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Waves Down 49ers in Five Game Thriller

Jan. 27, 2005

MALIBU, Calif. - In a match where high kill totals were the norm, no kill was bigger than freshman Jonathan Winder's dump on Pepperdine's second match point as it fell untouched to the floor at Firestone Fieldhouse giving the Waves a dramatic 30-28, 26-30, 33-31, 30-32, 16-14 victory over fifth-ranked Long Beach State Thursday night in Malibu, Calif.

Pepperdine (4-1, 4-1 MPSF) fell behind 8-7 as the teams switched ends of the court in the fifth and final game. The last of Andy Hein's career-high 16 kills even the game at 8-8 but Long Beach State (5-3, 3-2 MPSF) rattled off the next three points, taking a commanding 11-8 lead. A Tyler Caldwell serve sailed just long and was followed by a Winder ace and back-to-back blocks from Tom Hulse and John Mayer as Pepperdine regained the lead 12-11. The teams traded sideouts until 14-all when a John Parfitt attack found the floor and was followed by Winders play at the net.

"Tonight's match really gives us confidence, knowing that we can fight back when we are down," commented Parfitt whose team-leading 23 kills established a new career-high. "It proved that we can comeback when we are down but obviously we don't want to play that like every night."

The 49ers forced the fifth frame by claiming game four, a game dominated early by the Waves. Pepperdine used a 5-1 run to build up a three-point advantage, 9-6. But LBSU would string together five consecutive points and take its first lead in the game, 15-12. A Mayer kill again evened the game up, this time at 17-all before another Long Beach run, this time 4-1 burst, gave the 49ers the 20-17 advantage. The Waves would score six of the next eight points to take back the lead at 24-23. The teams traded points until LBSU was able to score a natural point and gain the 29-28 edge. Sean Rooney connected on the next point, evening things at 29-each. But Long Beach would use a 3-1 run to close out the game.

All told, four Waves finished the night with double-digit kill totals, led by Parfitt's 23. Rooney chipped in 22, while Hien and Mayer logged 16 and 13, respectively. Rooney tacked on 10 blocks for his second double-double. Hulse led all Pepperdine players with 11 blocks.

Yassir Sliti led all players with 24 kills, 10 of which came in the opening game. Robert Tarr added 21 for the 49ers, with Nathan Hagstrom and Duncan Budinger finishing the game with 18 and 13, respectively.

Game three seemed to he the turning point in the match as neither team was able to hold more than a two-point edge. The lead changed hands eight times leading up to a 25-25 stalemate. Rooney connected on a kill and teamed up with Hulse on a block to push the Waves up by two, 27-25. LBSU was sparked by a Budinger kill and put together a 4-0 run setting up two game-point opportunities. The Waves fought off the first game point on a Sliti service error. A Rooney kill followed as the game was again tied up, this time at 29-all. Winder was called for a double-contact on the ensuing play giving the 49ers their third game-point try. Again Rooney was equal to the challenge only to miss on a service attempt for a fourth LBSU game-point try. This time it was Parfitt who evened the game up. The Anaheim Hills, Calif., native was good a second time on the following point setting up a Mayer, Hein block to seal win and give Pepperdine the 2-games-to-one advantage.

After Pepperdine fought back to even game two at 26-26, Long Beach used a 4-0 run to even the match up at 1-1. The first game of the night saw the Waves build a three-point lead a 25-22 and hold off a late 49er surge for the win.

There will be little time to celebrate as Pepperdine returns to the court Friday for a 7:00 p.m. first serve against UC San Diego at Firestone Fieldhouse.