Pepperdine Hosts George Mason on Saturday

Matt Tarantino

March 22, 2012

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MALIBU, Calif. - After a week-long hiatus, the #7 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team is back in action this Saturday, March 24 versus George Mason. First serve inside Firestone Fieldhouse is set for 7 p.m.

MATCH #22 - Saturday (March 24) at Firestone Fieldhouse: #7 Pepperdine (11-10, 7-9 MPSF) vs. George Mason (7-11, 3-4 EIVA) at 7 p.m.

WHAT’S NEXT - Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play is back in full swing next week, when the Waves host Stanford on Friday, March 30 and Pacific on Saturday, March 31.

LOOKING BACK - Last week, the Waves defeated Harvard 3-1, and shut out UC Santa Barbara on the road, before suffering a loss at UCLA. Matt West dished 13.70 assists/set over the three matches and his main targets were Maurice Torres and Josh Taylor. Torres pounded down 5.00 kills/set, while Taylor followed with 4.20 kills/set.

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 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.

RANKINGS - Pepperdine is currently listed at #7 in the AVCA Coaches’ Top-15 Poll.

NOTING THE WAVES - This will be the 1,014th match in Pepperdine history ... The Waves are 692-321 all time ... In conference play the Waves are 483-244 and 278-127 in MPSF action ... Marv Dunphy boasts a career record of 529-224 ... The Waves are 366-109 when playing inside Firestone Fieldhouse ... The Waves are 204-107 all-time during the month of March.

GEORGE MASON - The Patriots are 7-11 this season and 3-4 in Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association action ... George Mason’s offense is led by Mark Jones, who averages 3.28 kills/set, followed by Joe Norton with a 2.21 average ... Piotr Dabrowski collects 1.53 blocks/set, while Pet Cuppernull manages the offense with 9.20 assists/set ... The Patriots have won three of their last four matches, defeating Grand Canyon, Sacred Heart and Princeton, but losing a close 3-2 contest to Harvard.

THE SERIES - Pepperdine and George Mason have only met on five occasions ... The last time the squads met was in 2009, when the Waves won 3-0 ... Prior to that, Pepperdine and George Mason tangled four times between 1984-1990, with the Waves coming up with the victory during every meeting.

Maurice Torres - Maurice Torres is the most recent addition to the Waves’ 1,000 kills club, having reach the milestone at BYU on March 2 ... With a career tally of 1,107 kills, Torres ranks 14th in the Pepperdine record book ... To overtake 13th place, he needs to reach 1,144 kills ... The junior has reached doubles digit kill totals in 19 of the season’s 21 matches including the last 16 straight ... Torres, the Waves’ opposite side hitter, has averaged 3.97 kill/set during his career as a Wave, including a 4.00 average this season as a junior ... He tacked down a season-best 26 kills versus Cal Baptist on Feb. 15, and has reached double figures in dig four times ... In MPSF play, Torres averages 4.07 kills/set.

Josh Taylor - Freshman Josh Taylor has emerged as one of the MPSF’s top rookies this season ... The Honolulu native ranks eighth in the league, and #1 amongst all freshmen, with 3.62 kills/set ... Taylor has reached double digits in kill totals in 17 match this season, including three contests with more than 20 kills ... His season high of 27 (Jan. 27, UCSD) ranks as the third most by any Pepperdine freshman in a single match. Sean Rooney and Maurice Torres sit atop the freshman record list with 28.

OUTSIDE HITTERS - In addition to Josh Taylor, Chase Ross, Scott Rhein, Beau Vandeweghe and Ryan Leung have seen time on the outside with Ross playing the majority of the time ... Ross averages 2.01 kills/set and is a solid passer on serve receive ... Ross boasts the highest serve receive percentage of all the primary passers on the team with a .972 (355 attempts, 10 errors) success rate.

SETTER - Freshman Matt West has assumed the starting setting duties this season, and has been a positive addition to the Waves’ lineup ... West averages 11.47 assists/set to rank second in the MPSF ... On defense, West lends 1.78 digs/set and 0.68 blocks/set to the team effort.

LIBERO/LIBERO - Coach Marv Dunphy has utilized the new two libero rule to his full advantage, using several combinations this season ... Mike McMahon (1.41 digs/set), Kyle Gerrans (0.84 digs/set) and Ryan Plueger (0.60 digs/set) all have shared time handling the serve receive and the defense. McMahon has seen the most action this season, appearing in 82 of the 85 sets.

MIDDLE MEN - Three different players have gotten the starting gig in the middle this season including Matt Pollock, Matt Tarantino and Nikola Antonijevic ... Pollock leads the team with 1.15 blocks/set while contributing 1.91 kills/set earned on a .457 average ... Tarantino, who came to Pepperdine as an opposite side hitter, has started in 12 of the last 13 matches ... Tarantino added middle blocker to his repertoire after less than a week’s worth of practices at the position, and now averages 1.42 kills and 0.89 blocks.

MPSF INDIVIDUAL STATS - Maurice Torres ranks T-third in kills (4.00), sixth in service aces (0.41), 11th in digs (1.78) and third in points (4.79) ... Josh Taylor ranks eighth with 3.62 kills/set and 10th with 4.02 points/set ... Matt Pollock ranks fourth in hitting percentage (.457) and sixth in blocks (1.15) ... Matt West ranks second with 11.47 assists/set.

MPSF TEAM STATS - The Waves hit for a .295 attack percentage to rank fifth ... Pepperdine limits opponents to a .279 hitting percentage to rank seventh ... The Waves rank fifth in kills (12.92), third in assists (12.45), sixth in blocks (2.46), ninth in service aces (0.84) and 10th in digs (8.05).

VOTE NOW! - The 1988 Olympic Gold Medal Men’s Team has been nominated as a candidate to enter the USOC Olympic Hall of Fame. A popular vote determines the winner. Vote until April 9 at: for more information.

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).

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.

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) and Matt Tarantino (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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