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No. 24 Pepperdine Goes the Distance in 3-2 Loss at No. 4 UCLA

Nov. 21, 2006

UCLA - 3
Pepperdine - 2


MALIBU, Calif. - For the fourth time in as many years, the Pepperdine women's volleyball team and the UCLA Bruins needed five games to decide a winner. The past two it was the road team, Monday night it was the home team as the No. 4-ranked Bruins rallied from a 2-1 deficit to thwart No. 24 Pepperdine's upset bid, 3-2 (30-25, 26-30, 26-30, 30-24, 15-5).

Sophia Milo had 16 kills and four blocks and Rachel Lumsden recorded seven of her match-high 19 kills in game four Monday as Pepperdine saw its seven-match win streak come to an end.

UCLA (27-3) tried its hardest to shake Pepperdine (15-11) right from the start. But the Waves held their own until a Kaitlin Sather kill started a 4-0 run which was capped by a block from Nana Meriwether and Nellie Spicer, giving the home team the 15-11 lead.

Trailing by three, 21-18, Kayla Walker picked up the last of her three game-one kills which was followed by a service ace from Cassi Chamberlain. Meriwether and Ali Daley would team up for a block on the ensuing play to push the lead back to two, 22-20.

Lumsden answered with her second kill of the night, Julie Rubenstein and Milo teamed up to stuff Meriwether and the last of three Waves' aces, this one by Nina Baltimore, gave the Waves their first lead since 5-4 and forced the Bruins into a timeout trailing 23-22.

In a bit of foreshadowing as to what would be a running theme throughout the night, UCLA had someone stand up and take control of the game. Game one was Katie Carter's turn. Carter was part of a triple block before rattling off three straight kills as part of a 5-0 Bruins' run which gave the home team the 27-23 lead reroute to a 1-0 lead in the match.

Rubenstein, who struggled in game one, showed signs of starting to break out in game two, connecting twice as part of a 5-0 run to give Pepperdine a 5-2 lead in game two.

The lead would reach 7-3 before UCLA surged back to take an 11-10 lead.

Out of a timeout, a Lumsden kill and ace was sandwiched between a pair of Bruin miscues and opened the gates to a 6-0 run, and a 16-11 Waves' lead in the game.

Trailing by five, UCLA scored four straight points, two off Meriwether and Spicer blocks, to close the gap to one, 19-18. The Waves would score off a Kiah Fiers kill but another block by Meriwether and Spicer followed a Meriwether kill and the game was tied at 20-20.

The score remained deadlocked until consecutive UCLA miscues started Pepperdine on a 5-2 run for the 27-24 lead. A Lumsden kill set up game point moments later and Fiers delivered on the following play to send the game to the intermission tied at 1.

UCLA scored the first three points of game three, two off Sather aces, but Milo was equal to the challenge banging home consecutive kills to start Pepperdine on a 4-0 run.

Then the Waves committed four straight unforced errors, giving the Bruins back their three-point lead. The lead would reach as many as four after back-to-back aces by Spicer.

Trailing, 13-9, Pepperdine would score seven of the next nine points to force UCLA to burn a timeout, trailing 16-15.

Out of the break the Bruins regained a one-point lead but Rubenstein delivered a kill and an ace to as part of a 3-0 run that put Pepperdine up 19-17.

Chamberlain and Carter traded the next four kills before a 4-0 Pepperdine run pushed the Waves lead to five, 26-21. UCLA answered with a 5-1 run to close within one but Milo would not be denied, connecting on three straight attempts to give Pepperdine a 2-1 lead in the match.

Lost in game three was the fact that Meriwether had started to heat up and in game four she continued to find her rhythm.

Pepperdine jumped out to the early 4-2 lead only to see UCLA score six unanswered. Pepperdine would cut the lead down to two on two different occasions. But a 7-1 run by the Bruins pushed the lead to eight, 20-12 before UCLA sent the match to a fifth, and final, game.

Pepperdine struck first in the fifth frame as Walker recorded her eighth kill of the night. Meriwether answered. Milo kept the lead in the Waves' favor on the ensuing play but Daly, Meriwether and Carter notched consecutive kills at which point the Bruins began a sprint to the finish line, a sprint Pepperdine was unable to keep up with.

Jordan Smith, who had recorded just five serves in the match through the first four games, toed the line and served the final seven points of the game as Pepperdine was unable to sideout down the stretch.

Meriwether finished the night with a team-high 18 kills on .361 hitting and added 11 blocks, despite being held in check during games one and two. Carter recorded 15 kills and Daly and Sather finished with 13 apiece.

Pepperdine will wrap up the 2006 regular season Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. PT when it hosts Dayton.