To say the Pepperdine women's volleyball team has problems against UCLA is to say a ball is round, a court is box-shaped, an ace is better than a service error.
The Bruins are 25-3 against the Waves in the 20 years before this season, winning three national titles along the way while the less-fortunate teams in Malibu often struggled to get past the first round of the NCAA tournament.
But programs evolve, gaps get closed, underdogs become favorites.
Such was the case Friday, when Pepperdine defeated UCLA, 30-26, 23-30, 30-26, 30-26, in a second-round match of the NCAA tournament before 1,178 fans at Pepperdine.
Lyndsey Hache' had 17 kills, Katie Wilkins had 16, and the Waves (25-6) defeated the Bruins (20-14) for the second time in less than a month.
UCLA had upset Long Beach State in the first round and was looking to reassert its dominance over Pepperdine after getting swept by the Waves in a nonconference match Nov. 12 at UCLA.
But the Waves didn't break. They had more aces, more kills and another victory against UCLA.
The Waves play the winner of tonight's California-UC Santa Barbara match Thursday or Friday at a site to be determined.
The Bruins erased the possibility of a sweep by winning the second game, Lauren Fendrick delivering five of her 20 kills to help tie the match at a game each.
But Pepperdine won the third game with little trouble and turned a 19-17 deficit in the fourth game into victory as UCLA dissolved amid a slew of hitting errors and passing gaffes.
"We could see it in their eyes that they were starting to question themselves," said Hache', a junior middle blocker. "I think we stayed steady and stable. We knew how to win. We've been doing it all season."
In 14 previous NCAA tournament appearances, the Waves have never advanced past the third round.
"We're ready," Coach Pepperdine Coach Nina Matthies said. "In my 20 years, this is the best group of athletes and volleyball players that I've ever had. That's why I think we have the ability to go farther."
Heather Cullen had 15 kills for UCLA.
"They're big, they're rangy, they hit with a lot of power," UCLA Coach Andy Banachowski said. "They're a very strong attacking team."
-- Mike Bresnahan
Loyola Marymount is playing host to the NCAA men's water polo championship for the first time at its two-year-old Burns Recreation Center.
Today, California will play Queens College (N.Y.) in one semifinal.
Stanford, the defending national champion, will face UC San Diego in the other.
The winners will play in the championship match Sunday.
Cal (19-6) won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title last weekend with a dramatic 9-8 victory over Pepperdine.
Stanford (22-5) lost in the semifinals to the Golden Bears but gained the at-large berth over the Waves on the strength of its No. 1 ranking for the majority of the season.
UC San Diego (19-11) qualified by winning the Western Water Polo Assn. title.
Queens (24-3) took the Collegiate Water Polo Assn. championship.