(Malibu, CA) In an exciting non-conference match, the #4 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team blanked #6 UC Irvine with 25-17, 25-20 and 26-24 final set scores in Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday night.
During the second and third sets, the Waves (16-6) honored 42 Pepperdine men’s volleyball alumni, including multiple NCAA Champions, Olympic athletes and gold medalists, several All-Americans and more.
The first set may have been close for the first six-point of action, but the Waves weren’t having it after that, amassing a 7-0 run with Kaleb Denmark at the service line. Once the momentum had shifted to the home team, kills from Kévin Vaz, Michael Wexter and David Wieczorek only helped the cause, putting Pepperdine up 19-12 down the home stretch. Wieczorek plastered a pair of service aces on the back line to earn a set-point opportunity and an Anteater error closed the first set 25-17 in the Waves’ favor.
Pepperdine used the energy from the first set win to start the second set, and opened with a 10-6 lead fueled by big attack efforts from Wieczorek and Wexter. An ‘Asics Ace’ from Max Chamberlain continued the Waves’ roll and more kills from the right side late in the set propelled the Waves to a 22-17 lead. Although UCI put a few points together late in the set, kills from Vaz and costly errors from the Anteaters earned the Waves a second set win 25-20.
The third and final set was the closest by far. After the intermission, the energy in the room had shifted to Irvine’s side of the court, as the Anteaters picked up a 10-6 lead over the Waves early on. After going down 16-11, the Waves rallied back with multiple kills from Denmark and three-consecutive smashes from Wieczorek to tie the set at 19’s. Each side went point-for-point towards a 24-24 tied score, but a UCI service error followed by a sneaky smash from Robert Mullahey and the Waves earned the straight-sweep in Firestone.
David Wieczorek (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy): 14 kills, .500 hitting %, 4 aces, 5 digs, 1 block
Kaleb Denmark (Redlands, Calif./Arrowhead Christian Academy): 11 kills, .450 hitting %, 5 digs, 16 service receptions (no errors)
Michael Wexter (New Lenox, Ill./Linoln-Way West HS): 14 kills, .417 hitting %, 8 digs
Kévin Vaz (Paris, France/Palmetto HS (Fla.)/Cal Baptist): 4 kills, 2 blocks
Robert Mullahey (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS): 38 assists, 2 digs, 1 kill, .443 team hitting %
Spencer Wickens (Irondequoit, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit HS): 5 digs, 2 assists
Noah Dyer (San Clemente, Calif./Saddleback Valley HS): 2 digs, 19 service receptions (2 errors)
Clay Carr (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS): 3 digs
WAVES VS. ANTEATERS
Pepperdine came out swinging from start to finish, collecting 45 kills on a .443 success rate compared to UC Irvine’s 33 kills on a .307 clip. The Waves also led with five aces, 30 digs and 42 assists, opposed to the Anteaters four aces, 21 digs and 30 assists. UCI did lead the match with 5.0 blocks to the Waves 2.0.
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