Jan. 20, 2006
MALIBU, Calif. - The third-ranked Pepperdine men's volleyball team dropped game one of its Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match against No. 4 UC Irvine Friday night, but would rally in games two, three and four for the program's 17th consecutive home victory and 11th overall, 3-1 (26-30, 31-29, 30-27, 30-18), in Malibu, Calif.
Pepperdine (3-0, 3-0 MPSF) seemed to be its own worst enemy at the start of the night, hitting just .126 with 11 kills and six errors on 39 swings. But UC Irvine (5-2, 1-1 MPSF) would trail the majority of the match due to seven hitting errors and five service errors. After an Andy Hein kill gave the Waves a 22-20 lead, the Anteaters would rattle off the next six points to take an insurmountable 26-22 lead and more importantly gain momentum at a hostile Firestone Fieldhouse which drew over 1,000 fans for the third time this season.
"I felt like we took care of the ball better as the game went on," commented head coach Marv Dunphy. "As a result of our ball control, I felt like we were able to sideout better. I was really pleased with our blocking tonight."
Game two saw UCI gain the early edge building up a comfortable five-point lead, 16-11, when setter Jonathan Winder took a pass from Jon Grobe and recorded one of his five kills on the night. The play would be followed by a Pepperdine block of Paul Spittle and back-to-back hitting errors by David Smith and a kill from Paul Carroll as the Waves evened the game at 16-all. The Anteaters would regain a three-point edge, 21-18, before a 3-0 Pepperdine run capped by a Carroll ace locked things up at 21-21.
An UCI kill and ace kept Irvine in the lead until consecutive UCI errors and a Carroll kill put Pepperdine ahead, 24-23. The teams would trade points to 29-all with Irvine fighting off the Wave's first game-point try, but the home team would even the match at 1-1 on a errant Matt Webber attack.
Irvine would again grab the early lead in game three only to see the scored dead-locked at 19-19. A John Parfitt kill sent the Waves on a 4-0 run on four consecutive kills by four different players. UCI narrowed the gap to one, 28-27, but a Parfitt kill and a Webber error put the home team in control of the match, 2-1.
After holding a 5-3 lead in game four, Irvine saw Pepperdine embark on a 13-2 run successfully delivering the knockout blow to the visitors.
Carroll's 19 kills led the way for Pepperdine, while Parfitt chipped in with 17 and Grobe added 14. The Waves out-blocked Irvine by an 18.5-5.0 margin with Tom Hulse accounting for 10, while Carroll finished the night with 7 and Grobe and Winder added five.
Irvine was paced by Webber's 20 kills on .228 hitting. Jayson Bablonksy had 14 and Aaron Harrell recorded 11.
The Waves will return to action when the head to Long Beach State for a 7 p.m. (PT) first serve against the 49ers on Thurs., Jan. 26. LBSU ended Pepperdine's 15-match win streak on March 31, 2005, the last time Pepperdine suffered a defeat.