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No. 24 Pepperdine Thwarts Dayton Upset Bid, 3-2

Nov. 22, 2006

MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine Waves felt like they needed a victory to solidify their place in the NCAA Championship Tournament next weekend. The Dayton Flyers were feeling the pressure to pick up a victory as well having just lost in their conference tournament championship.

Freshman Kiah Fiers recorded a triple-double with 10 kills, 61 assists and 13 digs, Rachel Lumsden recorded a career-high 20 digs to go along with 18 kills and Kekai Crabbe broke her own school record for digs in a match. But it almost wasn't enough as Dayton (22-10) rallied from two games down before falling to Pepperdine (16-11) 3-2 (31-29, 30-22, 30-32, 22-30, 15-11) Wednesday night in the Waves season finale.

"I told my team earlier this week `everyone is playing for the NCAA tournament. No one is going to lay down for us the rest of the season'," Nina Matties said. "Just like we were the underdog against UCLA a couple of nights ago, Dayton was the underdog tonight and they were trying to pick us off."

It took a while for Pepperdine to get into the match, although they never let Dayton get further than arm's reach in game one.

Robynne Green, Jamie-Lee Richards and Nicole Bateman turned in four kills apiece in game one, a game the Flyers would lead by as many as four. But Pepperdine was able to string a pair of 3-0 runs together, the latter knotting the set at 13-13.

Dayton would maintain its lead despite Pepperdine tying the score on eight occasions, the final time at 29-all off a Nina Baltimore ace. On the ensuing play, Faye Barhorst was blocked by Sophia Milo and Rachel Rubenstein, giving Pepperdine its first lead in the game. Rubenstein would drive home her third kill of the game on the next play as Pepperdine took a 1-0 lead in the match.

Pepperdine used the momentum from game one's victory to jump out to an 11-6 lead in game two, doing its damage from all aspects, kills, blocks and aces. Rubenstein recorded seven kills in the game as part of her 18 on the night and Cassi Chamberlain and Lumsden sealed Dayton's fate with a kill apiece and a block down the stretch as the Waves took a 2-0 lead into the intermission.

Game three got off to the worst start possible for Dayton when the team was issued a yellow card for delay of game coming out of the locker room between the two games resulting in a Pepperdine point. Following a block by Rubenstein and Milo, the lead had reached five, 7-2.

The Waves continued to impose their will on Dayton, building a seeming insurmountable 17-10 lead. Pepperdine answered the Flyers point-for-point until Richards toed the service line trailing 22-16.

Richards' first serve resulted in a Pepperdine attack error. Her second serve was an ace. She recorded a kill on the third serve and an ace on her fourth. An attack error by the Waves closed the gap to just one, 22-21 and Richards continued to pound out serves, dealing aces on the next two for Dayton's first lead of the game.

The run came to an end on an error and Pepperdine calmly recorded the next two points off a block and a Lumsden ace for the 25-23 lead. An ace by Baltimore moments later kept the lead in the Waves' favor 28-25. Consecutive Dayton kills cut the gap back down to one, 28-27, but Milo gave Pepperdine match-point with her ninth kill of the night.

Dayton fought off the first match-point try with a kill and a Pepperdine miscue followed by a Flyers' block turned the tide on the Waves as Dayton was serving for the game, leading 30-29. Lumsden tied the score at 30-30 but Dayton would score the next two points to send the game to a fourth set.

Dayton continued its torrid serving in game four and kept Pepperdine out of system much of the time. The Flyers were flying high during the set and hit .385 for the game with 16 kills to just one error. Pepperdine wasn't bad in the game, hitting .244 with 19 kills, but could never mount a run at Dayton as the match went to a fifth game.

Dayton struck first in game five but this time Pepperdine responded by scoring four of the next five points for a 4-2 lead. A kill from Richards, a pair of aces by Mandy Robbe and a kill by Green regained the lead for the visitors, 7-5.

Fiers answered with consecutive kills and Rubenstein picked up her lone ace at a timely spot and Pepperdine held an 8-7 lead at the switch. Richards tied the game on the next play but a 3-0 run by the Waves would prove to be too much to over come for Dayton as Pepperdine pulled off the 15-11 win.

Chamberlain ended the night with 14 kills on .458 hitting and six blocks and Milo checked in with 13 kills and six blocks for Pepperdine as five Waves reached double-digits in kills.

Dayton was paced by Richards' 19 kills and Bateman's 16. Green added 14 and Chauntay Mickens quietly finished the night with 10.

Pepperdine will now await the NCAA Tournament Selection show to see if the program will receive a 18th tournament berth. The show is scheduled to air between 12-12:30 p.m. PT on ESPNews.