Bruins Lose to Pepperdine
LOS ANGELES -- Top ranked UCLA was upset Saturday night in Pauley Pavilion by second ranked Pepperdine, 3-1, giving the Waves the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and dropping the Bruins into the pool of at-large candidates.
Pepperdine, 22-4, won 15-12, 11-15, 15-4, 15-12 and snapped a 15-year, 13-match losing streak at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA watched big leads evaporate in three of the four games.
The Bruins, 26-4, surrendered a 10-2 lead in Game 1 and watched as Pepperdine ran off 13 of the final 15 points to win 15-12. At 12-12, the Bruins committed two hitting errors, and Pepperdine's George Roumain, the MPSF Player of the Year, spiked the gamewinner to give the Waves a key momentum boost.
The Bruins stormed back in Game 2 and built a 10-5 lead, only to watch the Waves narrow the gap to 12-11. A pair of unforced errors gave the Bruins a 14-12 lead, but the Waves fought off four game points before finally succumbing when Bruin senior Ben Moselle slammed a kill.
At 2-2 in Game 3, Pepperdine reeled off seven straight points. At 10-4, Pepperdine setter J.J. Riley served five straight points; three UCLA hitting errors, a block by Pep's Scott Wong, and a kill by Roumain accounted for those points.
The Bruins squandered a 10-5 lead in Game 4 as Pep tied it at 10-10 and surged ahead to 12-10 on kills by Wong and Roumain with Riley serving. The Bruins tied it at 12-12 on kills by opposite Evan Thatcher and quick hitter Adam Naeve, but hitting errors by Moselle and Thatcher ended the match.
The Bruins likely will advance as the at-large candidate after winning two of three matches over the Waves during the season. In addition to Pepperdine, Lewis University from the Midwest and Princeton from the East have already qualified.
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