MALIBU, Calif. — The Cal Lutheran men's volleyball team opened the 2018 season against Division I opponent, No. 10 Pepperdine Waves, Sunday night in Firestone Fieldhouse. The Kingsmen impressed, but Pepperdine came out on top 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-14).
Pepperdine is one of two Division I teams Cal Lutheran plays this year. The Waves play in the West Coast Conference. The Kingsmen started the season with a hard fought match and showed they are ready to play with top competition.
Cal Lutheran's Mason Mercer led the Violet and Gold in kills and digs with five and three, respectively. Andrew Reina added four kills and led the defense with Michael Campbell as each student-athlete tallied three block assists. Kelly Jew helped protect the back line with three digs. Grant Nelson kept the offense moving with 15 assists.
The first set was competitive and tight all the way through. Patrick Rowe scored the first point of the year for the Kingsmen as he swatted down a kill. The score remained close for the first four points on each side and was tied four times. With the score tied at four, Pepperdine went on a 8-3 run and took a 12-7 lead. That triggered a CLU timeout. The Kingsmen fought back and cut the lead to three, 16-13. Dietrich and Reina each tallied a kill during the stretch. The Waves answered the Kingsmen run with another run of their own and claimed the first set 25-18.
With the second set tied at 3, Pepperdine scored four straight points and took a 7-3 lead. A little bit later, the Waves doubled up the Kingsmen at 12-6. Pepperdine continued to put up the points as the Division I team started to show some separation and took an 18-8 lead. They went on to win the second set 25-13. The Waves carried their momentum into the third set and won 25-14 as well as the match 3-0.
Pepperdine's Noah Dyer and Colby Harrman led the Waves with 10 kills apiece. Robert Mullahey led the team with 34 assists and Weston Barnes had seven digs. Pepperdine was a force around the net on offense and had a hitting percentage of .406. On defense, the team totaled 21 block assists.
The Kingsmen continue the season Friday at UC Santa Cruz's Slug Slam and take on UC Santa Cruz at 7 p.m.
Box Score: PU 3, CLU 0
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director