The 9th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team returns home to Firestone Fieldhouse this week as the Waves host 3rd-ranked BYUon Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. Watch live with WaveCasts on TheW.tv.
MATCH 14 – Friday (March 10) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 9 Pepperdine (6-7, 4-6 MPSF) vs. No. 3 BYU (15-2, 9-1 MPSF), at 7 p.m. (PT). Watch: Wavecasts on TheW.tv.
MATCH 15 – Saturday (March 11) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 9 Pepperdine vs. No. 3 BYU, at 7 p.m. (PT). Watch: Wavecasts on TheW.tv.
COVERAGE – Can’t make it out to the match? No problem! PepperdineWaves.com offers a wide variety of FREE options to follow along with all your favorite teams. WaveCasts broadcasts all home matches for free on your computer or mobile device. Veteran play-by-play announcer Al Epstein will once again serve as the voice of Pepperdine volleyball in 2017. Links to any available live stats, video and audio can always be found by clicking on a particular event on the men’s volleyball schedule page at PepperdineWaves.com.
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.
TICKETS – Admission to home matches is $8 for adults and $5 for alumni, children, seniors and students. Admission to regular-season home events is free for Pepperdine students, faculty and staff with a valid Pepperdine ID. Call the Ticket Office at (866) WAVE-TIX for more information.
UP NEXT – After the brief home-stint, the Waves will return to the road with a short trip to CSUN on March 15 and a longer trip to Stanford on March 18.
THE NO. 9 WAVES – The Waves currently rank 9th in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week after going 6-7 against opponents, including 4-6 in MPSF action. Pepperdine posts a .276 success rate with 12.17 kills/set on average, along with 11.48 assists/set, 1.13 aces/set, 8.93 digs/set and 2.32 blocks/set.
David Wieczorek leads the team with 3.61 kills/set on a .337 hitting percentage, averaging 4.11 points/set. He also posts 1.00 digs/set, 0.57 blocks/set and 0.20 aces/set in an all-around performance. Mitchell Penning leads the Waves with 1.08 blocks/set this season. His blocks/set average ranks 8th in the nation and 2nd in the MPSF at this point in the season. Penning also adds 1.71 kills/set on a team-high .444 hitting percentage. Michael Wexter posts 2.62 kills/set on a .234 output, while leading the team with 0.31 aces/set and adding 1.52 digs/set. Joshua Stewart serves as the primary playmaker with 9.67 assists/set, while adding 0.71 blocks/set, 1.79 digs/set and 0.35 kills/set. Weston Barnes posts 2.28 digs/set as libero and has produced 82 total digs and 11 total assists this season.
LAST MATCHES – Pepperdine had a rare off-week last week, but the week prior the Waves had a two-match stint at 4th-ranked Hawai’i where the Rainbow Warriors won both in three sets apiece. In the first match, the opposition posted 25-21, 25-19 and 25-11 set wins. The team hit for a .261 output and posted two team blocks and 22 digs. Mitchell Penning led the team with 11 kills on a season-high .714 hitting percentage. He also added an ace and two blocks alongside Joshua Stewart. Stewart also led the squad with 24 assists and seven digs.
In the second match-up, the Rainbow Warriors posted 25-22, 25-18 and 28-26 set scores for the victory. The Waves were good for a .167 success rate, along with three aces, four team blocks and 34 digs. Michael Wexter led Pepperdine with 10 kills on a .222 hitting percentage, and added two aces. Weston Barnes led the team with 13 digs and Stewart posted 29 assists, six digs and two kills. Alex Harthaller also had eight digs in the match and Clay Carr led the team with three blocks.
OPPONENT NOTES: NO. 3 BYU COUGARS – Pepperdine leads Brigham Young with an all-time record of 34-27 dating back to when the two teams first faced in 1977 and the Waves won in straight sets. After that match, Pepperdine went on their longest winning-streak against the Cougars with eight-matches in a row. Last season, the Waves split the two matches in Provo, first falling in three before taking down the then-ranked No. 1 Cougars in a 3-1 upset. BYU is currently ranked 3rd in the AVCA Coaches Poll with a 15-2 overall record and is 2nd in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with a 9-1 conference record.
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.