Sept. 1, 2006
MALIBU, Calif. - A very experienced Texas team handed a very young Pepperdine team a 3-1 (33-35, 30-20, 30-27, 30-16) defeat Friday night in Firestone Fieldhouse at the Asics Classic. With the victory, the Longhorns improve to 3-0 on the season, while the Waves fall to 0-3.
Pepperdine got into trouble from the get-go in each of the four games, including game one which saw the Waves spot the Longhorns a 7-3 lead. Behind a balanced attack, Pepperdine was able to pull within one at 8-7, only to see the `Horns build a 17-12 advantage. The lead would reach seven, 20-13, before Pepperdine's offense kicked into high gear. The Waves managed to even the game at 27-all when a Kiah Fiers kill was followed by a pair of Julie Rubenstein kills and a Rachel Lumsden and Cassi Chamberlain block. Texas would burn three game-point tries before a Leticia Armstrong attack error turned the momentum to the home team's favor. The `Horns staved off a pair of the Waves' game-point tries until Kayla Walker and Lumsden recorded consecutive kills to seal the game.
Senior Sophia Milo was unstoppable most of the night, recording 18 kills with two blocks. Of her performance UT head coach Jerritt Elliott said, "[Milo] was wonderful. She is one of the best middle blockers in the game. We tried to do some things with our serving to get them out of rhythm, but when they were in system it was hard to contain her."
Rubenstein checked in with 12 kills.
Texas' greatest asset of the night was its serving. The Longhorns kept the Waves out of system for most of game two and raced away from Pepperdine, leading by as many as 13, 20-7. But Nina Matthies' team had no quit and looked to capture some momentum heading into game three, closing the game to 10 with a 5-2 run.
Game three looked like a repeat of game one. Texas jumped out to a 17-10 lead on Pepperdine but a 9-3 run fueled by a pair of Milo, pulled the Waves within one, 18-17. A Rubenstein block of Ashley Engle completed the comeback, and knotted the score at 20-20. Texas would answer and regain the lead at 27-24 before a 3-1 Pepperdine run made things interesting, 28-27. Dariam Acevedo and Destinee Hooker logged consecutive kills to seal the game and control of the match.
Despite going down 11-4 in game four, Pepperdine strung together a 5-1 run to force Texas into a timeout at 12-9. It would be as close of the Waves would get as the `Horns broke the game open with a 12-3 run out of the stoppage.
Acevado lead all players with 23 kills on .353 hitting, while Armstrong accounted for 22 of the `Horn's 77 total kills on .429 hitting. After being held to just .176 hitting as a team in game one, Texas ended the night hitting at a .321 clip.
The Asics Classic will continue tomorrow morning in Malibu, Calif., when No. 19 Pepperdine takes on Long Island as the first game of the morning session at 10 a.m., Texas will face Cal Poly in the second match. The `Horns will battle the Black Birds at 5 p.m. to open the night session, with Pepperdine and Cal Poly bringing the tournament to a close in the nightcap.