Waves men’s volleyball splits series with BYU Cougars

The Waves celebrate during their win over BYU. Photo by Sarah Otteman

The Pepperdine Waves men’s volleyball team won the second match of their home series against the BYU Cougars in sweeping fashion on Mar. 26.

Pepperdine, ranked seventh in the nation, downed BYU 25-22, 25-21, 25-19 a day after the Cougars beat them in five sets.

Waves head coach David Hunt said in a Pepperdine Athletics’ video after the game that the Waves didn’t play their best in their Mar. 25 matchup.

“The fact that our team battled as hard as they did when they clearly didn’t have their A game was pretty good,” he said. “I thought as a coaching staff we identified a few key areas that if we could clean up a little bit we’d be in better shape. Credit to the guys, I think they owned it and did really well in those areas, and we ultimately ended up winning.”

Graduate opposite Jaylen Jasper led the Waves with 15 kills on .571 hitting. He also posted eight digs, four block assists and two aces. Middle blocker Austin Wilmot, also a graduate student, finished the match with 10 kills on .571 hitting, while Jacob Steele, a sophomore opposite, recorded 10 kills, three of which came in the early moments of the first set. Steele also had three digs, two aces, and two block assists.

Sophomore middle blocker Andersen Fuller had a career-high-tying seven kills on seven swings and five block assists, a match high. Spencer Wickens, a graduate libero, had seven digs and sophomore setter Bryce Dvorak had two aces, three digs, and dished out 42 assists.

Pepperdine jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, buoyed by Steele’s kills. After BYU rallied, the Waves went on an 8-0 run and had a 20-15 lead. Pepperdine won the set after some back-and-forth action.

The score was tied at 19 in the second set when Pepperdine went on a 4-1 run to grab a 23-20 lead. Wilmot then recorded a kill and Dvorak and Fuller a block to end the set.
The Waves had a 15-13 lead in the third set and never looked back. The Cougars got within one point a couple of times, but Pepperdine went on a 5-0 run to close the set and record the win.

BYU defeated Pepperdine 32-30, 21-25, 20-25, 31-29, 15-9 in the first matchup of the two-game series. The contest lasted two hours and 39 minutes.

Jasper posted 20 kills, four aces, four digs, and three block assists, and Steele had 15 kills on .480 hitting and four digs. Dvorak had 46 assists, 11 digs, and four aces. Wickens had nine digs, and Wilmot had seven kills, three blocks, and three aces.

Pepperdine has a 12-7 record heading into their home matchup against Concordia on Thursday at 7 p.m. They will also host Concordia Saturday at 6 p.m.
Pepperdine had recorded a win over George Mason and a pair of victories over Cal State Northridge before losing to BYU. In the second win over CSUN on Mar. 18, Pepperdine hit a school record .586.

Wickens and outside hitter Alex Gettinger, a graduate student, collected Mountain Pacific Sports Federation weekly honors on Mar. 21 due to their performances in the wins over CSUN.

Gettinger was named the federation’s offensive player of the week. He hit .636 and averaged 4.00 kills and 4.42 points per set. Gettinger hit a career-best .800 in the second contest. In that match, he helped Pepperdine set a school record in the rally-scoring era with a team hitting percentage of .586.

Wickens was the defensive player of the week. He had a team-high-tying 2.12 digs per set and was perfect in serve-receive, with zero errors on 28 receptions. He had eight digs also.