March 29, 2007
MALIBU, Calif. - The top-ranked Pepperdine Waves secured their seventh 20-win season since 1998 Thursday night with a 3-1 (28-30, 30-26, 30-25, 30-21) victory over the No. 4-ranked UCLA Bruins in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) clash at Firestone Fieldhouse before 1,303 fans.
Pepperdine (20-1, 16-1 MPSF) was led by Paul Carroll's 18 kills and two aces. Jon Grobe chipped in with 15 kills on .519 hitting and J.D. Schleppenbach added 11 on .500 hitting. Jonathan Winder recorded his second double-double of the season with a 50-assist, 11-dig performance.
UCLA (14-10, 9-9 MPSF) received a match-high 22 kills from Steve Klosterman. Paul George finished the night with 13 kills and Brett Perrine had 10 for the Bruins.
The Bruins opened the match by outscoring Pepperdine 10-5. The Waves were unable to close the gap for most of the set as the two teams traded sideouts until consecutive George kills upped the visitor's advantage to seven 21-14. Trailing 24-18, Pepperdine went on a 3-0 run sparked by a Schleppenbach kill. Klosterman ended the streak only to have a Greg Gaudino kill start another 3-0 run to pull the home team within one, 25-24. UCLA scored back-to-back points to take a 28-25 lead only to see John Parfitt pull the home team back within one 28-27. But that would be as close as the Waves would get before falling in a hole for the second straight match.
Pepperdine built on the momentum it had gained in the latter stages of game one and led 17-9 midway through game two. There was nothing flashy about the Waves' building or maintaining their lead only efficiency, recording 19 kills with just two hitting error. UCLA never mounted any charge at the Pepperdine lead until fighting off three game-point attempts after trailing 29-23.
Game three was tightly-contested much of the way. UCLA picked up the early advantage with a 3-0 run, making the score 7-4 following a Klosterman kill. Pepperdine answered with a Schleppenbach kill and a block from Schleppenbach and Gaudino to cut the gap to one. The Waves finally tied the score at 13-all on a Carroll kill and took their first lead on the ensuing Tom Hulse ace. The score remained knotted until a Klosterman service error was followed by a Grobe kill, giving Pepperdine an 18-16 advantage. The Bruins used a 2-0 run, quickly evening the score at 18-all. With frame locked at 20-20, Pepperdine used a 7-3 run to pick up the advantage it needed in building a 2-1 lead in the match.
A frustrated UCLA team took the floor in game four, committing six errors that directly led to a 9-5 lead in the frame. The Bruins called a timeout at which point George began yelling at his team seemingly in an effort to pump up the squad. Out of stoppage Hulse recorded a service error. The miscue would prove harmless as the next five Bruin attacks were all errors forcing a second timeout at which point the senior tried to fire his team up once again, this time trailing 14-6. UCLA matched Pepperdine almost point-for-point the remainder of the way but it was too-little, too-late as the Waves matched the program's single-season win streak of 17 straight.
The Waves will continue their homestand Saturday night at 7 p.m. PDT as they host No. 2 UC Irvine. Pepperdine is 3-0 this season in battles of No. 1 versus No. 2, having been the second-ranked team in each of the contests.