Waves Contend with USC on Thursday

Matt West

Jan. 14, 2014

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MALIBU, Calif. - After a successful start to the 2014 season, with wins over UC Irvine and UC San Diego inside Firestone Fieldhouse, the Pepperdine men’s volleyball team tests its road strength for the first time with a visit to USC on Thursday. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the Galen Center.

COVERAGE - Both live stats and free online video will be available for the match on Jan. 16 through USCTrojans.com ... Links to available coverage can also be found on the Pepperdine men’s volleyball schedule page.

#PURPOSE - Pepperdine Athletics officially launched its “Competing with Purpose” campaign during Waves Weekend. The campaign highlights the commitment to our core values that student-athletes, coaches and staff dedicate themselves to daily. Competing with Purpose provides the foundation on which champions are built.

SOCIAL CIRCLE - In addition to team information on PepperdineSports.com, fans can also keep up with the latest surrounding the men’s volleyball team by following the squad on Twitter (@PepperdineMVB) or liking Pepperdine men’s volleyball on Facebook. Pepperdine Athletics is also on Instagram (PepperdineWaves).

LIVE FROM FIRESTONE FIELDHOUSE - Can’t make it out to the match? No problem! PepperdineSports.com offers a wide variety of FREE options to follow along with all your favorite teams. WaveCasts broadcasts most home matches for free on your computer or for a monthly subscription on mobile devices. Links to any available live stats, video and audio can always be found by clicking on a particular event on the schedule page. The Pepperdine mobile app is also available for iPhone, Android and iPad users. Download the free app today!

LOOKING BACK - Pepperdine defended its home floor impeccably last week, topping two-time defending NCAA champion UC Irvine 3-1, before shutting out UC San Diego, 3-0. The Waves offense was paced by Josh Taylor and Parker Kalmbach. Taylor led both matches, putting down 24 and 14 kills, respectively, while Kalmbach followed with 18 and 12. Even more impressive, both are hitting over .420 while averaging eight or more attack attempts per set.

NOTING THE WAVES - Thursday’s  match vs. USC will be the 1,050th match in Pepperdine history ... The Waves are officially 645-337 all time ... In conference play the Waves are officially 449-259 and 244-142 in MPSF action ... Marv Dunphy boasts an official career record of 482-240 ... The Waves are officially 344-113 when playing inside Firestone Fieldhouse.

SERIES NOTES - Pepperdine is 57-35 all-time vs. USC, dating back to 1971 ... The Waves are 21-16 when playing the Trojans on the road ... USC has won four of the last five meetings ... In 2013, the teams split a pair 3-1 decisions, each winning on their home floor.

OPPONENT NOTES - USC is 2-0 after defeating Loyola-Chicago (3-0) and UC San Diego (3-1) ... The Trojans face UC Irvine on Tuesday night before facing the Waves on Thursday ... Lucas Yoder is averaging 4.14 kills per set to lead the Trojans ... Micah Christenson leads the offense with 12.57 assists per set.

LOOKING AHEAD - Pepperdine continues life on the road, paying visits to Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State next week. The Waves return to Firestone Fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 31 to host BYU.

MPSF RANKS - Pepperdine ranks in the top-four in all major statistical categories, including first place in hitting percentage (.381) ... At least one player individual ranks in every statistical category ... Josh Taylor ranks first in kills (5.43) and points (6.14) ... Parker Kalmbach ranks fifth in kills (4.29), fifth in points (5.00) and tied for 14th in blocks (1.14) ... Both rank in the top-12 in hitting percentage ... Matt West ranks third in assists (12.29) and second in digs (3.14) ... Pepperdine’s starting middle blockers, Matt Tarantino and Nikola Antonijevic, both rank in the top eight for their blocking averages.

Josh Taylor - Josh Taylor has taken over the reigns as the Waves’ go-to offensive option ... After ranking No. 2 to Maurice Torres as a freshman and sophomore, Taylor has stepped into his new role with ease ... He’s hit .440 or higher in both matches this season ... In exhibition play, he finished two matches hitting over .500 and averaged .430 in his three matches played ... He was an All-MPSF second team pick as a sophomore and an All-Freshman selection the year prior.

Parker Kalmbach - After earning All-MPSF honorable mention accolades as a middle blocker in 2013, Kalmbach has moved over to the right side ... Like Taylor, Kalmbach has started the season with a remarkably efficient hitting percentage ... He hit for a .469 clip with 18 kills in the season opener vs. UCI, followed by a 12 kills earned at .375 performance against UCSD ... Kalmbach, who redshirted in 2012 following back surgery, began his career at Pepperdine as an outside hitter.

Matt West - Now in his third season as Pepperdine’s starting setter, Matt West continues to manage the offense with ease ... He’s set the Waves to a MPSF-best .381 team hitting percentage while averaging 12.29 assists per set ... He was named to the Lloy Ball Award watch list, an honor that is given to the nation’s best setter by Off the Block ... He earned AVCA All-American first team acclaim as a sophomore ... On defense, West leads the team with 3.14 digs while also contributing 1.00 block per set ... West was also a Volleyball Magazine second team All-American in 2013.

Brennan Anderson - Transfer Brennan Anderson joins West as the Waves’ second VBM All-American on the floor ... Anderson was a third team pick while at Ohio State last year ... He set the Buckeyes’ single-season record with a digs average of 3.12 in 2013 ... He has started both matches for the Waves, averaging 2.17 digs.

IN THE MIDDLE - Nikola Antonijevic and Matt Tarantino have been the starting middles of record thus far, with right side-turned middle J.J. Mosolf coming off the bench ... Mosolf played in two sets vs. UC San Diego and picked up four blocks ... Antonijevic threw the roof on eight times against the Anteaters, while Tarantino was credited with seven rejections ... Together they’ve helped the Waves to a 3.50 blocks per set average to rank second in the MPSF.

Kyle Gerrans - Senior Kyle Gerrans holds down the other spot on the outside ... A solid passer on serve receive, Gerrans is a solid all-around player and an important contributor ... He’s currently averaging 2.14 kills and 1.14 digs ... Despite being one of the shorter players on the floor at 6-foot-1, Gerrans is a solid threat at the net ... He’s averaging 0.71 blocks ... He boasts one of the higher serving percentages on the squad at .900 ... As a primary passer, he has the highest serve receive percentage with just one miscue in 39 attempts (.974)

EXHIBITION SEASON NOTABLES - Josh Taylor led the Waves in kills in all three of his exhibitions appearances, including 23 put aways in Pepperdine’s 3-1 win vs. British Columbia ... The outside hitter finished both matches against the Thunderbirds hitting over .500 ... Kyle Gerrans picked up a double-double with 12 kills and 12 digs against UBC (a would be career first) ... In the Waves’ first match against Alberta, Gerrans posted 11 kills, nine digs and six blocks ... The latter two stats are unofficial new career bests ... Freshman Soren Dion-Kindem started in all four contests and averaged 10.40 assists per set ... Nikola Antonijevic averaged a team-best 1.50 blocks per set including four roofs in one set of work on Sunday against the Golden Bears ... Although Pepperdine went just 2-2 during the exhibition season, several players beyond the starting seven saw valuable time on the floor.

PRESEASON MPSF POLL - With 90 points, the Waves were picked to finished sixth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in a preseason vote of the league’s 13 coaches ... BYU and Long Beach State tied for first with 126 points and three first-place votes each.

BON VOYAGE - The Waves lost one starter from last season in Maurice Torres ... Torres led Pepperdine in kills and aces in each of his four seasons in Malibu ... He also led the Waves in digs during his junior and senior campaigns ... Torres goes down in the record books ranked sixth in career kills (1,634), fifth in aces (135) and 10th in digs (618) ... He is currently playing professionally in France for Montpellier A.V.U.C. on loan from Andreoli Latina in Italy ... Torres is a “medical joker” for Montpelier, or a player added to the roster to replace an injured player.

ALUMNI NEWS - Three-time All-American, NCAA champion and Olympic gold medalist Troy Tanner was chosen to succeed Nina Matthies as the new Pepperdine women’s volleyball head coach ... Tanner won two NCAA titles while at Pepperdine, first in 1985 and again in 1986 ... He went on to play for Marv Dunphy at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul where Team USA took home the gold ... Tanner was inducted into the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011 ... Former men’s volleyball director of operations Alex Dunphy (Marv’s daughter), was the first assistant coach added to Tanner’s staff.

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 nine regular-season conference titles. Pepperdine has won either an MPSF regular-season or tournament title (or both) in six of the last 14 seasons. The Waves have finished in the top six in the final AVCA poll in 15 of the last 17 seasons. Pepperdine student-athletes have won national player of the year honors nine times and All-American accolades 79 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 31st 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 2013 season with a career record of 546-241* (.694). Dunphy has long been involved with USA Volleyball, having been part of the coaching staff at six Olympics, including head coach of the 1988 team and consultant coach for the 2008 squad, both of which won gold. He has been inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame (1994), AVCA Hall of Fame (2009) and the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame (2010).

CAMPUS LIFE PROJECT - In May 2011, Pepperdine launched The Campaign for Pepperdine, the largest fundraising campaign in the University’s history. The goal is to raise $450 million to support the Campus Life Project, which will benefit the entire campus. The key piece for Athletics is a new, state-of-the-art, 5,000-seat University Events Center, which will replace Firestone Fieldhouse as the Waves’ home. The project has been approved by the County of Los Angeles and the California Coastal Commission, so the biggest step remaining before the arena can be built is fundraising.

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 16 schools to have accomplished this feat – and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment and is the only school not affiliated with a BCS-level conference. The Waves have 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 #57 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.



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