hardest one, getting the first couple out of the way. I thought the team responded really well and we stuck to our game plan tonight. I was really proud of the entire team.”
On the Missouri State side of the net, Calli Norman paced the Bears with eight kills while Ashley Mason collected 17 digs.
Pepperdine got off to a fast start, fueled by three kills and two blocks by Adelhelm to give the Waves a 5-1 advantage. The Bears found their rhythm, however, and fought back to tie the score at 10. The Waves responded with an 8-2 run to take back control and went onto win the first frame 25-22. Hill led all hitters with five kills on 10 errorless swings.
The second frame opened with a tandem block courtesy of Hill and Adelhelm, and the Waves never relinquished the lead the remainder of the stanza. Pepperdine won the set 25-21 and took a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
Missouri State fought the Waves points-for-point in set three until four consecutive points scored by the home team forced MSU to take a timeout. Although the Bears tallied a kill coming out of the break, Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) answered for Pepperdine with one of her five put aways.
It was all Waves from there, as they built a lead as large as 11 before clinching the match 25-16 on a Hill kill.
WCC Freshman of the Year Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) recorded nine kills, four alone coming in the third set, on 18 errorless swings.
Defensive specialist Michaela Christiansen (Tucson, Ariz./Ironwood Ridge HS) delivered a quality performance with 11 digs. Woolever did the same on defense, while managing the offense with 37 assists.
Pepperdine is now 15-20 in NCAA Tournament play, including 8-1 at home. Of the four previous seasons the Waves have hosted the first and second rounds, they have advanced to the Sweet 16 three times.
“I thought the crowds from all four teams were very good,” said Matthies of the atmosphere inside Firestone Fieldhouse. “Our students were great tonight. It is fun to be at home and be able to go forward.
“I have talked all year long about a culture change. We have been working so hard in the weight room, so hard in the gym and we have been so focused on winning this conference and postseason. We have told the kids that they are living their dream, what they have worked for so let’s not let it slip away. I want them to enjoy the fruits of their hard work and their labor. You need to enjoy winning because you don’t know when that opportunity will come around again. I want them to stay loose and be Waves and play like Waves.”
The Waves tangle with the Tar Heels (24-8), who upset #10 California in five sets in the first match of the night, during tomorrow evening’s second-round contest. First serve is schedule for 7 p.m. on Friday inside Firestone Fieldhouse. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, or by calling (866) WAVE-TIX.
“North Carolina plays with a lot of emotion,” commented Matthies. “They have a couple big hitters and are a big, physical team. They were tenacious and kept playing until the end tonight (versus Cal). They are a very well-coached team. I love Joe Sagula. He is a wonderful coach and a wonderful man and he has a great team and has a great program there.”
“There’s a lot on the line, and it’s going to be a good match tomorrow night.”