April 14, 2007
MALIBU, Calif. - The seven seniors on the Pepperdine men's volleyball team went out winners in the regular-season finale as the top-ranked Waves bettered No. 5 UC Santa Barbara 3-1 (30-24, 30-26, 25-30, 30-25) Saturday night at Firestone Fieldhouse.
With the victory, Pepperdine became the first team in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) history to post 21 conference victories in a single season and end the year 25-1 overall and 21-1 in MSPF play. The 25 wins this season ties the 1985 and 2005 campaigns for second most in program history behind the 29 of 2002.
UC Santa Barbara fell to 19-11 on the year and 14-8 in MPSF matches with the loss and will host the UCLA Bruins on Sat., April 21 in one of three MPSF Tournament quarterfinal matches.
Two of Paul Carroll's match-high three aces came right off the bat in game one as Pepperdine got out to an early 3-1 lead. But UC Santa Barbara answered with a 4-0 run to go ahead 5-3. The set remained evenly matched despite the Waves capitalizing on three Gaucho errors to pull ahead 10-8. Jon Grobe put more distance between the home team and the Gauchos with a kill and consecutive aces that ran the score to 15-11. Santa Barbara pulled within two at 16-14 but that was as close as it would get to regaining the lead as Pepperdine closed out the match with a 4-1 run capped by one of Carroll's team-leading 22 kills.
After being held to four kills and three errors in game one, Santa Barbara's Evan Patak recorded 10 kills with just two errors in game two. Neither team led by more than one point in the early stages of the frame but that changed when Carroll and Tom Hulse teamed up stuff Bryan Berman to start Pepperdine on a 3-0 run and an 18-14 lead. The Gauchos came out of a timeout and scored four of the next fives to close the gap to one, 19-18 but were never able to overcome the Waves who when on to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Patak struck eight more times in game three as Santa Barbara opened up the largest lead of the night for either team, 18-10. Pepperdine quickly closed the gap to just four at 19-15 but was never able to sustain a sizeable run down the stretch as the Gauchos extended the contest to game four.
Pepperdine took control of game four early but Santa Barbara was able to overcome a 14-11 deficit to tie the stanza at 18-all. The two teams split the next six points until the Gauchos went to the well twice two often. Santa Barbara was able to stay in the game despite the Waves' ability to neutralize the Gaucho's outside hitters by giving Pepperdine a heavy dose of Theo Bruner and David Kennedy. But with the Waves leading 22-21, Kenndy was blocked on consecutive attempts and Carroll capped the 4-0 run with a kill, giving Pepperdine a 25-21 lead. Seniors John Parfitt and Hulse put the match in the books when they teamed up to stuff Patak on the Waves' second match-point try.
Gaudino turned in 11 kills on 15 errorless swings to go along with seven blocks, while Carroll led all players with eight blocks. Grobe logged 10 kills and eight errorless kills. J.D. Schleppenbach had nine kills.
Patak's 30 kills led all players. Santa Barbara's middle blocker duo of Bruner and Kennedy added 15 and 12 kills, respectively.