Photo courtesy of Pepperdine Athletics
After a tough battle, the Waves lost to Brigham Young University Cougars in a 3-0 match. The first set was 25-21, the second was 24-15 and the third was 29-27. High scorers included freshman setter Isabel Zelaya with eight digs, junior outside hitter Shannon Scully with five kills and six digs, and sophomore outside hitter Rachel Ahrens with 10 kills.
The Waves started off the first set with lots of energy. Right off the bat, senior libero Hana Lishman, who had a total of three aces and seven digs, served an ace. The Waves took lead, 6-2, with help from freshman setter Zelaya, who scored on a soft tip over the net as well as a long, sharp hit to the back.
The Waves were up 8-3 when the Cougars took a time out and started to get into rhythm. After the break, they shortened the Waves’ lead to 9-8. BYU’s senior outside hitter McKenna Miller gave the Cougars their first lead, and from there, BYU took control of the set.
Ahrens brought the score to 24-21 BYU with a powerful kill, but the Cougars took the first set with a close 25-21.
“I think something we’ve been working on as a team is being mentally strong,” Scully said. “I think we did a really good job of that and consistently moving on to the next ball against [San Diego], but tonight, I feel like we were still stuck in the past and we couldn’t move on. And we should continue working on that for the rest of the season.”
Pepperdine struggled in the second set. Although the Waves had some massive kills and serves in this period, the Cougars overtook them with a 25-15 score.
“I think our serve and pass broke down, which is usually one of our stronger areas,” Scully said. “I think BYU did a good job of taking away a lot of our shots when we were hitting, which made it difficult for us to score. They played well, we played well, but I think we could’ve done a better job of shutting them down.”
Both Scully and Volunteer Assistant Coach Blossom Sato said it was BYU’s blocking that really won the game.
“They are known for their blocking,” Scully said. “So I think it was a challenge to mix it up where we were hitting and to consistently swing high over their blocking.”
The third set was neck and neck, and the audience was on their feet for more than half the period. Ahrens had multiple deep kills, including one from front left to the back right, giving them the lead at that point 17-16. The lead changes in this period were anything but consistent — Waves led 24-20, yet the Cougars managed to tie 24-24 when the Waves hit the ball out of bounds.
Senior outside hitter Hannah Frohling, who had six kills and two digs total in the game, had a sharp kill from the left to bring up the score again. This back-and-forth of scoring ended when the Cougars served up a massive kill and won the match with 29-27.
“This [game] was definitely a learning moment for us — good and bad,” Sato said. “Bad because we lost, but good because we learned a ton of stuff to improve on. I think just going into this week’s practice, we’ll be tightening things up and trying to get back into our rhythm and feeling confident in our plays, because we know we are a capable team and can play at a certain level — it just wasn’t our day today.”
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