- #6 UC Irvine def. #8 Pepperdine 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 30-28, 28-26)
- UC Irvine moves to 16-6 (10-5 MPSF); Pepperdine falls to 8-10 (6-9 MPSF)
- Firestone Fieldhouse, Malibu, California
- Attendance: 713
- Box Score
#6 UC Irvine returned to the court after finals on Saturday for their first game since ending Ohio State’s 42-game winning streak on March 11th.
If one single stat were removed, it would appear as though the game was dominated by the Anteaters. Afterall, they had 78 kills and hit .407 offensively to just 45 and .290 for Pepperdine.
That one stat, however, was nearly enough to give the game away. Irvine had a whopping 29 service aces. Irvine has struggled from the stripe all season long – that’s their 9th time this season with at least 20 service errors. In their upset of #1 Ohio State, they had just 7 – their fewest this season by 10.
Everything else was firing for Irvine. Michael Saeta had 65 assists on the team’s 78 kills, and the team hit .570 when the offense ran through him. He also got all 3 Irvine aces, though he was also responsible for 7 of the team’s service errors. Even in just a 4 set game, 4 Anteaters had 15 or more kills. Tamir Hershko led the way with 22 (.474 percentage), while Aaron Koubi and Thomas Hodges each added 16 and Scott Stadick had another 15.
Pepperdine’s top scorer was David Wierczorek, who had 14. They too hit fairly well (31/67) when they ran through set, but only 31 of their 45 kills came on Soren Dion-Kindem assists. They were just 14/40 on the rest of their attacks.
Courtesy UC Irvine Athletics:
MALIBU, Calif. – No. 5 UC Irvine recorded a season-high 78 kills to beat No. 8 Pepperdine, 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 28-30, 28-26) at Firestone Fieldhouse.
The Anteaters had 33 more kills (78-45) than the Waves, but 29 service errors almost nullified the offensive performance. UCI out-hit Pepperdine .407 to .290 for the match.
UCI extends its winning streak to five in a row and improved to 16-6 overall and 10-5 in the MPSF. Pepperdine goes to 8-10 on the year and 6-9 in league action.
The Anteaters were led by senior Tamir Hershko who recorded a double-double with a match-high 22 kills and season-high 11 digs. On the outside, Thomas Hodges and Aaron Koubi each had 16 kills with Koubi matching his career-best 10 digs. Freshman middle blocker Scott Stadick put away a career-high 15 kills, while hitting .667 (15-1-21) and recording four total blocks. Setter Michael Saeta had a career-high 65 set assists to go with five kills and three aces.
The Waves were paced by David Wieczorek (14) and Noah Dyer (10) in kills. Soren Dion-Kindem had 31 set assists, while Weston Barnes collected 10 digs.
Kills by Thomas Hodges and Aaron Koubi gave UCI a 5-2 lead in the first set then three straight points pushed the Anteater advantage to 8-3. A 4-0 run which included a block, a kill by Koubi and an ace by Michael Saeta gave the Anteaters the 15-11 lead. UCI would never trail in the set and win 25-18.
Trailing 18-16 in the second set, the UCI middle took over with a kill by Scott Stadick and a block and kill by Andrew Benz to push the Anteaters ahead 19-18 forcing a Pepperdine timeout. Out of the break, UCI had kills by Hodges and Koubi to lead 21-18 forcing another Wave timeout. UCI held a 23-20 lead before back-to-back blocks by Pepperdine made things interesting, 23-22. Kills by Benz and a Hershko would end the set with kills, giving UCI the 25-22 victory.
UCI trailed 15-14 before the Anteaters used an ace by Saeta and a kill by Hershko to take 16-15 lead. A nice dig by Hershko lead to a kill by Koubi, 18-16. UCI continued to lead until Pepperdine rallied to take a 22-20 lead. The Waves held set point 24-23 before a kill by Hershko and a block by Stadick and Hodges turned the tables, 25-24, but an Anteater service error kept the teams playing. Pepperdine would close out the set with two kills, 30-28. UCI hit .548 to Pepperdine’s .481 in the set.
A 4-0 run by UCI, which included a pair of kills by Koubi, put the Anteaters up 15-11 in the fourth set. Pepperdine would rally again scoring five in a row to take a 16-15 lead. Pepperdine would continue to lead 18-17 then Hodges had back-to-back kills to move UCI in front 19-18. The teams would trade points until a Hershko kill on the seventh match point was followed by a Wave attack error to seal the 28-26 win.
UCI will close out its month-long road swing next Saturday (Mar. 31) at Stanford.
Courtesy Pepperdine Athletics:
MALIBU, Calif.: – The 8th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team posted a hard-fought battle against 5th-ranked UC Irvine this Saturday night in Firestone Fieldhouse, falling just short in the comeback effort for a 3-1 Anteater win. UCI collected 25-18, 25-22, 28-30 and 28-26 final set scores to garner the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation victory.
Pepperdin (8-10, 6-9 MPSF) posted a .290 success rate on the offensive with 45 kills on 107 swings, compared to the .407 output with 78 kills on 145 attempts from UC Irvine (16-6, 10-5 MPSF) throughout the match. The Waves led the night with 8.5 blocks, opposed to the Anteaters 6.0 team blocks. Each side tallied three service aces, with UCI added 29 service errors on the night.
Redshirt-sophomore David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) led the effort with 14 kills on a .345 hitting percentage. He added six digs and 12 service receptions. Freshman Noah Dyer (San Clemente, Calif./Saddleback Valley Christian HS) also hit for double-figure kills with 10, and added two blocks, three digs and 11 receptions.
Junior Weston Barnes (Laguna Beach, Calif./Laguna Beach HS) commanded the back row with a team-high 10 digs, while also posting 45 successful service receptions with only one charted receiving error against the tough-serving Anteaters.
Senior Mitchell Penning (St. Louis, Mo./Westminster Christian HS) led Pepperdine at the net with six blocks and also produced five kills on a .455 output and one ace. Sophomore Michael Wexter (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) added eight kills, six digs and five blocks including one solo rejection.
Senior Soren Dion-Kindem (Agoura Hills, Calif./Agoura HS) led the squad with 31 assists and junior Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) was good to tie his career-high seven kills on a .333 success rate.
Senior Max States (Honolulu, Hawai’i/Solimar Academy) came in off the bench to serve, tabbing two aces to help the Waves’ effort.
UC Irvine broke out to an 8-3 lead early in the set, but kills from four-separate Waves and a block collaboration from Penning and Wexter tied things up 10-10. UCI went on another run, posting a 21-15 advantage and a lead that Pepperdine would be unable to overcome as the Anteaters’ attack efforts resulted in a 25-18 set win.
The second set stayed close throughout, with each side amassing 6-6, 11-11 and 18-18 tied scores before the opposition broke ahead 21-18. A kill from Wexter and back-to-back blocks from Penning, Wexter and Dyer helped the Waves close the gap 22-23, but UCI took control en route to a 25-22 second set win for the 2-0 advantage.
The third set was a nail-biter from start to finish as each team once again worked through 5-5, 10-10, 15-15 and 20-20 tied scores. The Waves worked ahead, 22-20, but the opposition rallied. Long rallies and grit on each side had the score reach an eventual 28-28 tie score in the sets final moments. Pepperdine worked through three match-point opportunities for UCI and on the Waves’ third set-point opening, tabbed back-to-back kills courtesy of Carr and Wexter for the 30-28 set win to extend the match to a fourth.
The fourth set would go extra points as well after the Waves and Anteaters posted 10-10 and 20-20 tie scores on the board yet again. Pepperdine battled against three more match-point chances for the opposition, fighting through with kills from Dyer and Wieczorek before the Anteaters would shut the set down 28-26 for the 3-1 match-win.
The Waves will close out home action in Firestone Fieldhouse on March 30 against UC San Diego. Follow Pepperdine @PeppVolleyball on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates and head to PepperdineWaves.com for recaps, results and more.