Pepperdine Opens 2017 with McKendree, McMaster at Home
This will be the first time the Waves face both of these squads.
MALIBU, Calif.: – The No. 5 Pepperdine men’s volleyball program enters the 2017 campaign this week with the squad’s home opener against McKendree. The Waves then host Canada’s McMaster on Thursday and Friday in Firestone Fieldhouse.
MATCH 1 – Wednesday (January 4) at Firestone Fieldhouse - Malibu, Calif.: No. 5 Pepperdine vs. McKendree, at 7 p.m.
EXHIBITION MATCH 1 – Thursday (January 5) at Firestone Fieldhouse - Malibu, Calif.: No. 5 Pepperdine vs. McMaster, at 2 p.m.
EXHIBITION MATCH 2 – Friday (January 6) at Firestone Fieldhouse - Malibu, Calif.: No. 5 Pepperdine vs. McMaster, at 7 p.m.
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 PepperdineSports.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.
NO. 5 WAVES – After finishing the 2016 season with a 13-11 record and ranking 7th in the nation, the Waves picked up 221 votes in the AVCA preseason coaches poll to rank No. 5 overall. Ohio State topped the poll with 23 first-place votes after winning the national title last season. The MPSF poll posted BYU in the top spot with nine first-place votes and UCLA second with three, while LBSU, UC Irvine, and Pepperdine close out the top-five.
KEY RETURNERS – The Waves return 17 members from the previous squad and lost only two key starters, rounding out the current team at 23-players. Of the returners four plus the libero are returning starters, including redshirt-sophomore David Wieczorek. Six-foot-eight, Wieczorek, earned a spot on the All-MPSF second team and All-Freshman teams last season, while also garnering OffTheBlock/Springbak, Inc. Fan Choice National Player of the Year in 2016.
Also returning is six-foot-seven senior middle blocker Mitchell Penning. Penning has been a two-year starter in the middle for the Waves and has been strong in the classroom as well, picking up MPSF All-Academic honors in 2016. Another returner from the outside is six-foot-four junior outside hitter Colby Harriman. Primary libero Weston Barnes will also return.
NEWCOMERS – The team will welcome six newcomers including three freshmen and two transfers, and one new-but-old face as senior Kyle Suppes rejoins the squad. Suppes was a member of the Waves’ team from 2013-15 seasons. Junior transfers Alex Harthaller and Owen Yoshimoto, a redshirt junior, joined the team this fall. Six-foot-six Harthaller will compete for an outside hitter position, while six-foot-two Yoshimoto is looking to make an impact in the back row.
The three freshmen include Noah Dyer, Robert Mullahey and Sam Bradley. Dyer played for the U.S. Youth National Team in 2015 and was named a Junior Open All-American in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
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.
OPPONENT NOTES: MCKENDREE – Last season, McKendree posted an 11-14 overall record, with a 6-11 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) record. The Bearcats went 2-7 at home, 8-7 on the road and 1-0 in a neutral setting. The team clinched their first postseason berth in program history advancing to the semifinal round of the MIVA Tournament after upsetting No. 11 Ball State in the first round. McKendree closed out the season after falling to the eventual national champion Buckeyes of Ohio State University 3-1 in their semifinal matchup. This will be the first time the Waves and Bearcats go head-to-head.
OPPONENT NOTES: MCMASTER – McMaster is one of the premier Canadian teams currently in the middle of their season. The Marauders have amassed an untarnished 6-0 record to start the campaign, including a straight-set sweep over returning NCAA national champions Ohio State on December 30. The team is currently ranked No. 2 in Canada and is actively contending for the top-spot.
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.