#4 Waves Close Regular Season with #2 BYU, Stanford
All seeding for the MPSF tournament hinges on what happens throughout the conference this week.
MALIBU, Calif. – The No. 4 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team closes out the regular season at home this week, hosting No. 2 BYU on Thursday and Stanford on Saturday for senior day.
MATCH 21 – Thursday (April 5) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 4 Pepperdine vs. No. 2 BYU at 7 p.m. (PT) | Watch: WaveCasts.
MATCH 22 – Saturday (April 7) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif.: No. 4 Pepperdine vs. Stanford (receiving votes) at 5 p.m. (PT) | Watch: WaveCasts | SENIOR DAY.
UP NEXT – After the regular season closes this week, the Waves begin postseason with the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships from April 14-21. The Waves currently sit at No. 2 in the MPSF standings, but all top seeds for the tournament will be determined after this week of action.
THE NO. 5 WAVES – Pepperdine moved up to the No. 4 spot in the AVCA coaches poll this week after defeating USC on the road last week. Pepperdine now holds a 14-6 overall record and a 7-3 conference output. As a team, the Waves average 12.49 kills/set, 11.81 assists/set, 1.95 aces/set 8.07 digs/set and 2.43 blocks/set this season. Pepperdine attackers have amassed a .290 success rate, while allowing opponents .251 on the offensive. The team also allows opponents 11.36 kills/set, along with 10.79 assists/set, 0.92 aces/set, 8.39 digs/set and 2.15 blocks/set against them.
David Wieczorek leads the offensive with 4.03 kills/set on a .361 success rate, while also leading the effort with 0.56 aces/set after finding the floor for a team-high 36 aces this year. He adds 1.14 digs/set and 0.81 blocks/set as well. Alex Harthaller and Colby Harriman each post 3.05 and 2.64 kills/set and 0.36 and 0.34 aces/set respectively. Harthaller is also good for 1.44 digs/set and 0.67 blocks/set, while Harriman puts up 0.95 digs/set and 0.64 blocks/set for the Waves.
Robert Mullahey leads in the playmaking duties with 10.55 assists/set this season, while amassing 1.48 digs/set, 0.43 blocks/set and 0.20 aces/set for his team. Weston Barnes, Noah Dyer and Spencer Wickens have spent time on the back line, with Barnes posting 2.38 digs/set, Dyer adding 1.55 digs/set and Wickens marking 0.43 digs/set. At the net, Max Chamblerain leads the blockers with 1.24 blocks/set after marking 78 blocks this season. Wieczorek, Harthaller, Harriman and Michael Wexter have all amassed over 47 blocks as well, with Wieczorek tallying 52, Harthaller marking 49, and Harriman and Wexter posting 47.
LAST WEEK – Last week, the Waves dominated the Galen Center for a 3-0 win over USC with 25-20, 26-24 and 25-23 final set scores. Pepperdine posted 49 kills on a .315 success rate, while tabbing 44 assists, seven aces, 39 digs and 4.5 team blocks. The opposition was good for 38 kills on a .292 clip along with 37 assists, five aces, 35 digs and 5.0 blocks.
David Wieczorek led the team with 15 kills on a .314 hitting percentage with one ace and four digs. Alex Harthaller had a big all-around effort with 13 smashes on a .440 success rate, along with three aces and seven digs. Michael Wexter also tabbed three aces and six kills, while Max Chamberlain and Colby Harriman put up seven and six kills apiece. Robert Mullahey led the team with 38 assists and produced six digs.
OPPONENT NOTES: #2 BYU – Pepperdine leads Brigham Young with an all-time record of 34-30 dating back to when the two teams first faced in 1977 and the Waves won in straight sets. After that match, Pepperdine went on their longest winning-streak against the Cougars with eight-matches in a row. Last season, BYU had the edge in both matches, winning them by straight set decisions. This season, the Cougars rank second nationally with a 19-5, 9-1 overall record.
OPPONENT NOTES: STANFORD – The Waves have gone 54-27 overall against the Cardinal, dating back to 1974 when the teams first faced off with a 3-2 Pepperdine win as the outcome. The Waves continued to win 12-straight matches through the 1988 campaign before Stanford picked up the program’s first win over Pepperdine. The Waves have posted two six-match winning streaks from 2002-03 and 2008-09 throughout the years. Last season, the two teams split with Stanford taking the first match 3-1 in Malibu, before the Waves exacted revenge in Palo Alto with a 3-1 win of their own. This season, the Cardinal is receiving votes in the AVCA coaches poll with a 6-17 overall record and a 3-7 MPSF output.
SPORTS IMPORTS/AVCA AND MPSF WEEKLY HONORS – David Wieczorek and Alex Harthaller have both earned weekly honors this season, with Wieczorek marking four offensive MPSF honors and one AVCA national accolade and Harthaller marking his first-career defensive MPSF award.
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.