The No. 5-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team hits the road this week, trekking to the Illinois to challenge No. 8 Loyola-Chicago in the city on Friday and No. 9 Lewis in Romeoville on Saturday.
MATCH 2 – Friday (January 13) at Gentile Arena in Chicago, Ill.: No. 5 Pepperdine (1-0) vs. No. 8 Loyola-Chicago (2-1), at 5 p.m. (PT)
MATCH 3 – Saturday (January 14) at Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville, Ill.: No. 5 Pepperdine vs. No. 9 Lewis (1-1), at 5 p.m. (PT).
COVERAGE – Not able to make the trip to Illinois? No problem – both matches will be streamed live and links are available on PepperdineWaves.com. The match at #8 Loyola-Chicago will be streamed on ESPN3, while the match at #9 Lewis will be available on the GLVC Sports Network.
SOCIAL MEDIA – Follow men’s volleyball on Twitter and Facebook, @PeppVolleyball. Stay tuned into all Pepperdine Athletics on Instagram, @PepperdineWaves, and follow the Waves on YouTube for match highlights and special features.
THE NO. 5 WAVES – Pepperdine opened the 2017 campaign with a thrilling reverse sweep win over McKendree of Lebanon, Ill. As a team, the Waves posted 13.40 kills/set, 11.80 assists/set, 1.40 aces/set, 8.60 digs/set and 1.60 blocks/set against opponents, while producing a .350 success rate on the offensive. The Waves allowed the opposition 11.80 kills/set, 10.80 assists/set, 0.80 aces/set, 8.60 digs/set and 1.60 blocks/set throughout the match, while offering up a .339 hitting percentage after five sets played.
WAVES’ FIRST ROLL – In the opening week, the Waves took home three wins, first downing McKendree in reverse sweep fashion, before defeating Canada’s second-ranked McMaster on back-to-back nights, first in five sets and then in four. Against McKendree, the Waves went down 25-23 and 25-18 in the first two sets, but caught the energy after and battled towards 25-14, 25-21 and 15-11 wins to secure the season-opening victory. Pepperdine was good for 67 kills with only 19 errors on 137 total swings for a .350 attack output. The Waves also collected seven aces, 43 digs and 8.0 team blocks. David Wieczorek led the squad with 19 kills on a .581 success rate, while Michael Wexter worked all around the court for 17 kills, three aces, seven digs and four blocks. Joshua Stewart was the primary playmaker with 52 assists and picked up his first double-double of the season with 11 digs. Mitchell Penning and Noah Dyer tied the team-high with five blocks while posting 14 and 10 kills respectively.
In the Waves second match-up, the team came out strong against McMaster, working towards a 25-13 first set win. The Marauders then fought through the second and came away with a close 26-24 win to tie the match. The two teams then split the next sets, 25-20 to Pepperdine and 25-18 to McMaster, to send the match to a fifth set. In the fifth, the Waves worked ahead late and amassed a 15-12 set win. Pepperdine out-blocked McMaster 12.5 to 11.0, while producing 50 kills to 46 and a .205 hitting percentage compared to the Marauders .139. Wieczorek led the Waves with 20 kills and picked up a double-double with 10 digs, while Colby Harriman and Alex Harthaller had 12 apiece. Max Chamberlainled the squad with six blocks and Harthaller also posted three aces.
In the third and final match, the Waves were feeling more comfortable, working ahead 25-23 early. The Marauders answered with a 25-15 set two win, but the home team shut the door after that, prevailing with 25-19 and 25-14 final set scores for the victory. Pepperdine outhit the opposition 49 to 44 and .209 to .200, but the teams were even in digs with 47 and McMaster had the edge on the net with 10.5 blocks to the Waves’ 7.0. Dyer led the offensive with 13 kills, while Penning impressed with a .533 hitting percentage on 10 kills and two aces. Chamberlain once again led the team with six blocks and Harthaller produced the double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs.
OPPONENT NOTES: #8 LOYOLA-CHICAGO RAMBLERS – The Ramblers currently rank eight in the AVCA Coaches Poll and have gone 2-1 overall to begin the 2017 campaign. The Waves have only faced Loyola University Chicago once in 2004 when the Waves won the competition in straight sets. This season, the Ramblers have produced 12.40 kills/set on top of a .295 hitting percentage, 11.70 assists/set, 1.80 aces/set, 8.90 digs/set and 2.00 blocks/set. The squad dropped the first match of the season to No. 2 UCLA, but answered the following two matches with a straight-set win over NJIT and a four-set victory over No. 3 BYU.
OPPONENT NOTES: #9 LEWIS FLYERS – The Flyers split 1-1 to open the new season, first falling in three to BYU, before downing NJIT in a four-setter. Pepperdine and Lewis have gone head-to-head on four occasions, splitting the record with two wins apiece. The Flyers took the first-ever meeting in 2003 on neutral ground in five sets, while the Waves won in the following year in three. Then on two back-to-back evenings in 2012, Lewis won the first night in four sets and Pepperdine won the second night in five. The Flyers have put up a .380 attack output so far this season and average 12.57 kills/set, 11.86 assists/set, 1.43 aces/set, 6.29 digs/set and 2.50 blocks/set against opponents.
LAST SEASON HIGHLIGHTS – In the 2016 season, the Waves went 13-11 overall and 12-10 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, tabbing a 7-5 record at home and an even 6-6 output in away venues. The squad went 8-10 against nationally ranked opponents, highlighting the season with road wins over top-ranked BYU in four sets and 3rd-ranked Stanford in a reverse sweep towards the end of the season. The Waves were road warriors during the year, defeating No. 3 Stanford in reverse-sweep fashion on the road in one week before downing top-ranked BYU in four sets in the following week.
VOLLEYBALL HISTORY – Pepperdine has won five NCAA men’s volleyball championships, second only to UCLA. The Waves have won the MPSF Tournament three times and have won or shared 10 regular-season conference titles. Pepperdine has won either an MPSF regular-season or tournament title (or both) in six of the last 15 seasons. The Waves have finished in the top six in the final AVCA poll in 16 of the last 19 seasons. Pepperdine student-athletes have won national player of the year honors nine times and All-American accolades 82 times. A Pepperdine alum has competed for the U.S. at the Olympics every time since 1984 (Sean Rooney won gold in 2008).
MARV DUNPHY – Now in his 34th season as head coach of the Waves, Marv Dunphy has time and again proven himself to be one of the top teachers in the sport. He has directed Pepperdine to four NCAA championships, each in a different decade (1978, 1985, 1992, 2005). He was the 2005 National Coach of the Year and is a three-time MPSF Coach of the Year. He entered the 2017 season with a career record of 602-265 (.694). Dunphy has long been involved with USA Volleyball, having been part of the coaching staff at seven Olympics, including head coach of the 1988 team and consultant coach for the 2008 squad, both of which won gold. Dunphy, along with David Hunt and Joe Trinsey, were on staff when the U.S. Women’s National Team won their first-ever gold medal at a major event (including the Olympics), after winning the 2014 FIVB World Championships. He and Hunt were also a part of the coaching staff with the most recent 2016 U.S. Women’s National Team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the pair helped lead the team to a Bronze medal. He has been inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame (1994), AVCA Hall of Fame (2009) and the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame (2010).
ABOUT PEPPERDINE – Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I Championships in five different men’s sports — one of just 17 schools to have accomplished this feat — and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment, is the only school without football and is the only university that has not been affiliated with a “major” conference. The Waves have won a total of 25 team or individual national championships in their history. Pepperdine has also earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that’s given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation’s most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks No. 50 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.
News courtesy of Pepperdine Athletics.