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Pepperdine, Hawaii to Meet for Title


Pepperdine struggled at times but had too much firepower for defending national champion Brigham Young Thursday night at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.

The Waves shook off a loss in the third game and defeated the defending national champion Cougars, 30-26, 30-24, 22-30, 30-25, before 1,358.

The victory earned Pepperdine a trip to Saturday night's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship match against Hawaii (22-7).

Pepperdine (27-4) won its 15th consecutive match and moved closer to clinching a spot in the NCAA Final Four next week at Penn State.

Even if the top-ranked Waves were to lose to the Rainbows, they would be in consideration for the at-large berth to the Final Four. But Pepperdine Coach Marv Dunphy doesn't want to leave anything to chance.

"If you do play for the MPSF championship and if you happen to lose, there is an odds-on chance that you'll get in because of the record," Dunphy said.

"But then you're playing a guessing game and you're gambling that you'll get chosen. I'm not a good gambler."

Middle blocker Brad Keenan, who was named conference player of the year Wednesday, was a force in the fourth game with six of his match-high eight blocks. He put the Waves ahead for good by denying BYU's Jonathan Alleman and Mike Wall on consecutive kill attempts.

"I finally learned how to block," a smiling Keenan said. "It seemed like I couldn't block at all in those first two games."

Pepperdine hit only .246 for the match (62 kills, 28 errors) but had a balanced attack. Lance Walker had 14 kills, Keenan and Sean Rooney had 13 and Fred Winters added 12. Chris Van Reusen added eight kills with only one hitting error.

Brigham Young (23-7) was led by Wall with 17 kills. The Cougars were held to a .217 hitting percentage.

"I think they're a better team than us," Wall said. "But they're beatable. They're not invincible. We could have done some things to beat them."

Hawaii defeated UC Santa Barbara, 30-27, 29-31, 31-29, 30-26. Costas Theocharidis had 21 kills and Jose Delgado and Eyal Zimet had 11 apiece for the Warriors.

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