Jan. 14, 2006
MALIBU, Calif. - Third-ranked Pepperdine trailed 18.5-12.5 in blocks when all was said and done, but the defending national champion Waves got the biggest three blocks of the game as Pepperdine held off a feisty Pacific team, 3-1 (30-23, 30-20, 26-30, 32-30), Saturday night at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.
In what would prove to be a nip-and-tuck battle during game four of the Waves and Tigers' Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) clash, Pepperdine (2-0, 2-0 MPSF) took what seemed to be a comfortable lead at 25-21 off one of Pacific's (1-4, 0-2 MPSF) 28 attack errors on the night. But the Tigers refused to go away and evened the game at 27-27. John Parfitt's 17th kill of the night regained the lead for the home team. A Pacific kill followed by a Matt Cornel service ace put the Tigers up and serving for the match, 29-28.
That is when the sophomore setter from Irvine, Calif., took over.
"I just didn't want to lose that game," said Jonathan Winder.
The 2005 AVCA Newcomer of the Year solo blocked a Simon Chen-Byerley attack forcing the 18th tie of the game at 29-all. Pacific was able to sideout and was again serving for the game up 30-29. Andreas Baboulidis' ensuing serve sailed just long knotting the game up at 30-30. With Tom Hulse at the service line, Pacific's Pekka Seppanen tried his luck one-on-one against Winder only to see the 6-8 setter turn back his attack and on the final play of the night Winder received help from Jon Grobe and Eric Liebert in stuffing a final Seppanen blast preserving Pepperdine's 16th consecutive home victory.
"I was pleased with the way we were able to receive serve and sideout tonight," commented head coach Marv Dunphy. "I thought we maybe could have blocked a little better tonight tough."
Freshman Paul Carroll led all players with 21 kills on the night, while Parfitt's 17, Grobe's 14 and Hulse' 12 rounded out Pepperdine's leaders in the match. Winder registered 64 assists with eight blocks in leading the Waves to a .354 hitting percentage.
Baboulidis recorded a Pacific team high of 14 kills and was followed by Matt Cornel's 12 and Seppanen's 11.
After 24 points Pepperdine and Pacific were knotted at 12-all in game three when a 3-0 Tiger run gave the visitors a 15-12 advantage. The Waves would manage to cut the deficit to one, 26-25 off a Pacific hitting error, but that would be as close as Pepperdine would get before falling in the game.
The Waves took advantage of numerous Pacific miscues in games one and two to gain a 2-0 lead in the match. Pepperdine hit at a .273 clip in game one and a .533 mark in game two to the Tiger's .077 and .139.
Pepperdine will return to action on Fri., Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. (PT) when it hosts UC Irvine at Firestone Fieldhouse.