#7 Men's Volleyball Hosts Three Matches in Firestone this Week
All matches will stream live with Wavecasts.
MALIBU, Calif. – The No. 7 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team returns to Firestone Fieldhouse this week for a three-match homestand. The Waves will host No. 14 Concordia-Irvine, No. 13 Grand Canyon and No. 3 Hawai’i on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
MATCH 17 – Thursday (March 15) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 7 Pepperdine vs. No. 14 Concordia-Irvine at 7 p.m. (PT) | Watch: Wavecasts.
MATCH 18 – Saturday (March 17) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 7 Pepperdine vs. No. 13 Grand Canyon at 5 p.m. | Watch: WaveCasts.
MATCH 19 – Sunday (March 18) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 7 Pepperdine vs. No. 3 Hawai’i at 5 p.m. | Watch: WaveCasts.
UP NEXT – Next, Pepperdine makes a short trip to USC on March 29 for a 7 p.m. matchup.
THE NO. 7 WAVES – Pepperdine stayed at the No. 7 spot in the AVCA coaches poll this week with a 10-6 overall record and 4-3 MPSF output. As a team, the Waves average 12.10 kills/set, 11.52 assists/set, 1.87 aces/set, 7.82 digs/set and 2.35 blocks/set this season. Pepperdine attackers have amassed a .276 success rate, while allowing opponents .256 on the offensive. The team also allows opponents 11.37 kills/set, along with 10.81 assists/set, 0.90 aces/set, 8.37 digs/set and 2.35 blocks/set against them.
David Wieczorek leads the offensive with 3.80 kills/set on a .357 success rate, while also leading the effort with 0.49 aces/set after finding the floor for a team-high 25 aces this year. He adds 1.08 digs/set and 0.80 blocks/set as well. Alex Harthaller and Colby Harriman each post 2.92 and 2.59 kills/set and 0.33 and 0.38 aces/set respectively. Harthaller is also good for 1.32 digs/set and 0.62 blocks/set, while Harriman puts up 0.92 digs/set and 0.57 blocks/set for the Waves.
Robert Mullahey leads in the playmaking duties with 10.34 assists/set this season, while amassing 1.44 digs/set, 0.45 blocks/set and 0.19 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 1.61 digs/set. At the net, Max Chamblerain leads the blockers with 1.20 blocks/set after marking 60 blocks this season. Wieczorek, Harthaller, Harriman and Michael Wexter have all amassed over 30 blocks as well, with Wieczorek tallying 41, Harthaller marking 37, Harriman posting 35 and Wexter tabbing 33.
LAST WEEK – The Waves dropped a pair of tough matches last week, first falling to No. 5 UCLA 3-1 on the road before losing 3-0 to No. 6 Loyola-Chicago at home.
Against the Bruins, Pepperdine marked 43 kills on a .253 success rate, while adding 42 assists, five aces, 34 digs and 4.0 team blocks. The opposition was good for 53 kills on a .412 clip, as well as 49 assists, three aces, 33 digs and 7.5 blocks. David Wieczorek led the team with 16 smashes on a .419 success rate, while Alex Harthaller and Colby Harriman each put up 10 kills and two aces for the Waves. Max Chamberlain led the squad with three blocks, while Robert Mullahey had a team-high 37 assists and eight digs. Noah Dyer also put up eight digs.
In the match against the Ramblers, the Waves put up 35 kills on a .228 output along with 35 assists, five aces, 21 digs and 5.0 team blocks. LUC outlasted with 40 kills on a .355 clip as well as 38 assists, six aces, 37 digs and 4.0 team blocks. Harthaller led the team with 12 kills on .435 success rate, while adding five digs and three blocks. Mullahey had a team-best 34 assists and two aces, while Chamberlain led with four blocks. Harriman marked seven kills, one ace and six digs and Wieczorek posted seven kills, one ace and four digs.
OPPONENT NOTES: CONCORDIA-IRVINE – The Waves lead CUI 2-0 all-time, dating back only to 2016 when Pepperdine won 3-0 in the team’s first meeting in Malibu. Earlier this season, Pepperdine downed the Eagles 3-1 on the road. This season, Concordia is 10-10 overall and 3-3 in the MPSF, with a recent 3-1 upset over No. 6 Loyola Chicago last week.
OPPONENT NOTES: GRAND CANYON – Pepperdine and Grand Canyon are tied 1-1 all-time, since the first meeting in 2010 when the Waves swept the Lopes. Earlier this season, GCU downed Pepperdine in a five-set battle in Arizona. This season, The Antelopes are 15-6 overall and 2-4 in the MPSF. The team is currently on a four-match winning streak with a 3-2 win over USC, a 3-0 win over Menlo College and two sweeps over Mount Olive.
OPPONENT NOTES: HAWAI’I – Pepperdine leads Hawai’i 43-34 all-time, since the 1981 campaign when the Waves first swept the Rainbow Warriors in Malibu. The longest Waves’ winning streak came three-times from 1983-85, 1990-95 and 1997-2000 with six-straight wins each time. The longest UH winning streak came from 1988-90 with seven-consecutive Rainbow Warrior wins. Pepperdine last defeated Hawai’i in 2016 with a 3-0 win in Firestone Fieldhouse, but since then UH has had the upper hand with four straight wins including three sweeps in 2017. This season, the Rainbow Warriors are 13-3 overall and 1-1 in the Big West. Last week, UH downed Penn State 3-0, but fell to BYU 3-1.
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.