Missouri State’s volleyball team lost at 18th-ranked and 15th-seeded Pepperdine Thursday night by scores of 25-22, 25-21, 25-16 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Malibu, Calif. The Bears end their season with a seventh NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003, going 22-9 for a 13th consecutive 20-win season.
Missouri State quickly found itself in a 7-2 hole in the first set but climbed back for a 10-10 tie thanks to two kills from Calli Norman, another from Christine McCartney and a Pepperdine attack error. The teams traded points before the Waves went on a 7-1 run to lead 18-12. Norman and Karen Rivatto hit consecutive kills to pull to 20-16, and a Carly Thomas kill followed by her and Amber Doolittle teaming up for a block made it 22-19. The Bears closed to 23-21, and a Doolittle kill spoiled Pepperdine’s first set point before the Waves ended the set with a kill to hit .310 for the period.
The Bears fell behind 4-0 to begin the second set and saw the deficit grow to six points at 13-7 following a 4-1 Pepperdine run. Two Thomas kills and a Pepperdine attack error cut the Waves’ lead to four points on three occasions before the home team scored three straight to lead 18-11. Missouri State scored the next two points and consecutive McCartney kills followed by Ashley Mason’s service ace pulled the Bears to 19-16. The Waves slammed to kills to answer and led 24-19 when MSU fought off two set points before the Waves finished it with a kill.
Norman had a block and two kills to help the Bears to a 3-1 lead in the third, and the set was tied at points 3-7 before two Pepperdine kills and three MSU attack errors made up a 5-0 run for the Waves that resulted in an 11-7 score. Then from 13-10, Pepperdine used five kills, three blocks and two aces to extend its advantage to 23-12. The Bears fended off three more set points but the double-digit deficit proved too much to overcome.