Oct. 13, 2007
(Malibu, CA) - USF volleyball came tantalizingly close to making history, but instead gave in to it, dropping a 3-2 decision 30-24, 21-30, 30-20, 28-30, 15-11 at Pepperdine Saturday afternoon in West Coast Conference action at Firestone Fieldhouse. The Dons (13-8, 2-3 WCC) fall in a five-game match for only the second time in their last 13 opportunities against the Waves (12-5, 4-1 WCC), who found a way beat San Francisco for the 28th straight time, dating back to 1993.
Freshman opposite hitter Sarah Mandala, the reigning WCC Player of the Week recovered from a tough match at LMU Thursday, to enjoy a strong outing against Pepperdine, hammering 17 kills to go along with 10 digs and four blocks. Junior outside hitter Addie Webster also recorded 17 kills on .318 hitting with seven digs and an ace. Junior middle blocker Carly Babin also enjoyed a strong showing for the Green and Gold with 15 kills four blocks (two solo) and three aces.
Pepperdine enjoyed an 80-71 kills advantage, including a 12-4 lead in game five. The Waves won the digs battle 82-70 and took a 11.0-8.5 blocks victory. The Dons once again were their own worst enemy, committing 31 attack errors with 10 each in games one and three, and had nine service errors.
San Francisco trailed 17-9 in game one and never recovered, but bounced back to even the match at one game apiece in the second frame. The Dons broke out of an 8-8 tie with a 12-4 run for a 20-12 lead and cruised from there.
After the intermission, Pepperdine led wire-to-wire in game three, building an insurmountable 19-8 lead and ran away from there. With their backs against the wall, the Dons fought back to force game five with a strong showing in the fourth.
With the score knotted at 25-25, a Webster kill gave the Dons a 26-25 lead, but back-to-back kills from junior outside hitter Julie Rubenstein gave Pepperdine a 27-26 lead. Another Webster kill tied it at 27-27 and following a Waves kill, senior opposite hitter Linzy Kearney tied it up at 28-28 with a kill. Mandala and Kearney teamed up on consecutive blocks to secure the game four win for San Francisco.
USF built an 8-5 lead in the final set and looked to be on their way to the program's first ever victory in Malibu. The Waves had other thoughts. Pepperdine allowed just three Dons points from there, closing on a 10-3 run for the victory, improving its overall series record against USF to 44-1. The Dons hit just .062 with four kills in the finale, while Pepperdine hit .348 with a remarkable 12 kills.
Rubenstein finished with a match-high 24 kills on .351 hitting for the Waves, while Lecca Roberts added 17 kills on .359 attacking. Sophomore setter Kiah Fiers dished out 62 assists to go along with 10 digs and six kills.
USF returns to action when it hosts Gonzaga and Portland to close out the first half of WCC play. The Dons tackle the Bulldogs Thursday, October 18 at 7:00 PM and take on the Pilots Saturday at 1:00 PM with both matches at War Memorial Gym.