Sept. 2, 2006
MALIBU, Calif. - Senior middle blocker Sophia Milo wouldn't let No. 19 Pepperdine's rally from down 2-1 fall short Saturday night against Cal Poly in the final match of the Asics Classic at Firestone Fieldhouse. To add to her career-high 21 kills, Milo recorded a solo block of Kylie Atherstone on the Waves' lone match point.
A week ago, the Waves (2-3) dropped a pair of matches to No. 7 Hawaii, both in five games and both after going past the minimum 15 points. Tonight it didn't look as if Pepperdine would need more than 15 after consecutive Milo kills were followed by a Rachel Lumsden kill and a 4-1 lead. Cal Poly (5-1) fought back to take a 6-5 lead but a Kayla Walker and Cassi Chamberlain block gave Pepperdine the 8-7 advantage at the switch. Atherstone knotted the score at 8-8 to set up Chelsea Hayes' second ace of the night and a 9-8 lead. The two teams traded points to 11-all when a Lumsden kill was followed by an Ashleigh Bertoni hitting error. A pair of untimely Pepperdine miscues were followed by Atherstone's 19th kill of the night, giving the Mustangs match-point. Atherstone would serve into the net and follow with an attack error to set up Milo's second solo block of the night.
Pepperdine's 3-2 (26-30, 30-20, 26-30, 30-22, 16-14) victory created a three-way tie for the tournament championship as Cal Poly and Texas also posted 2-1 records in Malibu, Calif., over the weekend.
It is the first defeat of the season for the Mustangs who earlier in the day defeated No. 8 Texas by a 3-2 score.
All-tournament team member Alicia Waller opened the night by recording six of Cal Poly's 17 kills in game one, the third of which capped a 4-0 Mustangs' run giving the visitors a 13-8 edge. Pepperdine would fall by as many as five, 20-15, before three Milo kills cut the lead to one, 23-22. Still leading by one, 27-26, Cal Poly scored the final three points to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
After battling to a 14-14 stalemate in game two, the Waves used a 4-0 run to take control of the game. Cal Poly used a 3-1 run to cut into the home team's advantage, 20-18, but the second Walker kill of the set opened the flood gates as Pepperdine closed out the game on a 10-2 run. For the game, the Waves hit at a season-high .406 clip, recording 16 kills with just three errors.
The third game was a battle of runs. The Mustangs struck first with a 5-0 run to take a 12-7 lead. A 5-1 Pepperdine run pulled the Waves to within two at 16-14 before Cal Poly regained its advantage with a 6-3 spurt. Behind a pair of Milo blocks - one with Lumsden and one with Walker - the Waves evened the game at 22-all. Then Atherstone began to heat up and recorded three of her six kills in the game as part of an 8-4 run that gave Cal Poly a 2-1 lead in the match.
With a sense of urgency, Pepperdine jumped out early on the Mustangs in game four. The opportunistic Waves used three Cal Poly attack errors and three Julie Rubenstein kills to build an 11-6 lead. Following the last of Chamberlain's career-high six aces, the Waves held a 14-8 lead. Cal Poly would cut the lead down to three at 15-12, but it would be as close as the visitors would get in the game.
Milo led four Waves in double-digit kills, with Rubenstein finishing the night with 16 and Lumsden and Walker each recording 10. Kekai Crabbe broke Christina Hinds' 2004 single-match dig mark by two with 35.
Pepperdine will next be in action Friday night in Berkeley, Calif., as the team competes in the Golden Bear Invitational. The Waves are scheduled to face American, Colorado State and No. 17 Cal while in Northern California.