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Pepperdine Holds off Feisty UCSB for 3-1 Victory

April 13, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - It wasn't easy, and at times it wasn't pretty, but the Pepperdine men's volleyball team held off No. 7-ranked UC Santa Barbara, 3-1 (30-26, 30-27, 27-30, 30-27), at Robertson's Gym in Santa Barabara, Calif., Wednesday night.

Andy Hein paced an efficient Pepperdine (20-2, 19-2 MPSF) attack, recording 14 kills while hitting at a .684 clip and blocked nine balls. Sean Rooney added 24 kills for the Waves (.413), while John Mayer finished the night with 14 (.417) and John Parfitt banged home 13. As a team, Pepperdine hit .417 and outblocked UCSB 14-10.

The Gauchos (14-13, 12-9 MPSF) got 27 kills from Evan Patak and 10 from Michael Kennedy in the losing effort.

Game one started as if Pepperdine would run away with the game. After leading by scores of 6-3 and 8-5, the Waves would embark on a 9-2 run pushing the lead to 10 at 17-7. UCSB fought back with a 6-2 run of its own, a run which included a pair of service aces. For the match, UCSB connected on eight aces to Pepperdine's two. The lead would shrink to just four at 22-18 following a 5-1 Gaucho spurt. Pepperdine would get the lead back to seven at 26-19 following a Mayer kill. But Santa Barbara would not be finished yet. A 6-1 UCSB run trimmed the lead to two, 27-25, before the Waves closed out the game with a 3-1 run. In the win, Pepperdine recorded four blocks and limited UCSB to just .061 hitting.

Leading by three at 10-7, UCSB traded points with Pepperdine until a Wave attack error gave the Gauchos a four-point edge at 19-15. Out of a Pepperdine timeout, the Waves scored four of the next five points to force Santa Barbara into a timeout. The two teams traded the next six points before a Rooney kill gave the Waves their first lead of the game since 4-3. All told, Pepperdine would out score UCSB 10-4 following its timeout to take control of the game. The Waves would record 19 kills in the game and only commit two errors to hit .459.

Pepperdine looked like it would complete the sweep in convincing fashion getting out to a 14-8 lead in game three. UCSB had other ideas as it went on a 10-3 run to take its first lead of the game at 18-17. A Hein and Rooney block would give Pepperdine the lead back at 21-20. Patak would serve back-to-back aces, his 50 and 51st of the season in giving UCSB the 23-21 lead. It would be a lead the Gauchos never relinquished.

Game four would see Pepperdine get out to a fast start. Leading 7-4 after a 4-0 run, the Waves found themselves up by just one at 14-13. Out of a Pepperdine timeout, the team would score seven of the next eight points build up a seven-point lead, 21-14.

The Wave lead would reach nine at 25-16.

That is when Pepperdine suffered its biggest breakdown of the season. With Adam Ulfers at the service line for the Gauchos, UCSB would score the next seven points to bring the game to 25-23, Pepperdine. A Rooney kill stopped the run but the lead would fall to just one at 26-25 following a pair of UCSB kills. Parfitt's final kill of the night started a 5-2 Wave run to close out the game and the match.

With the win, Pepperdine earns at least a share of the MPSF title. The Waves will attempt to capture the conference title outright when it closes out the 2005 regular season Friday night at Cal State Northridge. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (PT) against the Matadors.