April 19, 2008
Sixth-ranked ranked UCLA saw its season end in a four-game loss Saturday night to No. 5 Pepperdine at Pauley Pavilion.
Pepperdine won 30-27, 20-30, 30-21, 30-28 in front of 1,055 fans in two hours and five minutes. The victory enabled the Waves (14-10) to advance to the MPSF semifinals against conference champion Long Beach State. The Bruins (17-14) finished the season with their 45th postseason appearance in the last 46 seasons.
The match turned in Game 4 when the Bruins' four-point lead evaporated under the withering heat of Paul Carroll's serve. Carroll, the Waves' dominant All-American who didn't play in the Bruins' two earlier victories over their league rival, served three straight points, including a pair of aces to erase a 14-11 UCLA advantage. The two teams slugged it out until Pepperdine took a 25-22 lead on a kill by Carroll. Pepperdine never gave up that lead, although the Bruins whittled it to one four times. Carroll slammed the match-winner to put his team in the next round.
Carroll finished with 29 kills (.302) four aces and five total blocks for 36 points. Pepperdine freshman Cory Riecks added 22 kills (.429) and 25 points.
The Bruins, despite hitting .000 in Game 3, out-hit the Waves, .313-.286 and out-blocked them 16.0-13.0. But Pepperdine recorded 11 more kills and two more aces.
Four players recorded double-digit kills for the Bruins: junior Sean O'Malley and sophomore Garrett Muagututia smacked 13, and juniors Ryan Ratelle and Jamie Diefnebach added 12. Senior All-American libero Tony Ker finished a brilliant career with 15 digs, giving him a single season school record of 368. Ker also holds the national career digs record (1,220) and the UCLA single match mark (27).