Nov. 17, 2011
MALIBU, Calif. -- They say `offense wins games, but defense wins championships.'
Well the #18-ranked Pepperdine women's volleyball team relied on a little bit of both to put the "W" in the books tonight versus San Francisco.
Led by Lilla Frederick's (Huntington Beach, Calif./Cornelia Connelly HS) career-high 23 digs and 11 kills, as well as Kim Hill's (Portland, Ore./Portland Christian HS) 21 kills, the Wave topped the Dons in four sets (25-21, 25-16, 21-25, 25-17) to clinch the 2011 West Coast Conference Championship.
It is the 11th league crown in program history, and with it comes the coveted automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The bracket will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. (PT) live on ESPNU.
What does head coach Nina Matthies attribute the win to this evening?
"Perseverance," stated Matthies. "USF played fantastic is a very well coached team. But we found to keep fighting and finish the match."
That `perseverance' was fueled by the defensive effort of the Waves (20-6, 14-1 WCC), who averaged an astounding 21.50 digs/set in tonight's effort, and made it extremely difficult for the San Francisco attackers to find the floor.
In addition to Frederick's 23 digs, Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) picked up 20, while Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) tallied 15.
Hill recorded 13 digs to go along with her match-high 21 kills. Overall, the senior took 48 swings and committed just four errors to finish the night with a .354 clip.
As a team Pepperdine posted a .239 hitting percentage, while San Francisco (15-13, 7-8 WCC) hit for a .128 success rate.
Hadley Simmons was the only player to reach double figures in kills for the Dons with 14. Rebecca Kipilovitch helped out with 16 digs.
Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) paced the floor with seven blocks, while Woolever and Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) both added four.
Although the Dons took a five point lead to open the first set and led the majority of the frame, the Waves kept their composure and took their first lead at 21-20 following a USF attack error. A 4-1 run closed out the first set. Overall, Pepperdine kept themselves in the game with 31 team digs - 12 of which were credited to Robinson.
Hill shouldered the offensive effort with eight kills.
Pepperdine controlled the tempo of the second set with a very well balance performance. Five hitters tallied at least two kills, while Cash assisted on four blocks. With a 19-16 lead, Frederick served the set out and the Waves entered the locker room with a 2-0 lead.
San Francisco avoided the sweep after winning the third stanza, 25-21. Simmons led the charge with five kills.
Defense took over in set four, as the Waves out-dug the Dons 24-16. Hill pounded down six more kills, while it was Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS) who delivered the final put away to clinch the match for Pepperdine.
Adehelm finished the night with eight kills and three blocks.
Woolever managed the offense with 50 assists and helped her own cause with four kills.
Prior to the match, Pepperdine's four seniors, Hill, Frederick, Robinson and Janea Rosell (Los Angles, Calif./ Bishop Montgomery HS) were honors as part of the program's "Senior Day" celebration.
The Waves conclude WCC action this Saturday, when they take on #20 San Diego at 1 p.m. on the road. The regular-season finale is set for next Tuesday, when they tangle with Air Force inside Firestone Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.