No. 5 Pepperdine Falls to No. 13 Hawai'i


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Malibur, Calif. - The No. 5 Pepperdine men's volleyball team rallied from a 2-0 deficit against No. 13 Hawaii to send the match to a fifth game, but the Warriors eked out a 3-2 victory (30-26, 30-23, 26-30, 23-30, 15-13) on Saturday night in the regular-season finale at Firestone Fieldhouse.

It was a starkly different match between the two schools from the previous night, when the Waves bested the Warriors in three games, 31-29, 30-25, 30-17, on Friday.

The loss cost the Waves (13-10, 12-10) the opportunity to claim the No. 4 seed and host a first-round Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament match next weekend. Instead, the Waves are the No. 5 seed and play at No. 4-seed UCLA next weekend.

This was the season finale for the Warriors (11-16, 8-14).

Junior opposite Paul Carroll (Forster, Australia) had match highs of 27 kills and five service aces. Junior outside hitter J.D. Schleppenbach (Ventura, Calif./Ventura HS) added 16 kills for the Waves. Senior setter Jonathan Winder (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge HS) had 53 assists, seven digs and six kills.

Hawaii freshman outside hitter Joshua Walker had 18 kills, while senior opposite Jacob Schkud had 17 and junior outside hitter Sean Carney had 15.

A night after hitting a season-high .537, the Waves were held to a .241 hitting percentage. Hawaii hit .243 tonight.

Carney had two kills as the Warriors jumped out to a 4-0 lead in game one. Hawaii went up by five points at 12-7 after a Wave attack error and six points at 25-19 after another Carney kill. Though the Waves came back from a 26-22 game one deficit against the Warriors on Friday night, there was no comeback in game one tonight. Carney and Walker each had five kills as Hawaii hit .281 to Pepperdine's .100.

Pepperdine junior outside hitter Matt McKee (Aurora, Ill./Aurora West HS) recorded the first two kills of game two to help the Waves off to a good start. Pepperdine led by three points at 11-8 after two straight kills by Schleppenbach and the Waves still led at 18-17. But kills by Walker and Schkud and a block by freshman setter Nejc Zemljak and sophomore middle blocker Steven Grgas led to a 3-0 run that put Hawaii up 20-18. The Warriors built as much as a six-point lead, first at 27-21, and went on to a 2-0 lead. Walker had five kills as Hawaii outhit Pepperdine .250 to .000.

Hawaii had a 4-2 lead in game three, but that was shortlived as Carroll had a kill and four service aces as part of a 6-0 run. The Warriors got no closer than two points at 8-6 and the Waves led by as many as six points at 22-16 after a block by junior middle blocker Eric Liebert (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) and Carroll. Pepperdine's hitting swelled to .393 in game three (Carroll had nine of the team's 16 kills) while Hawaii dropped to .154.

The first half of game four stayed close and the Warriors had a 15-14 edge, but the Waves immediately went on a 5-0 run, which featured two kills and a block by Carroll, to go up 19-15. Another 4-0 run made it 28-20 before the Waves sent the match to a deciding fifth game. Pepperdine's hitting improved to .471 in game four, led by Schleppenbach's seven kills, while Hawaii hit .194.

Game five was close throughout. Hawaii went up 7-5 after two straight kills by Schkud, but Pepperdine scored three straight points to go up 8-7. The match was tied 12-12 but a Wave attack error gave Hawaii the advantage, and Schkud followed with another kill to make it 14-12. After a Pepperdine point, the Warriors ended the match on a Walker kill. Hawaii outhit Pepperdine .364 to .357 in game five.

Article courtesy of Pepperdine athletics.

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