Men's Volleyball Outlasts Waves, 3-1
April 10, 1998
LOS ANGELES--Top ranked UCLA outlasted third ranked Pepperdine 3-1 Friday night at Pauley Pavilion to clinch the MPSF Pacific Division title and secure the coveted top seed in the upcoming MPSF Tournament.
With one conference match remaining at UC Irvine Feb. 14, UCLA, 23-3 and 16-2 in league play, could mathematically tie BYU and Pepperdine in the conference loss column, but the Bruins' better overall record would clinch their sixth consecutive division title. The game scores were 9-15, 15-10, 15-9, 15-5.
"We are the only team now in control of its own destiny," said head coach Al Scates. "Our victory tonight gives us a home court advantage throughout the playoffs."
Before a raucous crowd of 2,919, the Bruins spotted the Waves, 18-4 and 15-3, an 8-1 lead in Game 1 before storming back to tie it at 8-8 with pinpoint serving and several key kills by senior Ben Moselle and sophomore Evan Thatcher. But the Waves regrouped under the blocking of Chris Jacobsen and junior George Roumain to score seven of the final eight points.
The Bruins' serving improved in Game 2 as they took a 7-2 lead on aces by sophomores Brandon Taliaferro and Adam Naeve. They never relinquished the lead, although the Waves forced them to serve seven times for game point.
In Game 3, Scates stuck with two pivotal substitutions: he replaced senior Tom Stillwell in the middle with junior Danny Farmer, and junior Fred Robins, a Game 2 replacement, stayed in the match for freshman Mark Wiliams. Both subs slammed 10 kills for the match and hit for strong percentages, and Robins added 11 digs while Farmer blocked two balls.
"The difference tonight was our serving," said Scates. "It rallied us when we were down and gave us momentum when we needed it. Once again, we also got great play from our bench."
The Bruins served 11 aces to zero for the Waves, and ended Games 3 and 4 with aces by Taliaferro.
In all, six Bruins slammed double-digit kill totals and three -- Taliaferro, Robins and Moselle -- recorded double-doubles for kills and digs. Naeve and Thatcher led the Bruins with 20 kills apiece.
Roumain led Pepperdine with 27 kills, followed by Jacobsen's 17 and six blocks. Pepperdine's loss was its 14th straight to UCLA at home.
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