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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Hawaii Is Battered by Waves in Four

Volleyball: Pepperdine moves into MPSF final against UCLA with 15-13, 7-15, 15-12, 15-5 victory.

April 24, 1998|MIKE BRESNAHAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The distance between Pepperdine and a bid to the NCAA tournament just got a lot shorter, as did a potential Hawaiian homecoming for three of the Waves.

With the help of George Roumain and three players from the 50th state, Pepperdine defeated Hawaii, 15-13, 7-15, 15-12, 15-5, in a semifinal match of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's volleyball tournament Thursday night before 1,853 at UCLA.

Roumain had 34 kills but the night seemed to belong to Scott Wong, Rick Tune and J.J. Riley.

Wong, a native of Pearl City, Hawaii, who was selected MPSF freshman of the year earlier this week, delivered 17 kills for Pepperdine, as did Tune, a senior middle blocker who played the past three seasons at Hawaii before transferring to Pepperdine.

Setter Riley, a junior from Honolulu, had 76 assists and six digs for the Waves (21-4), who likely claimed at least an at-large bid to the four-team NCAA tournament, which starts next Thursday in Honolulu.

The Waves can clinch an automatic NCAA bid as MPSF tournament conference champion if they defeat UCLA, a 15-12, 15-9, 15-10 winner over Long Beach State, in the MPSF title match Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion.

Wong, who was recruited by Hawaii and was playing in front of his parents and 92-year-old grandmother, had five kills in the fourth game, including the one that ended the match.

"We played Hawaii twice earlier in the season and this was just another game," Wong said. "We took it like that."

Riley saw a slightly different angle.

"It's a great victory, especially against my home state, so to speak," he said. "For the Hawaiian guys on our team, we want to go back [for the NCAA tournament] real bad."

The Waves won a war of attrition in a 55-minute first game, with Roumain pounding down 15 kills, but lost a comparatively brief battle in the second game, when Naveh Milo of Hawaii delivered eight of his 26 kills.

The third game would tilt one team closer to an NCAA berth.

Make it the Waves, who trailed at one point, 8-5, but took an 11-8 lead on three consecutive points--a kill by Roumain and two combination blocks by Roumain and Chris Jacobson.

The third game ended on a kill by Roumain, MPSF player of the year.

"He carries a big load and he's carried it all year," Pepperdine Coach Marv Dunphy said.

Pepperdine swept Hawaii in two regular-season matches, but the Rainbows (23-6) won their last eight matches.

Hawaii Coach Mike Wilton showed no ill will, particularly in regards to Tune, who had eight kills in the third game.

"I've got two guys [at middle blocker] who are all-conference, so it was one of those win-win situations," Wilton said.

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