The Pepperdine men's volleyball team was on a roll before Thursday night's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match against UCLA. The Waves had a three-match MPSF winning streak that included a road victory over powerful UC Santa Barbara, ranked fourth nationally at the time.
But the victory train came to an abrupt halt against the second-ranked Bruins, who posted an easy 15-7, 15-7, 15-7 victory at Pepperdine.
Pepperdine (9-6, 4-5 in MPSF play) appeared flat in every game and struggled with the powerful attack of UCLA (13-3, 9-2).
"We basically just didn't serve and receive well at all," Pepperdine Coach Marv Dunphy said. "At this level, we have to serve tougher and receive a lot better to win."
UCLA, which last week upset No. 1 Hawaii in Honolulu, took a 10-0 lead in the first game. Pepperdine's Peter Kodacsy, who had 15 kills, served an ace for his team's first point, but the Waves never threatened to come back.
Sixth-ranked Pepperdine showed signs of life in the second game, tying it, 6-6, after falling behind, 5-1. UCLA, however, went on a 9-1 run to seal the victory.
Things only got worse for the Waves in the final game. They fell behind, 7-2, and didn't pull together. Pepperdine came within four points late in the game, but it was too little, too late. UCLA's Stein Metzger served the last four points of the game and nailed an ace for the match.
Pepperdine's Kevin Barnett had a match-high 18 kills and teammate George Roumain had 11. Paul Nihipali led UCLA with 15 kills and Tom Stillwell, a Notre Dame High graduate, had 14.
"Our goal was to shut down George Roumain, and we did a great job," UCLA Coach Al Scates said. "Paul Nihipali was assigned the task and he really did great. That was the key to the match."