Three dates into a season-long five-match road stretch, UCSD is 6-16 overall and 3-14 in the MPSF. A third straight win moved Pepperdine to 12-6 overall and 11-6 in the MPSF.
Tied 8-8 in the opening frame, the Waves tallied four of the next five points to force a Triton timeout, up 12-9. A Maurice Torres kill gave Pepperdine the set victory.
A Greg Smith kill followed by another stuff block on Torres, this time by Smith and freshman Cory Swartzbaugh, later leveled matters again at 17-17 as the Waves called their first timeout of the night. Three consecutive points on a missed Iorfino serve, attack error and Scott Rhein kill gave Pepperdine set point at 24-20, and Josh Taylor's kill meant a commanding 2-0 advantage for the home side.
The Waves notched the first two points of the third set on a Rhein kill and Nikola Antonijevic ace. A trio of three-point spurts then pushed them out to an 11-6 cushion, with Pepperdine comfortable for the remainder.
Smith collected a team-high nine kills for UCSD in the contest, hitting .538 with a pair of errors on 13 attacks, as well as a team- and season-high four total blocks. Senior outside hitter Carl Eberts produced seven kills. Junior setter Mike Brunsting had 23 assists and team highs of two service aces and five digs.
"We faced one of the top teams in the country tonight in Pepperdine," remarked Triton head coach Kevin Ring. "For us to challenge the top teams in the MPSF, we need a more consistent level of play, especially from our most experienced players. Greg Smith had a nice night for us."
Rhein finished with a match-high 13 kills for the Waves, with zero errors on his 16 swings (.812). Torres added eight kills, while Taylor and Parker Kalmbach each had seven. Taylor came up with seven digs and Kalmbach with seven total blocks, both to lead all players. Setter Matt West handed out 36 assists to go with his five blocks.
UCSD next plays at USC (4-12, 4-12 MPSF) on Saturday night, Mar. 16. First serve at the Lyon Center in Los Angeles is set for 7 p.m.
Triton Notes: UCSD is now 0-9 in MPSF road matches in 2013 ... Pepperdine swept the season series, having posted a 3-0 victory in La Jolla on Jan. 12 ... With seven more kills tonight, Carl Eberts increased his career total to 967, eighth-most in program history, as he vies to become just the fifth Triton ever to reach the 1,000-kill plateau ... Chase Frishman's three digs increased his career total to 610, moving him into sole possession of second-place in the program record book, ahead of Chris Mortimer (2000-03).
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