Nov. 20, 2006
LOS ANGELES - Nana Meriwether had 18 kills and 11 blocks and UCLA held a commanding 22.5 to 10 edge in team blocks as fourth-ranked UCLA rallied to knock off 24th-ranked Pepperdine in five games on Monday night at Pauley Pavilion, 30-25, 26-30, 26-30, 30-24, 15-5.
UCLA improves to 27-3 while Pepperdine falls to 15-11.
Game one was tight early before the Bruins scored four-straight points to open up a 15-11 edge on a block by Meriwether and Nellie Spicer. Pepperdine rallied to tie the game at 23-23, but once again UCLA put some distance between themselves and the Waves, scoring six of the game's next seven points to reach game point at 29-24. After a sideout, Ali Daley ended game one with a kill at 30-25.
Just like game one, game two also was tied at 11-11, only this time it was Pepperdine making the rally as the Waves used three-straight UCLA errors to take a 16-11 lead. The Bruins managed to tie the game at 22-22 on a Katie Carter kill, but once again errors bit the Bruins on the next two points as Pepperdine opened the margin back to two points at 24-22. UCLA would never get closer in game two and the Waves put home kills on the final two plays as Pepperdine took game two, 30-26, to tie the match at a game apiece.
UCLA took an early 13-9 lead in game three, but Pepperdine fought back to tie the game at 15-15. It was still tied at 19-19 and Pepperdine held a slim 22-21 lead before the visiting Waves scored the next four points to open up a 26-21 margin. The Bruins closed to within one point at 27-26 on a Meriwether kill, but three-straight kills by Pepperdine's Sophia Milo ended game three at 30-26 and gave the Waves a two games to one lead in the match.
The Bruins dominated game four, taking the lead for good at 5-4 in the midst of a six-point run off the serve of libero Colby Lyman as UCLA opened an 8-4 edge. The Bruins forced a sideout on eight consecutive Pepperdine service rotations as UCLA sprinted to a 21-13 lead on a triple block by Carter, Rachell Johnson and Kaitlin Sather. Pepperdine closed to within five points at 28-23, but Becky Mehring's only kill of the night ended game four at 30-24 and sent the teams to a decisive fifth game.
Pepperdine scored the opening point of game five, but that would prove to be one of the only Waves highlights in game five as UCLA took the lead for good at 3-2 on a Meriwether kill. The Bruin lead was just two points at 7-5 before UCLA rattled off the match's final eight points, getting an ace by Jordan Smith plus three blocks by the combination of Johnson and Sather en route to match point. Sather posted kills on two of the match's final five points, including match point, as UCLA held off Pepperdine to win game five, 15-5. UCLA did not commit a single hitting error in game five, notching 10 kills on 17 swings for a .588 percentage.
Six different Bruins scored at least 10 points for the match. Meriwether paced UCLA with her 18 kills, 11 blocks and 24.0 points while hitting .324. Sather added 13 kills and six blocks for 18.0 points with a .323 percentage. Carter totaled 15 kills and six blocks for 18.5 points and a .361 percentage. Also scoring in double figures was Daley (13 kills, two blocks, 14.0 points), Spicer (three kills, eight blocks, 11 digs, 64 assists) and Johnson (six kills, nine blocks, 11.0 points). Lyman tallied a team-best 24 digs from her libero spot. Pepperdine was paced by Rachel Lumsden with 19 kills and Milo with 16 kills.
As a team, UCLA dominated at the net, using 22.5 team blocks compared to Pepperdine's 10.0. The Bruins also out hit the Waves by a .254 to .161 margin.
UCLA wraps up the regular season at home on Thanksgiving weekend as the Bruins host Oregon State on Fri., Nov. 24, and Oregon on Sat., Nov. 25. Both matches begin at 5 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. The pairings for this year's NCAA Tournament will be announced on Sun., Nov. 26 at 12:30 pm Pacific Time on ESPNEWS.