No. 3 Pepperdine Defeats No. 8 Long Beach State in MPSF Quarterfinals, 3-1


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MALIBU, Calif. - The No. 3 Pepperdine men's volleyball team used effective blocking and hitting to defeat No. 8 Long Beach State in four games (30-28, 30-25, 23-30, 30-27) in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament quarterfinal match at Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday night.

The second-seeded Waves (21-4) now advance to the MPSF semifinals to face third-seeded Cal State Northridge next Thursday (April 30) at 5 p.m. at UC Irvine. The top-seeded Anteaters will face fifth-seeded USC in the other semifinal at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Despite having 26 fewer kills (78 to 52), the Waves outhit the 49ers, .330 to .297, and outblocked them, 17.5 to 4.0. Long Beach State had 32 attack errors to Pepperdine's 14, and 24 service errors to the Waves' nine. It was Pepperdine's third victory over seventh-seeded Long Beach State in three meetings this season.

Senior opposite Paul Carroll (Forster, Australia), named the MPSF Player of the Year earlier this week, had a team-high 19 kills for the Waves and seven block assists. Sophomore middle blocker Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) had 10 kills, hit .600 (10-1-15) and added a match-high nine block assists. Sophomore outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS) had nine kills and six blocks. Junior middle blocker Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil/BYU) had eight kills and five blocks. Sophomore setter Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) had 44 assists.

Long Beach State got a match-high 30 kills from junior opposite Dean Bittner, but he also had 15 attack errors. He was one of four 49ers in double-figure kills. Jim Baughman knocked down 17 kills, Dan Alexander had 14 and Josh Riley added 10.

"It came down to a couple of balls we were able to dig in game four," Pepperdine Coach Marv Dunphy said. "We were also serving pretty well at the end. We had to do it, because Long Beach was playing really well in games three and four. Kasey did a good job getting the ball to the middles, and distributing it around to our different hitters."

The Waves made a nice comeback to win the first game. Early on, the 49ers scored four straight points on kills by Bittner, Riley, Baughman and Bittner again to jump out to a 6-2 lead. They later increased the lead to five points at 12-7 after an Alexander service ace and a kill by Baughman. The 49ers got off to a tremendous hitting start, with eight kills on their first nine swings. But Pepperdine would eventually tie the game at 18-18 following a LBSU hitting error. When it was tied 20-20, the 49ers committed three straight attack errors, two on Pepperdine blocks that both involved Jaynes. Still, the 49ers would tie the game up again at 26-26 after a kill by Bittner. Tied 27-27, the Waves went ahead by a point after a service error. On the next play, Long Beach's first attack attempt was blocked back and although they retained possession, a couple of 49er players collided, possibly causing libero Dustin Watten to be called for a bad set. That gave Pepperdine a 29-27 lead, and after a Bittner kill, Carroll finished the first game with his eighth kill. Despite LBSU's hot start, the Waves finished with a .407-.351 edge in hitting.

The 49ers' Alexander began the second game with a service ace, but it was all Pepperdine the rest of the way. Jaynes played a key part as the Waves scored the next four points, as he had two kills and was in on two blocks. The Waves had another 3-0 run on three LBSU attack errors (one on a block by Santos and Crider), making the score 9-3. The lead grew to 18-11 after a service ace by Riecks and to 20-12 after Jaynes, Crider and senior outside hitter Matt McKee (Aurora, Ill./Aurora West HS) combined on a block. It was still an eight-point lead at 23-15, and the 49ers wouldn't get any closer than four points the rest of the way. Riecks had five kills as the Waves outhit the 49ers .333 to .195.

Led by a remarkable 12 kills by Bittner, Long Beach State got off to a strong start in the third game and this time there would be no Pepperdine comeback. Though the Waves hit .440, the 49ers were even better at .562. Riley had two service aces and a kill as LBSU scored five straight points to make the score 6-1. Bittner later had a service ace and a kill in a 4-0 run that increased the lead to 12-4. The 49ers kept their lead up around eight points for most of the rest of the game. A late 4-0 Pepperdine run that saw two kills and a block by Santos cut the Waves' deficit to four points at 26-22, but the 49ers ended the game as Alexander and Bittner combined on a block, followed by Bittner recording another kill.

The fourth game had 17 ties and nine lead changes. Both teams had a three-point lead during the first half of the game, but it largely stayed tied through the second half of the game. The final tie was at 27-27. After a Long Beach State service error put the Waves ahead by one, a 49er attack error gave Pepperdine a two-point advantage. On the first match point, Carroll and Jaynes combined on a block to finish the 49ers off. Both teams' hitting cooled off, with the Waves holding a .167 to .156 edge in the fourth game.

Article courtesy of Pepperdine athletics.

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