#4 UCLA, #12 UCSB On the Docket for #9 Waves this Week
The matches are set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday (UCSB) and Saturday (UCLA) in Firestone Fieldhouse.
MALIBU, Calif. – The 9th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team returns to Firestone Fieldhouse this week, hosting 11th-ranked UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday and 2nd-ranked UCLA on Saturday. The matches will air live on WaveCasts at TheW.tv.
MATCH 8 – Wednesday (February 8) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 9 Pepperdine (4-3, 2-2 MPSF) vs. #11 UC Santa Barbara (6-5, 3-5 MPSF), at 7 p.m. (PT).
MATCH 9 – Saturday (February 11) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 9 Pepperdine vs. #2 UCLA (9-3, 6-2 MPSF), at 7 p.m. (PT).
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 PepperdineWaves.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.
THE NO. 9 WAVES – The Waves have gone 4-3 overall and 2-2 in MPSF play this season thus far to rank 9th in the current AVCA Coaches Poll. The team averages 12.33 kills/set on a .289 hitting percentage, while also producing 11.57 assists/set, 1.40 aces/set, 8.80 digs/set and 1.93 blocks/set against opponents. Pepperdine allows opposition 13.10 kills/set on a .282 success rate.
David Wieczorek leads the team with 3.81 kills/set on a big .390 hitting percentage. He also averages 0.30 aces/set, 0.81 digs/set and 0.48 blocks/set. Michael Wexter is next for the team with 3.20 kills/set on a .278 output, adding 0.40 aces/set, 1.80 digs/set and 0.63 blocks/set. Joshua Stewart leads the squad with playmaking duties, posting 9.58 assists/set after 230 total dishes this season. He adds 1.71 digs/set and 0.46 blocks/set. Mitchell Penning is the primary first defensive at the net with 0.89 blocks/set. He also adds a .446 attack percentage with 1.67 kills/set for the Waves.
LAST WEEK – Last week, the Waves made the short trip down south to take on 3rd-ranked Long Beach State in the Pyramid, eventually falling in straight sets 20-25, 17-25, 21-25. The Waves hit for a .253 percentage with 34 kills on 87 swings, while the 49ers amassed a .418 attack output with 49 smashes on 91 attempts. Pepperdine also tabbed 5.0 team blocks and one ace compared to LBSU’s 5.5 team blocks and four aces.
David Wieczorek led the Waves with 13 kills on a .312 success rate, while adding two blocks. Noah Dyer posted one ace along with six kills and Michael Wexter tabbed seven kills and a team-high eight digs. Max Chamberlain led the squad with three blocks throughout the match.
OPPONENT NOTES: #12 UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS – The Waves hold a 68-34 all-time record over the Gauchos, with a 29-22 record when playing in Firestone Fieldhouse. The teams first met in 1971 in Santa Barbara, when the Gauchos defeated the Waves by 3-1 decision. The longest Pepperdine winning streak occurred from 2006-10 when the Waves won 10-consecutive matches, five of which were by straight-set decision. Last season, the Gauchos downed the Waves twice, first in five sets at home and then in four on the road. The Gauchos are ranked 12th in the nation and have gone 6-5 overall and 3-5 in MPSF play this season thus far.
OPPONENT NOTES: #4 UCLA BRUINS – UCLA holds a 79-41 all-time record against the Waves, making the Bruins the only team to lead the Waves in all-time record. The team’s first faced in 1972 when the Bruins took a straight-set match on the road away from the Waves. The Waves longest winning streak against UCLA is five-matches from 2008-10, three of which were by three-set decisions. Last season, the Bruins edged out the Waves twice, winning in Firestone in three and in Pauley Pavilion in four. UCLA has gone 9-3 overall with a 6-2 record within MPSF action this season, to ranked 4th in the AVCA Coaches Poll.
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.
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.