Pepperdine Hosts Final Home Matches on Thursday and Saturday

Doug Astor

April 3, 2012

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MALIBU, Calif. - The #6 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team hosts its two final regular-season matches inside Firestone Fieldhouse, starting on Thursday, April 5 versus UC Irvine. The home finale, when Senior Day will be celebrated, is scheduled for Saturday, April 7 against UC San Diego.

MATCH #25 - Thursday (April 5) at Firestone Fieldhouse: #6 Pepperdine (13-11, 8-10 MPSF) vs. #2 UC Irvine (19-4, 15-4 MPSF) at 7 p.m.

MATCH #26 - Saturday (April 7) at Firestone Fieldhouse: #6 Pepperdine vs. #11 UC San Diego (8-16, 6-13 MPSF) at 7 p.m.

WHAT’S NEXT - The Waves close out the regular season next weekend with visits to Cal State Northridge on April 12 and Long Beach State on April 14. The first round of the MPSF Tournament begins on April 21, with only the top eight teams allotted entry. Pepperdine is currently tied for sixth place, and although it may not be necessary, two more wins would guarantee a berth in the tournament.

LOOKING BACK - The Waves were involved in a pair of five-set home matches last week, falling to
Stanford before recovering against Pacific. Maurice Torres totaled 45 kills (4.50 kills/set) for the week, surpassing 20 each night. Matt Tarantino averaged 2.00 kills/set earned on a .417 hitting percentage, along with 1.20 blocks/set. Matt West dished 10.70 assists/set and picked up 1.70 digs/set.

SENIOR SALUTE - Prior to the start of the match against the Tritons on Saturday, Pepperdine will recognize Doug Astor, Joel Lopata, Brandt Ng, Matt Pollock and Chase Ross, as their careers as Waves nears an end. Thank you, gentlemen, for your years of dedication to the Pepperdine men’s volleyball program and best of luck in all your future endeavors!

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 a season-best #6 in the AVCA Coaches’ Top-15 Poll.

NOTING THE WAVES - This will be the 1,017th and 1,018th match in Pepperdine history ... The Waves are 694-322 all time ... In conference play the Waves are 484-245 and 279-128 in MPSF action ... Marv Dunphy boasts a career record of 531-225 ... The Waves are 368-110 when playing inside Firestone Fieldhouse ... The Waves are 146-81 all-time during the month of April.

UC IRVINE - The Anteaters are 19-4 overall and sit in second place in the league standings with a 15-4 record ... Kevin Tillie, Carson Clark and Jeremy Dejno all average more than 3.25 kills/set with Tille and Clark leading the way with 3.64 kills/set each ... UCI was on a 10 match win streak before UCLA snapped it last week Saturday ... In the first meeting of the season, UC Irvine won 3-1.

UC SAN DIEGO - Although the Tritons are only 8-16 overall and a ninth-place 6-13 in the MPSF, UC San Diego is riding a five-match win streak ... Teams to fall victim to UCSD in that span include UC Santa Barbara (twice), UCLA, Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge ... This is the longest win streak for the Tritons since the 1990 season ... Sophomore outside hitter Vaun Lennon is the reigning MPSF and AVCA National Player of the Week after registering a .465 hitting percentage in wins against the Bruins and the Gauchos ... The Waves beat UCSD in five sets during their first road trip of the season on Jan. 27.

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 1,163 kills, Torres ranks 12th in the Pepperdine record book ... To overtake 11th place, he needs to reach 1,190 kills ... The junior has reached doubles digit kill totals in 22 of the season’s 24 matches including the last 19 straight ... Torres, the Waves’ opposite side hitter, has averaged 3.98 kill/set during his career as a Wave, including a 4.04 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.

OUTSIDE HITTERS - With freshman Josh Taylor not expected to play this week, Scott Rhein looks to be the probable starter in his place ... Rhein came in for Taylor last week Thursday vs. Stanford and picked up eight digs and six kills. On Saturday, the freshman tallied 11 kills and five blocks ... Chase Ross will likely man the other starting spot ... Ross is a well-rounded contributor to the team, averaging 2.07 kills/set and 1.06 digs/set ... The senior ranks second on the team with 18 aces ... Ross boasts the highest serve receive percentage of all the primary passers on the team with a .972 (433 attempts, 12 errors) success rate ... Beau Vandeweghe and Ryan Leung have also seen time on the outside.

SETTER - Freshman Matt West has assumed the starting setting duties this season, and has been a positive addition to the Waves’ lineup ... West averages 11.36 assists/set to rank second in the MPSF ... On defense, West lends 1.39 digs/set and 0.71 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 (0.75 digs/set) and Ryan Plueger (0.79 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 98 sets, while Plueger started the last three matches.

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 1.20 blocks/set while contributing 1.88 kills/set earned on a .454 average ... Tarantino, who came to Pepperdine as an opposite side hitter, has started in 15 of the last 16 matches ... Tarantino added middle blocker to his repertoire after less than a week’s worth of practices at the position, and now averages 1.52 kills and 0.92 blocks.

MPSF INDIVIDUAL STATS - Maurice Torres ranks third in kills (4.04), seventh in service aces (0.40), 15th in digs (1.70) and second in points (4.83) ... Josh Taylor ranks ninth with 3.56 kills/set and 10th with 3.99 points/set ... Matt Pollock ranks fourth in hitting percentage (.454) and sixth in blocks (1.20) ... Matt West ranks second with 11.36 assists/set.

MPSF TEAM STATS - The Waves hit for a .294 attack percentage to rank sixth ... Pepperdine limits opponents to a .274 hitting percentage to rank fifth ... The Waves rank fifth in kills (12.92), third in assists (12.37), fifth in blocks (2.54), 10th in service aces (0.84) and 10th in digs (7.93).

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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