The loss ends the 2010 season for the fifth-seeded Waves (16-10), who were haunted by five-game matches down the stretch. Six of their final seven matches went the distance, and Pepperdine was 2-4 in those contests. Fourth-seeded Hawaii improved to 19-9 and defeated the Waves in two of three matches this season.
The Waves served for the match at 14-13 in the fifth set, but Hawaii scored the next two points and eventually won the contest on a service ace by Nejc Zemljak.
Seniors J.D. Schleppenbach (Ventura, Calif./Ventura HS) and Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil) did everything they could to extend their careers. Schleppenbach had a team-high 20 kills along with 10 digs for his fourth double-double of the season. Santos added a season-high 16 kills.
Hawaii had a slight .271-.269 hitting edge. MPSF Freshman of the Year Jonas Umlauft had 36 kills, although the Waves forced him into 16 hitting errors.
Although Hawaii got off to a 4-1 start in the first game, the Waves quickly tied it up at 4-4, and later took the lead for good at 8-6 after a kill by freshman opposite Maurice Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS), a Warrior attack error and a service ace by Santos. Pepperdine's lead eventually grew to 19-14 after another ace by Santos. Hawaii would get back to within one point at 19-18 after four straight points, and it was still a one-point game at 22-21 when the Waves put the game out of reach with four straight points of their own. Torres had a kill, Hawaii had an attack error, Riecks had a kill and junior middle blocker Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) had a service ace. Pepperdine eventually closed out the game on a Santos kill.
The second game was a reversal of the first in some ways, as Pepperdine went up 4-1 but lost 30-24. Hawaii came back quickly from its early deficit and went up by four at 12-8. The Waves evened the game up with four straight points, but tied at 13-13, the Warriors went on a 7-0 run. Pepperdine got no closer than two points the rest of the way.
The Waves led for a good portion of the third game, taking a three-point lead first at 12-9 on a UH hitting error and later at 19-16 after a kill by Schleppenbach. But an 8-1 run by the Warriors put the score in their favor at 24-20, and Pepperdine was unable to recover.
Schleppenbach refused to let Pepperdine go quietly, recording a remarkable 11 kills on 12 swings in the fourth-game victory. Tied 12-12 in the fourth game, he had four kills during a 7-1 run that put Pepperdine ahead 19-13. He had another three kills as the Waves scored five straight to take a double-digit lead at 28-18, and the Waves went on from there to extend the match to a fifth game.
Pepperdine led for a large portion of the fifth game, taking leads of 5-3 and 9-6. But the Warriors scored three straight points to tie it at 9-9. Pepperdine went back up by two at 12-10 after a block by Riecks and sophomore middle blocker Matt Pollock (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg HS), but Hawaii tied it again at 13-13. A kill by Schleppenbach gave Pepperdine its only match point at 14-13, but two straight kills by Umlauft put Hawaii ahead. They held on to the advantage and eventually won the contest on their third match point.
The top four seeds all advanced to next week's MPSF semifinals at Stanford: #1 Stanford, #2 BYU, #3 Cal State Northridge and #4 Hawaii.