#6 Pepperdine Plays First Road Matches of the Season at #2 UC Irvine and UC San Diego

Josh Taylor

Jan. 23, 2012

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MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine men’s volleyball team, who is currently riding a five-match win streak, gears up for its first road trip of the 2012 season, traveling to UC Irvine on Wednesday, Jan. 25 before taking on UC San Diego on Friday, Jan. 27.

MATCH #7 - Wednesday (Jan. 25) at the Bren Center: #6 Pepperdine (5-1, 4-0 MPSF) at #2 UC Irvine (5-2, 1-2 MPSF) at 7 p.m.

MATCH #8 - Saturday (Jan. 27) at RIMAC Arena: #6 Pepperdine at UC San Diego (2-4, 1-2 MPSF) at 7 p.m.

WHAT’S NEXT - The Waves return to Firestone Fieldhouse on Feb. 1 to take on UCLA, before tangling with UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 3

LOOKING BACK - Pepperdine went 2-0 last week versus Hawaii to extend its win streak to five matches, and improve to a perfect 4-0 in the MPSF. Josh Taylor averaged 4.00 kill/set over two matches, while Maurice Torres followed with 3.50 kill/set including a 21-kill performance in the second match against the Warriors. Torres also collected a team-best nine blocks and four service aces. Matt Pollock was an offensive force last week, pegging down 21 kills on 29 errorless attacks for a .724 hitting percentage. Matt West did a stellar job managing the offense, and registered 12.25 assists/set to help the Waves hit for a .336 clip.

COVERAGE - Live stats will be available for both matches, and links can be found at PepperdineSports.com. Additionally, UCSD will be broadcasting the match (found here) for a nominal fee.

NOTING THE WAVES - This will be the 999th and 1,000th match in Pepperdine history ... The Waves are 686-312 all time ... In conference play the Waves are 480-235 and 275-118 in MPSF action ... Marv Dunphy boasts a career record of 523-215 ... The Waves are 363-106 when playing inside Firestone Fieldhouse ... The Waves are 140-40 all-time during the month of January ... Pepperdine is 20-17 when ranked #6 by the AVCA, and is 18-18 when playing a #2-ranked opponent ... The Waves are 94-2 when playing an unranked team.

UC IRVINE - UC Irvine, ranked #2 in the AVCA, is 5-2 overall and 1-2 in the conference ... Although the Anteaters were swept by BYU, they won a non-conference tryst against the Cougars at the UCSB Invitational ... Carson Clark leads UCI with 3.83 kills/set and 1.92 digs/set ... Jeremy Dejno follows with 3.41 kill/set ... As a team, UC Irvine hits for a .352 attack percentage ... The Waves are 48-16 all-time versus UCI.

UC SAN DIEGO - UCSD is 2-4 overall and 1-2 in league play after being shut out by UC Irvine last week ... Vaun Lennon paces the Tritons with 3.20 kills/set ... UC San Diego’s only MPSF win of the season thus far was a 3-0 rout at Hawaii ... Pepperdine is 38-3 all-time versus UC San Diego, but the Tritons have won three of the last four contests.

RANKINGS - Pepperdine is currently listed at a season-best #6 in the AVCA Coaches’ Top-15 Poll.

Josh Taylor - After a phenomenal collegiate debut versus Lewis in the opening week, freshman Josh Taylor continues to prove himself on the court. He has led the Waves in kill totals in five of this season’s six matches including a 26 kill performance against the Flyers on Jan. 8. The 26 kills ranks as the fourth most by any Pepperdine freshman in the rally scoring era. Sean Rooney and Maurice Torres both pounded down 28 kills as freshman to tie for first place. Taylor leads the Waves and ranks third in the MPSF with 4.40 kills/set.

Maurice Torres - With a career tally of 846 kills, Maurice Torres is on pace to become Pepperdine’s 17th member of the 1,000 kill club by the end of the season. Torres, the Waves’ opposite side hitter, has averaged 3.86 kill/set during his career as a Wave, including a 3.16 average this season as a junior. He is coming off a season-best 21 kills versus Hawaii on Jan. 21.

OUTSIDE HITTERS - Redshirt senior Chase Ross and freshman Josh Taylor have shined as outside hitters so far season. Together, they average 6.64 kills/set (Taylor, 4.40; Ross, 2.24) and have committed just seven total serve receive errors as primary passers.

SETTER - Freshman Matt West has assumed the starting setting duties this season, and has gotten off to a solid start. West averaged over 12 assists/set last week during the Hawaii series to bring his season average to 10.92, which ranks fifth in the MPSF.

LIBERO/LIBERO - With the first year of the new two libero rule in effect, Mike McMahon and Ryan Plueger have been sharing the defensive duties. McMahon, who has started the majority of the time, leads the team with 2.05 digs/set. Plueger has proved to be a capable passer as well and averages 1.57 digs/set.

MIDDLE MEN - Senior Matt Pollock and freshman Nikola Antonijevic, who both hail from Illinois, have been consistent so far this season with significant signs of improvement in the opening week of conference play. After collectively averaging 1.67 blocks/set in week one versus Lewis, Pollock and Antonijevic increased their defensive output to 2.44 blocks/set in MPSF play.

MPSF INDIVIDUAL STATS - Josh Taylor ranks third with 4.40 kills/set and fourth with 4.82 points/set ... Matt Pollock ranks fifth in hitting percentage (.513) and eighth in blocks (1.08) ... Maurice Torres ranks 15th in kills (3.16), tied for 12th in blocks (1.00), fourth in service aces (0.44) and 10th in points (4.14) ... Matt West ranks fifth with 10/92 assists/set and 13th with 1.72 digs/set ... Nikola Antonijevic ranks 15th with 0.96 blocks/set ... Mike McMahon averages 2.05 digs/set to rank seventh.

MPSF TEAM STATS - As a team, the Waves hit for a .292 attack percentage to rank sixth ... Pepperdine limits opponents to a .249 hitting percentage to rank fourth ... The Waves rank sixth in kills (12.72), fourth in assists (12.08), sixth in blocks (2.58) and sixth in digs (8.24).

SIGHT & SOUND - All home Pepperdine men’s volleyball home matches are broadcast live and for FREE via WaveCasts. In addition to live broadcasts, WaveCasts also offers a large selection of game highlights, interviews, features and more! GameTracker is also available and offers live scores and statistics. Go to PepperdineSports.com to find links to all available media.

TICKETS - Single-game prices for home events are $8 for adults, $5 for students/seniors/children and free to all Pepperdine students, faculty and staff (and their dependents) with a valid Pepperdine ID. An all-sports pass, which provides admission to all Pepperdine home sporting events, with the exception of men’s basketball, is $100. Call the Ticket Office at (866) WAVE-TIX for more information.

SOCIAL MEDIA - Fans can follow the Waves on Twitter @PepperdineWaves and “like” us on Facebook by searching for Pepperdine Athletics or Pepperdine Men’s Volleyball.

PRESEASON MPSF POLL - With 62 points, the Waves were picked to finished eighth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in a preseason vote of the league’s 12 coaches. BYU tallied the most points with 115, closely followed by UC Irvine with 112.

Marv Dunphy — Now in his 29th 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 2012 season with a career record of 518-214 (.708). Dunphy has long been involved with USA Volleyball, having been part of the coaching staff at five 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 (2010).

ROSTER — The Waves return four starters to the lineup including Maurice Torres (OPP), Matt Pollock (MB), Chase Ross (OH) and Mike McMahon (L). Nine letterwinners are joined by seven freshmen to bring the squad total to 20. In addition to the returning starters, rookies Matt West (S), Josh Taylor (OH) and Nikola Antonijevic (MB) are expected to shoulder starting duties this season. In terms of athletic eligibility, the squad break down includes four seniors, three juniors, six sophomores and seven freshmen.

VOLLEYBALL HISTORY — Pepperdine has won five NCAA men’s volleyball championships, second only to UCLA. The Waves have won the MPSF Tournament four times and have won or shared nine regular-season conference titles. Pepperdine has won either an MPSF regular-season or tournament title in seven of the last 12 seasons. The Waves have finished in the top six in the final AVCA poll in each of the last 13 seasons. Pepperdine student-athletes have won national player of the year honors eight times and All-American accolades 75 times. A Pepperdine alum has competed for the U.S. 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 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not in a major conference. 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 #55 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges. The 2011-12 school year marks Pepperdine’s 75th anniversary.



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