MALIBU, Calif. (Feb. 15, 2007)—In a battle of the NCAA's two highest ranked teams No. 2 Pepperdine edged No. 1 BYU in a five-set thriller, 30-20, 27-30, 32-30, 25-30, 15-13.
The Cougars, now 9-3 (5-2 MPSF), were out-hit .412 to .214 in the decisive fifth set but battled to a tie at 13 before ultimately falling to the Waves. (10-1, 8-1).
Yosleyder Cala led BYU with 20 kills and a .545 hitting percentage. Cala was the only Cougar to hit over the .300 clip.
Pepperdine jumped out early on BYU, winning the first set in convincing fashion. Up 19-16, the Waves cruised to the game-one win, finishing the set on an 11-4 run. Pepperdine out-hit the Cougars .462 to .160 in the first set. BYU finished the game with just eight kills on 25 swings.
The Cougars came back in the second set. BYU finished strong in game two, battling back several times to tie the game at 22. The Cougars went on a 7-2 run capped by a block by Russell Holmes to give BYU a game point. After several tries, the Cougars capped the second set when Pepperdine's J.D. Schleppenbach ended the game with a service error. BYU's hitting warmed up slightly in the second game as the Cougars out-hit the Waves.250 to .179.
Game three was looking good for BYU late into the game. The Cougars led most of the game and built a 24-18 lead on a Pepperdine hitting error. The Waves came storming back, scoring the next four points to cut into the lead. After tying the set at 27, Pepperdine took its first lead on a Schleppenbach ace to go ahead 29-28. The two teams traded points with the Waves ultimately taking the set on a BYU hitting error.
In the fourth game, the Cougars had their most dominating effort of the evening. BYU held Pepperdine to a -.029 hitting percentage while jumping to an early 17-8 lead and forcing the Waves to call a timeout. After a pair of Pepperdine runs cut the lead to two points, BYU persevered to build a five-point advantage. The Cougars scored the final three points to win the game, 30-25 on a Pepperdine attack error to force the decisive fifth game.
The fifth game was a back-and-forth affair with the Cougars jumping out to an early 3-1 lead. Pepperdine responded with a 6-3 run to take its first lead, a 7-6 advantage. BYU then jumped back ahead with consecutive points. The Cougars had a 9-8 lead when the Waves scored four consecutive points, capped by a BYU hitting error to give Pepperdine a 12-9 lead. The Cougars bursted back, scoring a 4-1 run in their favor to tie the game at 13. The Waves scored the final two points for the victory.
The same two teams will finish the season series Saturday at 1 p.m. (PST)