Bruins Fall in Five-Game Thriller at Pepperdine

Nov. 25, 2003

MALIBU, CA - UCLA dropped a five-game thriller on Tuesday night at Pepperdine's Firestone Fieldhouse, falling to the fourth-ranked Waves 32-34, 30-18, 32-34, 30-20, 15-7. Junior Brynn Murphy had a career-high 23 kills and 24.5 points for the Bruins in the match. With the win, the Waves improve to 25-2, while the Bruins fall to 21-8.

UCLA took a quick 2-0 lead early in the first game and would not look back, extending the lead to as many as five points with a 21-16 lead, when Pepperdine took its first time out of the game. UCLA was hitting over .400 for much of the opening game, and at the 21-16 mark had four players with a team-high three kills, including Brittany Ringel, Nancy Barba, Brynn Murphy and Heather Cullen.

The Waves immediately responded to the time out, putting together a three-point run to close the Bruin lead to two points, and would eventually close to one point at 23-22, but UCLA extended the lead back to 26-23, forcing the Waves into their final timeout of the game. Again, the Waves would respond to head coach Nina Matthies' time out, roaring back with three straight kills to tie the score at 26-all, when UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski called his first timeout of the game. A Brittany Ringel kill coming out of the timeout gave the Bruins the lead again, but it would be a back-and-forth battle from there.

UCLA had service errors on its first game point attempt at 29-28, and the next two Bruin servers followed suit. On UCLA's fourth game point, Krystal McFarland was able to get her serve in bounds successfully, but Pepperdine responded with a Katy Daly kill to tie the game at 32-all. A Wave hitting error would give the Bruins their fifth game point, at which time Banachowski subbed the teams' best server, Becky Green, in for Heather Cullen. Green responded with the team's third service ace of the game to give UCLA the 34-32 opening game win. Murphy led the Bruins with six kills in the opening game, and UCLA had five hitters over a .300 attack percentage for a team percentage of .358 in the game.

Pepperdine started hot in the second game of the match, sprinting to 8-4 and 12-6 leads while hitting .500 as a team in the game. However, after the Bruins called their first timeout at 12-6, UCLA started to come back, scoring four straight to pull within three and force Pepperdine into a timeout of their own at 14-11. Between the two timeouts, the Waves team attack percentage in the game dropped by 200 points, from .500 to .200. Pepperdine again responded to the timeout, scoring five straight points to take an eight-point lead. UCLA took its final timeout trailing 23-13, but was unable to fight back, losing 30-18 as the teams went to the locker rooms tied at one game apiece.

Game three saw the teams battle closely, with the Bruins taking an early lead, but the Waves kept within two points and were able to tie the game at 17-all, at which point Banachowski called his first timeout of game three. From there, his Bruins would score the next two points, but Pepperdine came back to tie the game at 19-all before a Wave service error and Nancy Barba kill gave the Bruins a 21-19 lead and prompted Pepperdine to call its first timeout of the game. The Waves came back to tie at 21-all, then the teams traded two-point runs before kills from Colby Lyman and Krystal McFarland and a service ace by Haley Jorgensborg put the Bruins up 26-23 with Pepperdine calling its final timeout of the game. A Brynn Murphy kill coming out of the timeout would keep the Bruin run going for a 27-23 lead, but the Waves would then take advantage of two Bruin errors and a jump-serve ace by Katie Wilkins to close within one point, with UCLA taking its final timeout leading 27-26. Another ace coming out of the timeout tied the game.

From there, the game very much resembled game one. The Waves would take a 29-28 lead to earn the first of four game points, but Heather Cullen earned a kill to tie the game, and Brittany Ringel fought off the next three Pepperdine game points with kills, bringing the score to 32-all. She would then step back to serve, prompting consecutive Brynn Murphy kills gave the Bruins the 34-32 third game victory.

The Bruins scored the first point of game four on a Brittany Ringel kill, but the Waves stormed back to take a 5-1 lead, leading Banachowski to take a timeout. The Bruins were able to close the gap to three points at 10-7, but from there the Waves put together another scoring run, and Banachwoski called his final timeout with his team trailing 14-7. UCLA would again begin to close the gap, with Pepperdine calling a timeout with a 19-14 lead after the Bruins had put together a three-point run. The Waves would close out the game win with a six-point run for the 30-20 win that sent the match to a fifth and deciding game. To that point, the Bruins were led by a career-high night from Brittany Ringel with 23 kills, while Brittany Ringel (18) and Nancy Barba (10) also had double-figure kills.

Game five was another see-saw affair, with the teams trading leads early. The Bruins scored the first point on a Brittany Ringel kill, then the teams traded points before the Waves took a 3-2 lead. UCLA then responded with a three-point run to take a 5-3 lead before Pepperdine responded with a three-point run of its own to take a 6-5 advantage at which point Banachowski took his first timeout of the game. The teams would switch sides of the floor with the Waves leading 8-5, and the scoring run would continue to seven straight Pepperdine points and a 10-5 Wave lead, at which point Banachowski called his last timeout of the match, but it was not enough to change the momentum as the Waves took the game and the match, 15-7.

UCLA finished with three players having double-figure kills, led by a career-high 23 kills by Brynn Murphy. Murphy hit .400 for the match, recording just five errors on 45 total attacks. Brittany Ringel with a season-high 19 kills. Nancy Barba also had a season-high 10 kills in the match. Junior libero Chrissie Zartman led the Bruins with 22 digs in the match.

The Bruins now await NCAA Tournament selection to determine their next opponent and game location. The 2003 NCAA Championship field will be announced on this Sunday, November 30, at 5 pm Pacific Time on ESPNEWS.

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