#7 Pepperdine to Challenge #5 UCLA, #6 Loyola-Chicago
All matches will stream live.
MALIBU, Calif. – The No. 7 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team makes a short trip to No. 5 UCLA on Wednesday before returning home to host No. 6 Loyola-Chicago in Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday.
MATCH 15 – Wednesday (March 7) at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, Calif.: No. 7 Pepperdine at No. 5 UCLA at 7 p.m. (PT) | Watch: Pac-12 Network.
MATCH 16 – Saturday (March 10) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 7 Pepperdine vs. No. 6 Loyola-Chicago at 5 p.m. | Watch: WaveCasts.
UP NEXT – Next, the Waves have three more home matches with Concordia-Irvine, Grand Canyon and Hawai’i all on the docket.
THE NO. 7 WAVES – The Waves moved up one spot this week in the AVCA Coaches Poll to No. 7 after advancing their record to 10-4 overall and 4-2 in the MPSF. As a team, the Waves average 12.22 kills/set, 11.58 assists/set, 1.93 aces/set, 7.82 digs/set and 2.48 blocks/set this season. Pepperdine attackers have amassed a .281 success rate, while allowing opponents .240 on the offensive. The team also allows opponents 11.13 kills/set, along with 10.60 assists/set, 0.85 aces/set, 8.16 digs/set and 2.23 blocks/set against them.
David Wieczorek leads the offensive with 3.89 kills/set on a .378 success rate, while also leading the effort with 0.55 aces/set after finding the floor for a team-high 24 aces this year. He adds 1.09 digs/set and 0.86 blocks/set as well. Alex Harthaller and Colby Harriman each post 2.89 and 2.61 kills/set and 0.34 and 0.37 aces/set respectively. Harthaller is also good for 1.32 digs/set and 0.64 blocks/set, while Harriman puts up 0.81 digs/set and 0.63 blocks/set for the Waves.
Robert Mullahey leads in the playmaking duties with 10.36 assists/set this season, while amassing 1.44 digs/set, 0.47 blocks/set and 0.18 aces/set for his team. Weston Barnes and Noah Dyer have spent time on the back line, with Barnes posting 2.38 digs/set and Dyer adding 1.57 digs/set. At the net, Max Chamblerain leads the blockers with 1.23 blocks/set after marking 53 blocks this season. Wieczorek, Harthaller, Harriman and Michael Wexter have all amassed over 30 blocks as well, with Wieczorek tallying 38, 34 for both Harthaller and Harriman and 32 for Wexter.
LAST WEEK – The Waves split the last week of competition, narrowly falling to No. 5 BYU in five sets, before sweeping Stanford on the road. In the loss to the Cougars, the Waves went up 2-0, before the home team came back to complete a reverse sweep. The Waves hit for a .258 success rate with 55 kills, while putting down 10 aces, 24 digs and 13.5 blocks. BYU was good for a .355 clip on 61 smashes, along with six aces, 33 digs and 15.5 blocks. David Wieczorek led the Waves with 20 kills on a .351 output, while adding four aces and eight blocks including one solo rejection. Colby Harriman and Alex Harthaller added 12 and 10 kills respectively, while Max Chamberlain marked a career-best 10 blocks. Robert Mullahey led with 47 assists and nine digs for Pepperdine.
In the final match of the week, Pepperdine swept Stanford quickly to pick up the MPSF win. The Waves hit for 40 kills on .305 success rate, with 36 assists, four aces, 28 digs and 7.5 blocks, while the Cardinal put up 39 kills on a .247 output, along with three aces, 36 digs and 4.0 blocks.
OPPONENT NOTES: UCLA – UCLA is the only opponent to have an all-time winning record against Pepperdine with an 80-42 output since the 1972 campaign. The Bruins won the first eight matches through 1975 before the Waves took home a 3-1 win in ‘76. The longest winning streak is owned by UCLA with 13-straight wins from 1979-82. Pepperdine’s longest winning streak stands at five-consecutive matches from 2008-10. Last season, the Bruins won a five-set match-up in Firestone. This season, the Bruins rank fifth nationally and currently have a 15-5 overall record. In the Pepperdine-UCLA match earlier this year, the Waves swept the Bruins in straight sets at Firestone.
OPPONENT NOTES: LOYOLA CHICAGO – The Waves currently have a 2-0 record against the Ramblers all-time, dating back to 2004 when the teams first faced and Pepperdine swept on neutral courts. In 2017, the Ramblers took the Waves with a 2-0 lead, but Pepperdine rallied back for the reverse sweep and 3-2 overall win in Chicago. This season, LUC ranks sixth nationally with a 15-3 overall record and a 6-1 record in MIVA action.
SPORTS IMPORTS/AVCA AND MPSF WEEKLY HONORS – Three times this season, David Wieczorek has garnered MPSF Offensive Player of the Week honors. He also went on to receive national acclaim after being selected Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week as well. The MPSF honor is Wieczorek’s fourth-career and it is the first time since the 2012 campaign that a player has received the accolade three times in a season. It is the first time someone has won back-to-back honors since Wave alumnus Matt Tarantino did so in the 2016 season. The AVCA honor is the Waves’ 29th all-time and the first time for Wieczorek. The last time Pepperdine received the national honors was in 2015 when Brennan Anderson and Matt West did so in separate weeks.
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.