Pepperdine volleyball advances to national title match

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The Pepperdine University men’s volleyball team continued its storybook season Thursday night with a 3-0 (30-26, 30-21, 30-26) sweep of Long Beach State at the national semifinals in Irvine. The Waves (17-10) will face Penn State (29-1) for the national title on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Nittany Lions defeated Ohio State in the other semifinal match, 3-1 (30-21, 26-30, 30-22, 30-17).

The young Pepperdine team, which was without one its top players (junior opposite Paul Carroll) for eight games due to injury, finished the regular season 13-10. But the Waves made a miracle run through the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament, winning three matches on the road to take the league title and earn a berth into the NCAA Championships.

A Pepperdine win on Saturday will be the team’s sixth national title, and the first since 2005. The match will air live on ESPN2.

-Jonathan Friedman