April 27, 2006
IRVINE, Calif. - Pepperdine's season likely came to a halting end Thursday night as the Waves suffered a 3-0 (30-26, 30-28, 30-23) sweep by the UCLA Bruins in the first of two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) semifinal matches at the Bren Center in Irvine, Calif. The loss was the first against the Bruins in the last five meetings.
Pepperdine (17-8) received a match-high 21 kills from junior John Parfitt (Anaheim Hills, Calif.), 12 from freshman Paul Carroll (Forster, Australia) and nine from senior Andy Hein (Carroll Stream, Ill.) but was unable to come up with the big plays when it needed them.
UCLA (23-12) won the serve/receive battle with seven aces to the Waves' one and as a result never allowed Pepperdine to get its offense into a rhythm, resulting in 12.5 to eight block advantage. Paul George led the Bruins with 16 kills, while Nick Scheftic added 14 and Damien Scott and Steve Klosterman chipped in with 10 each. As a team, the Bruins hit .379 for the match.
The Bruins opened up a five-point lead early in game one forcing the Waves into a timeout, trailing 12-7. UCLA would maintain its advantage until the latter stages of the game when a Carroll kill started Pepperdine on an 8-2 run, tying the game at 23-all. But the Waves were unable to complete the comeback as they scored just three more points in the frame.
Game two saw the Waves jump out to the quick lead and after consecutive UCLA attack errors were followed by a Carroll kill, the Bruins called for a timeout, trailing 7-4. Off of a Bruin attack error, Pepperdine held its largest lead of the night, 15-11. The Bruins fought back to knot the score at 16-16 and would take the lead for good on a kill by Russell. Trailing 28-26, a Carroll ace--Pepperdine's only ace of the night--was followed by a Parfitt kill and a Bruin attack error to pull Pepperdine within one, 29-28. On the ensuing play, Scott gave the No. 7 seed a 2-0 lead in the match.
UCLA took control of game three early gaining an 8-5 lead. A Parfitt kill capped a 4-2 Wave run, bringing the score to 10-9, but that would be as close as the Waves would get as the Bruins scored the next four points en route to advancing to Saturday's championship match against either Long Beach State or UC Irvine.
With the loss, Pepperdine is a long shot to receive the lone at-large berth into next week's NCAA Men's Volleyball Championships held in State College, Penn.