Press Release courtesy of Sarah Otteman, Pepperdine Athletics.
The Pepperdine women’s volleyball team returns to the road with a pair of West Coast Conference matches against northern-opponents Gonzaga and Portland on October 5 and 7 respectively. The matches will stream live on TheW.tv.
MATCH #18 — Thursday (October 5) at Martin Centre in Spokane, Wash.: Pepperdine vs. Gonzaga at 6 p.m. (PT).
MATCH #19 — Saturday (October 7) at Chiles Center in Portland, Ore.: Pepperdine vs. Portland at 12 p.m. (PT).
LIVE — The matches will stream live on TheW.tv. All Pepperdine home matches will stream live on TheW.tv. Direct links for all matches, including live statistics can be found on PepperdineWaves.com.
SOCIAL MEDIA — Follow @WavesVolleyball on Twitter for updates and check out PepperdineWaves.com and Facebook (/WavesVolleyball) for releases and more information.
BY THE NUMBERS — Pepperdine has posted an 11-6 overall record and 3-1 West Coast Conference record this season thus far. The team has gone 6-2 at home, 2-3 on the road and 3-1 on neutral hardwood. As a team, the Waves have marked 13.89 kills/set on a .225 clip, while adding 13.14 assists/set, 1.56 aces/set, 15.94 digs/set and 2.70 blocks/set. The Waves have allowed opponents 13.19 kills/set on a .197 output, along with 1.16 aces/set, 12.41 assists/set, 16.08 digs/set and 2.67 blocks/set on average
RETURNING IMPACT — The Waves have a wealth of returners making an impact on the court this season, including senior Ashley Harris, juniors Nikki Lyons and Heidi Dyer and sophomores Jasmine Gross, Hannah Frohling and Hana Lishman. Harris puts up 1.70 kills/set and 0.89 blocks/set for the Waves. Lyons is good for 2.96 kills/set, 0.22 aces/set, 2.48 digs/set and 0.34 blocks/set, while Dyer has put up 1.47 kills/set, 5.47 assists/set, 0.20 aces/set, 1.83 digs/set and 0.68 block/set. She opened the season on the right side, but has since began a role as the Waves’ primary setter.
The sophomore presence is key. Gross leads the team and ranks 6th nationally with 93 total blocks and 23rd with 1.47 blocks/set. She is also second on the team with 3.10 kills/set while leading the Waves with a .346 hitting percentage. Frohling owns the team-high 3.59 kills/set with 226 total smashes on 648 attempts. She also leads the squad with 20 total aces to average 0.32 aces/set, and produces 2.71 digs/set and 0.51 blocks/set. Lastly, Lishman is instrumental in the back row with a team-high 3.78 digs/set after digging up 193 total digs. She has also marked 0.27 aces/set after 14 total aces.
NEWCOMER TALENT — Pepperdine has key newcomers on the squad this season as well, as junior transfer Blossom Sato and freshman Alli O’Harra are big players. O’Harra is solid in the middle with 1.04 blocks/set after marking 54 total blocks including nine solo rejections this season. She also puts up 1.90 kills/set on a .251 output. Sato leads the team with 11.17 assists/set and has posted 0.31 aces/set, 2.71 digs/set and 0.31 blocks/set.
LAST WEEK — The Waves went 2-1 last week, with strong performances against 9th-ranked BYU in Provo and 3-1 wins at home against Pacific and Saint Mary’s. Against BYU, the Waves split the first two sets, falling 17-25 in the first but winning the second 25-18 to tie it up. The Cougars then posted a pair of 25-21 set wins to clinch the victory. The Waves put up a .227 hitting percentage with 59 kills, 56 assists, four aces, 72 digs and 9.0 team blocks. Hannah Frohling led the team with 19 kills on a .381 success rate, while adding six blocks and an ace. Nikki Lyons and Alli O’Harra also hit for double-figures with 13 and 10 kills respectively and Heidi Dyer served as the primary playmaker with 46 assists and 14 digs.. Jasmine Gross led the team with seven blocks, while putting up eight kills and Jaiden Farr led the team with a career-high 25 digs.
After returning to Malibu, the Waves downed Pacific in four sets. The Waves won the first two sets with 25-22 and 25-18 set wins. Then, the Tigers won the third set 25-18, but Pepperdine rallied with a 27-25 set four win to end the match. The team put up a .201 success rate on 56 kills, while adding 54 assists, four aces, 67 digs and an impressive 17.0 team blocks. Frohling, Lyons and Gross led the team with double-doubles. Frohling posted 17 kills and 10 blocks, Lyons added 10 kills and 14 digs and Gross was solid with 11 kills and 10 blocks. Dyer put up 47 assists, three kills, seven digs and seven blocks in an all-around effort and Farr led the team with 20 digs.
In the final match of the week, a 3-1 win over Saint Mary’s, the Waves put up 25-18, 23-25, 25-20 and 25-18 set scores for the win. Pepperdine marked a .319 hitting percentage on 61 smashes, while putting up seven aces, 64 digs and 10.0 team blocks. Gross led the squad with a career-high 18 kills on a .484 clip, along with six blocks and an ace. Frohling and Lyons tabbed double-doubles with 16 kills, 11 digs and 11 kills, 12 digs respectively. Hana Lishman made her return with 19 digs and led the squad with two aces.
THE COMPETITION — The Waves will take on Gonzaga and Portland up north this week, with both teams ranked atop the WCC poll with the Zags tied for first and the Pilots tied for third. The Waves have winning records against each squad with a 53-7 all-time record against Gonzaga and a 55-5 all-time record against Portland. Pepperdine first faced the Bulldogs in 1987 when they won the first match 3-0 and the next nine to follow. The longest Waves’ winning streak came from 1997-2013 when the team won 34-streak matches. Last season, the Bulldogs won both with 3-1 and 3-2 final marks. This season, the Zags have gone 9-7 overall and 4-0 in the WCC with two 3-2 wins last week against Santa Clara and San Francisco.
Pepperdine first faced Portland in 1987 when the Waves won the first contest 3-0 and the next nine to follow. The longest Waves’ winning streak came from 1995-2015 when the team won 41-consecutive matches. This season, the Pilots have posted a 12-4 overall record and a 3-1 record in the conference with recent 3-2 wins at San Francisco and Santa Clara last week.
SNAPCHAT FAMOUS — The NCAA rolled out a new initiative highlighting a day in the life of a student-athlete on Snapchat for the first time on the Waves’ game day with Long Beach State. Pepperdine, with Hannah Frohling at the helm, took over the controls of @ncaasports Snapchat on September 12 and showed the masses what it is to be a student-athlete in Malibu.
HEIDI DYER, THE TITANIUM WOMAN — Junior Heidi Dyer had an interesting road to NCAA Division I athletics and AVCA Beach All-American status. When she was 12, a major scoliosis curve of over 60 percent forced her to get corrective surgery. She had two titanium rods fused to her spine to keep her back straight. Despite her parents being told she would never play volleyball again and may never walk again, she defied all odds and became one of Pepperdine beach and indoor volleyball student-athletes. During the NCAA Beach Volleyball National Championships last season, TurnerSports and NCAA.com did a feature piece on her that streamed throughout the NCAA tournament and aired on TBS. It was voted one of the top-10 features on NCAA.com last season.
SATO NATION — Junior Blossom Sato comes from the very well-known Sato volleyball dynasty. Her mother Liane was a member of the US Women’s National Team in 1988 and 1992 when the team captured the Olympic Games bronze medal. She now coaches Santa Monica High School. Her uncles Eric and Gary were also standouts in the sport, playing or coaching alongside legendary Pepperdine men’s volleyball coach Marv Dunpnhy for Team USA when the squad won the gold in 1988. Eric was a member of the 1988 US Men’s National Team that claimed gold and the 1992 squad that earned bronze. Gary, who is now an assistant for USC, served as the United States’ Head Coach for the 1985 FIVB World Cup gold medal finish and served as an assistant for the US Men’s National Team from 1984-88, 1992 and 2009-12.
GROSS’ IN COLLEGE ATHLETICS — Sophomore Jasmine Gross is the daughter of Aaron Gross and Susan Campbell, who both are the head coaches of West Coast Conference competitors University of Portland men’s and women’s tennis teams respectively.
SCOTT WONG — Pepperdine alum Scott Wong was named head coach in December 2014, becoming the fifth head coach in program history. In first two seasons at the helm of the Waves, he amassed a 30-31 overall record for Pepperdine. He was an assistant with the Waves’ men’s program from 2005-09 (and was part of the 2005 NCAA championship-winning team) before moving back to his home state of Hawaii and serving as associate coach with the Rainbows’ women’s squad for five seasons. He was also Hawaii’s sand volleyball head coach. Wong was a three-time All-American with the Waves between 1998-01.
INDOOR VOLLEYBALL HISTORY — The Pepperdine women’s volleyball program is synonymous with the word excellence, as the Waves are a perennial national power. The Waves have advanced to postseason play 27 times in 42 seasons, including 13 trips to the NCAA Championships in the last 20 seasons. Pepperdine’s best finishes in recent years came when the team made the regional final of the NCAA Tournament in 2002 and again in 2011. Ten players have earned AVCA or Volleyball Magazine All-American honors a combined 19 times, while six players have been dubbed the WCC Player of the Year nine total times. Nina Matthies, who stepped down after the 2013 season, was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame in December, 2015.
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.