Pepperdine improved to 23-3 and extended their season-high winning streak to 13 matches dating back to a four-game setback at No. 5 USC on October 16. The site of Pepperdine's third round match will not be determined until Monday, but, if the seeds hold, the Waves will likely be headed to Lincoln, Nebraska, for a date against No. 7 Florida.
Florida posted a 30-23, 31-29, 30-26 win over intrastate rival Florida International on Friday night in Gainesville. The Gators, 27-1, have won 25 straight matches since being swept by No. 4 Arizona in Gainesville on September 1.
The Waves and Gators have played only one time previously, with Pepperdine recorded a three-game sweep in Gainesville last season. Pepperdine rallied from a 24-21 deficit to win the all-important first game. With the score knotted at 26-26, the Waves won four of the next five points to take the early lead. In game two, Pepperdine bolted out to a 22-14 advantage only to see the Tar Heels scramble back to within one point at 23-22. The Waves steadied themselves and captured the game 30-26.
The third game was nip-and-tuck early with Pepperdine maintaining a 19-18 advantage before using a late spurt to win going away 30-23. Sophomore outside hitter Katie Wilkins, the West Coast Conference "Player of the Year," recorded a match-high total of 18 kills to pace Pepperdine. Junior middle blocker Stacy Rouwenhorst added 17 kills, while sophomore middle blocker Lyndsey Hache' contributed 11 kills.
Pepperdine notched a .291 team attack percentage and limited North Carolina to a .205 team attack mark. The Waves totaled 74 digs, including 16 each by junior setter Paola Rodriguez and senior outside hitter Melissa Snow.
"The first two games could have gone either way," said Pepperdine head coach Nina Matthies. "But, to our credit, we have pushed through hard matches all year long. I like how our young kids, our freshmen and sophomores, responded and settled back down and competed."