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Woes Continue for Pepperdine in Another Setback at Pauley

Volleyball: Waves lose at UCLA for the 14th consecutive time.

April 11, 1998|MIKE BRESHANAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Pepperdine could not put an end to its past, which meant bad news for the present and future of the Waves' men's volleyball team.

Pepperdine failed to end a road losing streak to UCLA that dates to 1986 and, more important, dropped a key match to the Bruins on Friday night in front of 2,919 at Pauley Pavilion.

UCLA beat the Waves, 9-15, 15-10, 15-9, 15-5, and locked up the best regular-season record in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

The match was exactly 30 minutes shorter than the teams' three-hour, 15-minute marathon in January, but the impact of the loss might be felt for a while by the Waves. Had they won, the Waves would have been in position for their first conference title since 1992.

UCLA will be the top-seeded team in the MPSF tournament that starts April 18 at different venues, and will host the tournament Final Four, assuming the Bruins win a first-round match next weekend.

The Waves (18-4, 15-3 in MPSF play) were done in by a lack of bodies. UCLA (23-3, 16-2) had much better depth, which showed as the match wore on.

"We put people out there and if they're not playing well, we'll put someone else out there," UCLA Coach Al Scates said. "I'm not afraid to go to the bench."

Six players reached double-figures in kills for the Bruins, including Fred Robins and Danny Farmer, who had 10 each coming off of the bench. Only three players reached double-figures for Pepperdine, which was led by George Roumain, who had 27 kills.

UCLA, ranked No. 1, thoroughly dominated No. 3-ranked Pepperdine on serves. The Bruins had 11 aces, Pepperdine had none.

"They were serving really tough and it kind of got us in trouble," Pepperdine setter J.J. Riley said. "I don't think we really got tired. I think we got frustrated."

The Waves fell behind in the second game, 8-3, and also lagged in the third game, trailing 7-0.

Outside hitter Peter Kodacsy was yanked early in the third game after hitting into a block twice in a row. Kodacsy finished with four kills, seven hitting errors and minus-.130 hitting percentage.

At one point in the third game, Pepperdine had three freshmen on the court, a transfer from Hawaii and Riley, a junior who is in his first year back from a knee injury. Roumain, however, remained the constant among the group.

"We looked good in the first game," Roumain said of the Waves, who outblocked UCLA, 6-1, in an easy Game One victory. "But we couldn't hold out."

Now, the Waves, who conclude the regular season at Loyola Marymount on Tuesday, are looking at being the second-seeded team in the MPSF tournament. To win the tournament, they would have to win three matches, two of them played at Pauley Pavilion.

"I think we're fine on the road," Roumain said. "I think we'll have to play better than we did tonight."

Tom Stillwell, a former Notre Dame High middle blocker, had seven kills and was replaced by Farmer midway through the third game. Stillwell, who was honored before the match as one of three UCLA seniors playing in their final regular-season home match, did not return after being replaced.

Pepperdine freshman Scott Wong, whose brother, Kevin, was a third-team All-American for UCLA in 1994, had 12 kills.

UCLA, which won both matches this season against Pepperdine, beat the Waves for the 14th consecutive time at UCLA.

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