#12 Pepperdine Travels to #4 UC Irvine, Hosts #15 USC
The Waves have winning all-time records against both of the opponents this week.
MALIBU, Calif. - The No. 12 Pepperdine men's volleyball team has another split week, first traveling to No. 4 UC Irvine on Wednesday and then returning to Firestone Fieldhouse for a Saturday match-up against No. 15 USC.
MATCH 9 - Wednesday (February 14) at Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif.: No. 12 Pepperdine at No. 4 UC Irvine at 7 p.m. (PT) | Watch: Big West TV.
MATCH 10 - Saturday (February 17) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 12 Pepperdine vs. No. 14 USC at 6 p.m. | 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 this weekend, the Waves take a trip to UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday before returning to Malibu to challenge UCLA in Firestone on Saturday.
THE NO. 11 WAVES - Pepperdine split last week's competition to post a 5-3 overall record this season and open Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play with a 1-1 output. As a team, the Waves post 12.37 kills/set on a .278 success rate, while allowing the opposition 10.83 kills/set on a .220 clip. Pepperdine adds 11.63 assists/set, 1.87 aces/set, 8.17 digs/set and 2.38 blocks/set as well.
David Wieczorek leads the team with 4.00 kills/set on a .419 success rate, while adding 0.42 aces/set, 1.16 digs/set and 0.74 blocks/set in the all-around effort. Colby Harriman and Alex Harthaller each post 2.90 and 2.86 kills/set as well. Harriman adds 0.31 aces/set, 0.72 digs/set and 0.59 blocks/set, while Harthaller leads the team with 0.50 aces/set and tabs 1.39 digs/set and 0.64 blocks/set. Robert Mullahey ranks fourth nationally and leads the squad with 10.43 assists/set and he also produced 1.43 digs/set and 0.47 blocks/set for the Waves. Weston Barnes leads the team with 2.38 digs/set and is second with 0.46 assists/set.
LAST WEEK - Pepperdine split the opening week of MPSF action last week, taking No. 10 Grand Canyon to five sets before falling and defeating Concordia, Irvine in four. Against GCU, the Waves put up 54 smashes on a .254 success rate, but allowed the opposition 56 kills on a .392 clip. Pepperdine led the court with nine aces and gave up only two, but the Lopes put up 34 digs and 13.5 team blocks to the Waves 22 digs and 10.5 team blocks throughout the match. Alex Harthaller led the team with 14 kills, while both David Wieczorek and Colby Harriman marked 11. Wieczorek also tabbed three aces and four blocks including one solo rejection. Michael Wexter led the Waves with six blocks and Robert Mullahey led the team with 45 assists. Weston Barnes was good for a team-high eight digs.
Pepperdine ended the week with the win over the Eagles, producing 52 kills on a .200 hitting percentage, while giving up 43 kills on a .148 clip. The Waves led all sides with eight assists, 52 digs and 18.0 team blocks and the Eagles were good for two aces, 44 digs and 11.5 team blocks. Wieczorek led the team with 21 kills on a .333 success rate, while adding four blocks for his third career double-double. Mullahey was good for 45 assists, six digs and four blocks as well. Noah Dyer amassed a career-best 17 digs and Max Chamberlain led the team with seven blocks. Wexter, Harriman and Harthaller each posted eight kills, while Wexter added six blocks and Harthaller added two aces, seven digs and five blocks.
OPPONENT NOTES: UC IRVINE - Pepperdine holds a 53-25 record over UC Irvine all-time dating back to 1971 when the Anteaters won in four sets in Irvine. The Waves then won 24-consecutive matches including 18 sweeps from 1971-94. Last season, the Anteaters took home both wins with a four-set and five-set match in Malibu and Irvine respectively. This season, UCI has gone 10-2 overall including a 3-0 win over Stanford and a 3-1 loss to UCLA.
OPPONENT NOTES: USC - The Waves hold a 62-38 all-time record against the Trojans dating back to 1971 when the teams first met and the Waves on 3-1. The longest winning streak came from 1983-85 when Pepperdine won 10-straight. Last week, the two teams each took a five-set win at home against each other. This season, USC holds a 4-8 overall record and 1-1 MSPF record this season. Last week, the Trojans downed Stanford in five sets and fell to BYU in four sets.
MPSF OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK - David Wieczorek earned his first MPSF Offensive Player of the Week honor of the season on February 5 and the second of his career after leading the Waves past Princeton. He was instrumental in the Waves' sweep over the Tigers, collecting 19.5 points after plastering 15 kills on his career-high .650 success rate. He added three aces and three blocks as well.
The outside put up 6.50 points/set throughout three sets of action, producing 5.00 kills/set, 1.00 aces/set, 1.00 blocks/set and 0.67 digs/set for the Waves. In 20 swings on the pin, he submitted only two errors. He also had 17 successful service attempts with no errors from the back line.
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).
HUNTING SEASON - 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. He won his first-ever match as head coach of the Waves on January 7, 2018 at Firestone Fieldhouse with a 3-0 sweep over Cal Lutheran. 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 - 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 17 seasons. The Waves have finished in the top six in the final AVCA poll in 17 of the last 21 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.