Press Release courtesy of Pepperdine Athletics
The Pepperdine women’s volleyball team returns to Firestone Fieldhouse this week for the next installment of West Coast Conference competition, hosting Portland and Gonzaga in Firestone Fieldhouse. All matches will stream live on TheW.tv.
MATCH #26 — Thursday (November 2) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: Pepperdine vs. Portland at 7 p.m. (PT).
MATCH #27 — Saturday (November 4) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: Pepperdine vs. Gonzaga at 12 p.m. (PT).
LIVE — The 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 — This season, Pepperdine has posted a 13-12 overall record and a 5-7 West Coast Conference record. At home, the Waves have amassed a 7-5 record, while amassing a 3-6 record on the road and 3-1 output on neutral courts. Pepperdine averages 13.45 kills/set on a .218 output, along with 12.71 assists/set, 1.43 aces/set, 16.11 digs/set and 2.68 blocks/set this season.
RECORD WATCH, TAKE TWO — For the second consecutive season, sophomore Jasmine Gross is in a position to break the single-season block record. Last season, she became the Pepperdine women’s volleyball single season block leader for the rally scoring era with 154 total blocks in 115 sets played. That record had stood since 2005 when Sophia Milo posted 143 in a single season with 104 sets played. She was four-blocks shy of overcoming the all-time record, which was set during the sideout scoring era in back-to-back seasons in 1991 and 1992 at 158. Lesli Asplund set it first in ’91 after 111 sets played and Barbara Stross did it in the following season in 109 sets played.
This season, Gross’ block output currently stands at 147 (21 solo, 126 assists), seven blocks shy of tying the record she set in 2016 for the rally scoring era and eight away from breaking it. She is then 11-blocks away from tying the all-time record (including both rally scoring and sideout scoring eras) and 12-away from breaking it. The Waves have played 96 sets this season and with six matches left to play there are 18 sets possible to be played.
Gross averages 1.53 blocks/set at this point in the season, which also currently ranks atop the single-season blocks/set average which was set at 1.38 by Milo in 2005; and for the all-time record which was set in 1992 at 1.45 by Stross.
AMONG THE RANKS — As a team, the Waves rank in the top-36 nationally in six categories overall, highlighted by a No. 11 ranking with 257.0 total team blocks. The Waves also rank 27th in blocks/set (2.68), 29th in both team assists (1,220) and attacks/set (37.95) and 36th in both team kills (1,291) and total attacks (3,643). Jasmine Gross ranks 3rd nationally with 147 total blocks and 10th with 1.53 blocks/set. Gross and Hannah Frohling collectively rank in 12-categories.
RETURNING IMPACT — Pepperdine has a wealth of returning players this season, including sophomores Jasmine Gross, Hannah Frohling and Hana Lishman, junior Heidi Dyer and senior Ashley Harris.
Gross is a leader on the court for the Waves, producing 1.53 blocks/set after posting 147 total blocks (21 solos) this season thus far. She also has marked 2.98 kills/set on a .342 success rate, 0.14 aces/set and 0.98 digs/set. Frohling leads the Waves’ offensive with 3.55 kills/set on a .206 output and 0.30 aces/set. She also has put up 2.49 digs/set and 0.47 blocks/set. Lishman is big in the back row with 3.92 digs/set after tabbing 329 total digs. She also adds 0.32 aces/set with 26 aces.
Dyer is an all-around impact for Pepperdine, whether she’s playing outside, right side or setting. She posts 1.51 kills/set, 5.67 assists/set, 0.17 aces/set, 2.20 digs/set and 0.69 blocks/set for the Waves this season. Harris is strong outside or on the right, putting up 1.71 kills/set and adding 0.86 blocks/set.
NEWCOMER TALENT — Newcomers Blossom Sato and Alli O’Harra have made quite the impact this season. Junior transfer Sato leads the team with 9.23 assists/set after putting up 526 assists. She adds 0.26 kills/set, 0.25 aces/set, 2.72 digs/set and 0.26 blocks/set for the Waves. Freshman O’Harra serves the Waves in the middle, posting 1.58 kills/set on a .239 success rate, along with 0.95 blocks/set.
LAST WEEK — The Waves split a road trip up north last week, sweeping Saint Mary’s in straights sets and falling to Pacific in four. Against SMC, the Waves marked 25-19, 25-19 and 25-20 set scores for the WCC victory, amassing 43 kills on a .265 success rate and 11.0 team blocks. The Gaels were good for 40 kills on a .149 clip along with 5.0 team blocks throughout the match. Jasmine Gross had her fourth double-figure block match of the season with 10 including two solo rejections, and added eight kills on a .300 output. Heidi Dyer led the team with 12 kills and added an ace and four blocks, while Blossom Sato had a team-high 28 assists and 12 digs and Hana Lishman amassed a tied career-high three aces.
At Pacific, the teams split the first two sets with a 25-22 first set Pacific win and a 25-14 second set Waves win. The Tigers then amassed 25-21 and 25-15 set scores to collect the win, helped by 56 kills on a .176 success rate along with three aces, 75 digs and 7.0 team blocks. The Waves marked 47 kills on a 1.85 hitting percentage, while tallying one ace, 72 digs and 10.0 team blocks. Gross led the team again with eight blocks, while producing 14 kills on a .520 clip. Hannah Frohling led the squad with 15 kills, while Sato posted a double-double with 36 assists and 16 digs. Lishman added 19 digs and Dyer put up seven kills, seven assists, 10 digs and four blocks.
THE COMPETITION — The Waves host Portland and Gonzaga this week. Earlier this season, Pepperdine fell in five-set road-battles to each team, while all-time the Waves hold 55-6 and 53-8 respective records against the Pilots and Zags.
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 14-9 overall record and a 5-6 WCC record.
The Waves first faced the Bulldogs in 1987 when they won the first match 3-0 and the next nine to follow. The longest Pepperdine 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 13-10 overall and 8-3 among conference opponents.
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.