No. 8 Waves Host No. 5 UC Irvine on Saturday
Pepperdine won both matches against UC Irvine last season.
MALIBU, Calif. – After a winning road week last week, the 8th-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team returns to Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday to challenge 5th-ranked UC Irvine at 7 p.m.
MATCH 17 – Saturday (March 25) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 8 Pepperdine (8-9, 6-8 MPSF) vs. No. 5 UC Irvine (15-6, 9-5 MPSF), at 7 p.m. (PT). Watch: WaveCasts on TheW.tv
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 @PeppVolleyball on Twitter for immediate updates throughout the match. Check on www.PepperdineWaves.com for updates, results and more.
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.
UP NEXT – After the road-week, the Waves return to Malibu to close out home action with UC Irvine and UC San Diego on March 25 and 30. Senior day will be on March 30.
THE NO. 8 WAVES – Pepperdine has gone 8-9 overall and 6-8 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation so far this season, ranking 8th in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week. As a team, the Waves post 12.16 kills/set on a .278 hitting percentage, along with 11.46 assists/set, 1.14 aces/set, 8.99 digs/set and 2.41 blocks/set. The team’s 2.41 blocks/set after 166 total blocks (298 assists, 17 solos) ranks 11th in the nation and the team’s 28.43 team attacks/set leads the national statistic rankings.
David Wieczorek leads the team with 3.65 kills/set on a .341 hitting percentage. He also adds 0.98 digs/set, 0.62 blocks/set and 0.20 aces/set for Pepperdine. He ranks 10th with 8.08 attacks/set, 12th with 3.65 kills/set, 16th with 4.17 points/set and 92nd with 0.62 blocks/set. Mitchell Penning leads the squad with 1.08 blocks/set after tabbing 68 block assists and three block solos. He also picks up 1.56 kills/set on a .382 attack output. Michael Wexter is second on the team with 2.74 kills/set on a .253 success rate, while adding a team-high 0.31 aces/set and 1.68 digs/set. Joshua Stewart serves as the primary setter for the Waves with 592 total assists for 9.70 assists/set. He also adds 1.75 digs/set and 0.67 blocks/set. Weston Barnes is solid in the back row with 2.08 digs/set after posting 106 total digs for Pepperdine.
PEPPERDINE SHOWED UP IN ROAD MATCHES – Last week, the Waves had big outputs with two consecutive wins at No. 14 CSUN in five sets and then-ranked No. 8 Stanford in four, both on the road. First in the win against the Matadors, the Waves collected 22-25, 25-16, 21-25, 25-21 and 15-12 set wins on a .303 hitting percentage, including 57 kills on 122 attempts. The team also produced seven aces, 31 digs and 13.0 team blocks. David Wieczorek led the squad with 23 kills on a commanding .487 success rate, adding two aces, four blocks and four digs. Noah Dyer also added double-figure kills with 13 on a .360 output, adding seven digs. Clay Carr led the team with eight blocks and Joshua Stewart had a team-high 30 assists. Mitchell Penning posted a team-best three aces as well.
Pepperdine then commanded the court in the four-set upset over Stanford in Palo Alto, possessing 25-23, 25-19, 20-25 and 25-13 set wins. The team posted 47 kills on a .301 success rate, along with three aces, 43 digs and 15.5 team blocks. Wieczorek and Michael Wexter led the Waves with 15 kills. Wexter picked up a .429 hitting percentage and led the team with 12 digs for his first-career double-double and two aces. Wieczorek tallied seven blocks and six digs. Dyer once again hit for double-figures with 11 kills on a .348 percentage and added seven digs. Stewart led the team with 41 assists, Weston Barnes added eight digs and Carr once again led the defensive effort with eight blocks.
OPPONENT NOTES: NO. 5 UC IRVINE – Pepperdine leads UC Irvine with a 53-22 overall all-time record, including a 29-8 record when playing in Malibu. After dropping the first match to UCI in 1971, Pepperdine went on a 24-match winning streak through the 1994 campaign. Last season, the Waves downed the Anteaters twice, winning 3-1 at home and 3-2 on the road during regular season. This season, UC Irvine has a 15-6 overall record and a 9-5 record in the MPSF, ranking the team 5th in the AVCA coaches poll this week. Most recently, the Anteaters snapped then-ranked No. 1 Ohio State’s 42-match winning streak with a 3-0 sweep in Irvine. Prior to that, UCI swept Saint Francis and Ball State and downed CSUN in five sets.
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 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.