Men's Volleyball to Host Cal Lutheran for 2018 Home Opener

Team (Photo by Martin A. Folb)
Jan. 5, 2018

GAME NOTES

MALIBU, Calif. –
The Pepperdine men’s volleyball team opens the 2018 campaign on Sunday night as the Waves host Cal Lutheran in Firestone Fieldhouse. The match will be Head Coach David Hunt’s debut match at the helm of the Waves and will stream live with WaveCasts.

MATCH 1 – Sunday (January 7) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 10 Pepperdine vs. Cal Lutheran, at 5 p.m. (PT). Watch: WaveCasts.

COVERAGE/SOCIAL MEDIA – 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 2018.  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.


 

 

TICKETS — Each match costs $10 for adults and $8 for alumni, children, seniors and non-Pepperdine students.  Tickets are free for Pepperdine students, faculty and staff with a valid Pepperdine ID.  Purchase tickets in advance at 866-WAVE-TIX or at the ticket office on game day.

UP NEXT – After the match on Sunday, the Waves will remain at home for the following two matches as the team hosts No. 7 UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara (RV) on Sunday, Jan. 14 and Saturday, Jan. 20 respectively in Firestone Fieldhouse.

THE NO. 10 WAVES – Pepperdine opens the season ranked 10th in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll and tied for 3rd alongside Stanford in the MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll. 

KEY RETURNERS – The Waves return 14 letterwinners and lost nine, including four returning starters and a libero and two that graduated.  Pepperdine has five seniors this season including middle blocker Clay Carr, outside hitters Alex Harthaller and Colby Harriman and redshirt-seniors libero Weston Barnes and outside hitter Owen Yoshimoto.  Carr returns this season after posting 1.11 kills/set on a .308 clip last season and denying the opposition with 0.88 blocks/set in 76 sets played.  Harthaller marked 1.73 kills/set, 0.23 aces/set, 0.98 digs/set and 0.39 blocks/set in his 44 sets played last season and Harriman posted 1.13 kills/set on a .276 hitting percentage last season in 38 sets played.  Barnes tallied 70 sets played last season, while leading the team with 2.01 digs/set.  Yoshimoto played in 26 sets and posted 1.31 digs/set when playing libero.

The juniors returning for the Waves are outside hitters David Wieczorek, Michael Wexter and Kaleb Denmark and libero/defensive specialist Nolan Sharp.  Wieczorek returns as the most decorated starter after earning AVCA All-American honorable mention honors as well as Volleyball Magazine All-American honorable mention, All-MPSF first team and Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Fan Choice National Player of the Year for the second-straight season.  Last season, he posted 3.86 kills/set on a .354 success rate, while marking 0.21 aces/set, 1.11 digs/set and 0.59 blocks/set. 

Wexter was solid on the right side with 2.53 kills/set on a .225 clip, along with 0.25 aces/set, 1.63 digs/set and 0.58 blocks/set.  Sharp came in for defensive support in 18 sets and produced 0.44 digs/set.

The Waves also return one starting sophomore, Noah Dyer.  In his 78 total sets played in his freshman season, Dyer marked 1.79 kills/set on a .209 output, while adding 0.97 digs/set and 0.44 blocks/set.

NEW FACES – The Waves return three letterwinners that have taken redshirt seasons with Daniel Vaziri, Jack Cole and Robert Mullahey.  Vaziri and Cole are middle blockers and Mullahey is a setter for the Waves.

Pepperdine added seven freshmen to the roster this season with setters Jon Minsberg and Ben Hancock, liberos Spencer Wickens and Zac Norvid, outside hitters Alex Gettinger and Troy Magorien and middle blocker/opposite combination Mason Tyler.

NEW MPSF – Prior to the 2018 season, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation split into two separate conference leagues (MPSF and Big West).  Pepperdine, along with Brigham Young, Stanford, UCLA and USC remained in the MPSF.  New additions Concordia-Irvine and Grand Canyon also joined the conference in 2018 to make it a seven-team league.  

Former MPSF-members Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and Hawai’i, along with NCAA Division II member UC San Diego will make up a six-team league sponsored by the Big West Conference.

LAST SEASON – In 2017, the Waves finished 6th in the MPSF and 8th nationally with a 10-12 overall record and 8-10 conference output.  The team produced 12.14 kills/set on a .279 clip and tabbed 11.38 assists/set, 1.05 aces/set, 9.06 digs/set, 2.31 blocks/set and 15.49 points/set.  Throughout the 2017 campaign, the Waves posted victories over No. 8 Stanford (3-1), No. 8 Loyola-Chicago (3-2), No. 12 UC Santa Barbara (3-1) and No. 14 CSUN (3-2).

OPPONENT NOTES: CAL LUTHERAN – This is the first meeting between the Waves and Kingsmen all-time.  Last season, Cal Lutheran went 7-18 overall with a 1-7 output went playing on the road.  The team produced 11.45 kills/set on a .188 success rate, while adding 10.55 assists/set, 1.19 aces/set, 9.35 digs/set and 2.04 blocks/set.

THE HUNT IS ON – The 2018 campaign marks the premier season for David Hunt at the helm of the Waves after he was elevated to the position in July, 2017.  Hunt has been with the Pepperdine men’s volleyball program for the past 10 seasons beginning in 2007 as a video coordinator and volunteer assistant.  He was elevated to assistant in 2010 and associate head coach in 2014, before taking over the leadership role.  During his time with the Waves, Hunt has earned national acclaim as an assistant with three American Volleyball Coaches Association Thirty Under 30 Awards (2010, 2016, 2017).  While Hunt had served under former head coach Marv Dunphy, the Waves produced a 160-104 overall record for a .606 winning percentage*.  In the summer of 2016, Hunt once again joined the national coaching ranks with the U.S. Women’s National Team and helped lead Team USA to a bronze medal finish in the 2016 Olympic Games.  He first earned a spot on the sideline in 2014 and has continued to excel in a leadership position under legendary coach Karch Kiraly.

WE’RE GOOD HERE: Marv Dunphy NIGHT – In honor of his tremendous career at the helm of the Waves, Pepperdine will be hosting a dedication ceremony for the Marv Dunphy Volleyball Court prior to the men’s volleyball match against UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Jan. 20.  The dedication will take place before first serve at 5:45 p.m. in Firestone Fieldhouse.  Special edition ‘Marv Dunphy’ volleyball hats will be a giveaway to the first 1,500 fans in attendance.  Fans can share their Marvisms, memories and pictures from the night and from history by using the hashtag #MarvsArmy.

Widely recognized as one of the game’s premier coaches, Dr. Marv Dunphy directed Pepperdine to four NCAA men’s volleyball titles and concluded his 34th and final season as the Waves’ head coach in 2016-17.  He is still involved with the program and listed as head coach emeritus for the 2017-18 campaign. He 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 ended his head coaching career with a 612-277 overall record and a .688 winning percentage. 

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 20 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 at the Olympics every time since 1984 (Sean Rooney won gold in 2008).

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.

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