#5 Pepperdine Makes Short Trip to USC on Thursday
The Waves moved up to the #5-slot in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll.
MALIBU, Calif. – The No. 5 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team has one match scheduled this week, with a road-MPSF contest against USC on the docket for Thursday.
MATCH 20 – Thursday (March 29) at Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif.: No. 5 Pepperdine at USC at 7 p.m. (PT) | Watch: Pac-12 Network.
UP NEXT – Next, the Waves return home to close out regular season with a pair of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches against BYU and Stanford on April 5 and 7.
THE NO. 5 WAVES – Pepperdine moved up to the No. 5 spot in the AVCA coaches poll this week after collecting three wins in the last set of contests, including a four-set win over then-ranked No. 3 Hawai’i. Pepperdine now holds a 13-6 overall record and a 6-3 conference output. As a team, the Waves average 12.33 kills/set, 11.69 assists/set, 1.93 aces/set, 7.86 digs/set and 2.47 blocks/set this season. Pepperdine attackers have amassed a .289 success rate, while allowing opponents .249 on the offensive. The team also allows opponents 11.31 kills/set, along with 10.72 assists/set, 0.89 aces/set, 8.25 digs/set and 2.17 blocks/set against them.
David Wieczorek leads the offensive with 3.98 kills/set on a .365 success rate, while also leading the effort with 0.57 aces/set after finding the floor for a team-high 35 aces this year. He adds 1.13digs/set and 0.82 blocks/set as well. Alex Harthaller and Colby Harriman each post 3.00 and 2.66 kills/set and 0.33 and 0.35 aces/set respectively. Harthaller is also good for 1.40 digs/set and 0.70 blocks/set, while Harriman puts up 0.89 digs/set and 0.65 blocks/set for the Waves.
Robert Mullahey leads in the playmaking duties with 10.46 assists/set this season, while amassing 1.46 digs/set, 0.43 blocks/set and 0.21 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 1.27 blocks/set after marking 76 blocks this season. Wieczorek, Harthaller, Harriman and Michael Wexter have all amassed over 45 blocks as well, with Wieczorek tallying 50, Harthaller marking 49, Harriman posting 46 and Wexter tabbing 45.
LAST WEEK – The Waves had off last week, but the week prior, Pepperdine went 3-0 with all three wins over ranked opponents including sweeps over #14 Concordia, Irvine and #13 Grand Canyon and a four-set win over #3 Hawai’i.
Against the Eagles, the Waves dominated with 25-15, 25-16 and 25-23 set scores after securing 38 smashes on a .360 success rate. Pepperdine added 32 assists, nine aces, 24 dis and 13.5 team blocks, while allowing CUI 27 kills on a .127 clip, 26 assists, six aces, 24 digs and 11.0 team blocks. David Wieczorek led the team with 12 kills and a career-best six aces, while adding four blocks. Max Chamberlain led the squad with seven blocks and Alex Harthaller added nine kills and five rejections. Robert Mullahey had a team-best 30 assists and six digs to help the cause.
Against GCU, Pepperdine put up 25-18, 25-19, 25-20 set scores for the sweep on top of 45 kills on a .415 clip. The team also produced 41 assists, four aces, 23 digs and 6.5 blocks, while the opposition was good for 28 kills on a .183 success rate, 25 assists, one ace, 18 digs and 5.0 team blocks. Wieczorek led the team with 15 kills on a. 500 success rate, while adding five digs and an ace. Colby Harriman and Harthaller also hit for double-figure kills with 13 on a .526% and 12 on a .435% respectively. Mullahey led with 33 assists and five digs as well and Michael Wexter had a team-best four blocks.
The Waves also took down Hawai’i with 27-25, 25-19, 22-25 and 25-20 set scores, after putting up 55 smashes on a .325 hitting percentage, along with 55 assists, 10 aces, 34 digs and 12.5 blocks. Wieczorek led with a season-high 22 kills on a .390 output, and added three aces, seven digs and four blocks. Harthaller and Harriman marked 14 and 12 kills respectively, while Harthaller put up his first-career double-double after adding 11 digs. Chamberlain had a team-best eight blocks, while Spencer Wickens also helped the cause with eight digs. Mullahey put up 49 assists, five digs and two aces throughout the match.
OPPONENT NOTES: USC – The Waves hold a 63-38 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. This season, USC holds a 6-16 overall record and 2-6 MSPF record this season. The Waves took a five-set win over the Trojans in Malibu earlier this season. Last week, USC downed Stanford in four, but was swept by UC Irvine.
SPORTS IMPORTS/AVCA AND MPSF WEEKLY HONORS – David Wieczorek and Alex Harthaller swept Molten/MPSF weekly honors last week after tabbing offensive and defensive accolades respectively. It is the first time Harthaller has earned the honor throughout his career.
Four times this season, 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 fifth-career and it is the first time currently recorded that a single player has received four honors in a single season (records go back only to the 2006 campaign). It is the first time someone has won back-to-back honors since Wave alumnus Matt Tarantino did so in the 2016 season and first time since 2012 a player has achieved three honors in a single 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.