Pepperdine Sends Matthies Out of Fieldhouse with Five-Set Victory over Lions
Nina Matthies coached her final home indoor volleyball match after 31 seasons at Pepperdine.
Nov. 16, 2013
The Pepperdine volleyball team (14-10, 8-8 WCC) sent 31st-year head coach Nina Matthies out with a victory over LMU (14-12, 8-8 WCC) in her last home match of her illustrious career at Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon. The Lions and Waves battled over the course of five sets, but it was Pepperdine who earned a point in the PCH Cup standings at the end of play, earning a 28-30, 25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 15-11 victory.
Senior Kathleen Luft collected a match-high tying 20 kills, while sophomore Hannah Tedrow dished-out a season-high 56 assists to accompany 11 digs for a double-double, but LMU hit just .160 over the five sets en route to dropping the affair. Junior Litara Keil amassed 19 kills on 52 swings and sophomore Amber Mirabello added eight kills and six block assists.
As she has done in all but one match this year, senior Betsi Metter collected a match-high in digs, posting a season-high tying 32.
Kelley Larsen matched Luft with 20 kills and 13 digs for a double-double, while Samantha Cash had nine kills on 19 attacks to hit .421 for Pepperdine. Becca Strehlow had 49 assists, guiding Pepperdine to a slightly better hitting percentage than LMU at .192. Pepperdine's blocking game was on par on Saturday, as the Waves combined for 19 total team blocks, including 11 block assists from Cash.
The Lions won a marathon first set, 30-28, behind six kills from Luft and three block assists from Rachelle Suaava. LMU faced a pair of set-point deficits in that first period at 24-23 and 25-24, but kills from Suaava and Keil kept the set alive before a kill from Luft and a Wave attack error eventually handed the Lions the win.
The Waves never trailed in the second or third periods, earning consecutive 25-19 decisions to take a 2-1 match lead. Larsen had three kills in the second and five more in the third, while Pepperdine managed three blocks in each period. Luft countered with six kills on 11 attacks in the second set before Keil unloaded for five kills and two block assists in the third, but Pepperdine proved too much in the middle sets. The Waves utilized three aces in that third set, finishing the match with six, including two apiece from Katie Messing and Cash.
Needing a victory to force a fifth set, LMU responded with a 25-21 win. Despite hitting .093, LMU received four kills from Luft that proved just enough to hold off a Wave squad that hit a measly .051. LMU led virtually the entire way in the fourth, forcing a Pepperdine timeout at 9-5 after a Felicia Arriola kill. The Waves would eventually cut the deficit to two at 12-10, but LMU stretched the advantage to five points late at 22-17 on a Mirabello kill. Refusing to surrender, Pepperdine rattled-off three straight points to once again inch within two at 22-20 and force a Lion timeout. Fortunately for the Lions, Pepperdine committed a pair of attack errors followed by a Keil kill to force a fifth set.
The decisive fifth set was all Pepperdine early, as the Waves jumped out to an early 6-2 lead on a Cash ace. The Lions fought back from there, cutting the deficit to one at 7-6 on kills from Suaava and Mirabello. Leading by just the one point, Pepperdine elected to take a timeout, emerging from the break with renewed energy and posting three straight points and never looking back. LMU managed to evade the first match-point chance on a Luft kill, but Larsen responded on the ensuing play, finding the floor for the final time to hand Pepperdine the match.
LMU will conclude the regular season next week starting on Thursday with a 6 p.m. match at Santa Clara.