Pepperdine Tangles with Stanford in MPSF Quarterfinals

Matt West

April 19, 2012

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MALIBU, Calif. - The #9-ranked Pepperdine men’s volleyball team enters the 2012 MPSF Tournament this Saturday, April 21 with a quarterfinal match at #3 Stanford. The winner of the match advances to the semifinals, where they’ll meet the winner of the BYU-Long Beach State quarterfinal.

MATCH #29 - Saturday (April 21) at Maples Pavilion: #9 Pepperdine (14-14, 9-13 MPSF) vs. #3 Stanford (20-6, 17-5 MPSF) at 7 p.m.

THE PLAYOFF SCENE - The Waves earned the No. 7 seed in the MPSF Tournament and are facing No. 2 Stanford in the quarterfinals. Other quarterfinal matchups include No. 6 Long Beach State at No. 3 BYU, No. 5 UCLA at No. 4 UC Irvine and No. 8 Cal State Northridge at No. 1 USC. The highest seed remaining after this weekend’s action will play host to the semifinals and finals on April 26 and April 28.

LOOKING BACK - The Waves suffered a pair of 3-1 losses last week, first to Cal State Northridge, then to Long Beach State. Maurice Torres made an early exit from the match versus the Matadors, and with a playoff spot clinched, remained sidelined in the regular season finale against the 49ers. He is expected to return to the starting lineup this weekend. Matt Pollock stepped up and put away 10 kills at CSUN before tagging down a career high 16 at Long Beach State. Josh Taylor took over on the opposite side in Torres’ absence and put away 22 kills against the 49ers.

COVERAGE - Live stats and a live video broadcast will be available for the match. Links to all available media can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page at

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 #9 in the AVCA Coaches’ Top-15 Poll.

NOTING THE WAVES - This will be the 1,021st match in Pepperdine history ... The Waves are 695-325 all time ... In conference play the Waves are 485-248 and 280-131 in MPSF action ... Marv Dunphy boasts a career record of 532-228 ... The Waves are 369-111 when playing inside Firestone Fieldhouse ... The Waves are 147-84 all-time during the month of April.

PEPPERDINE IN THE POSTSEASON - The Waves have made 18 MPSF Tournament appearances since 1993 and boast an all-time record of 22-12. Pepperdine has won four MPSF Tournament titles, the last coming during the 2008 season. Other seasons the Waves won were in 1998, 2002 and 2005. Pepperdine went on to win the NCAA Championship title during the 2005 season.

STANFORD - The Cardinal finished the regular season 20-6 and 17-5 in the MPSF ... Stanford won a three-way tie with BYU and UC Irvine (also 17-5 in the league) to capture the No. 2 seed in the MPSF Tournament ... Brad Lawson (Sr., OH) and Erik Shoji (Sr., L) were named the All-MPSF first team; Evan Barry (Sr., S) and Brian Cook (So., Opp) made the second team roster; Stevin Irvin (Sr., MB) and Eric Mochalski (Sr., MB) earned an honorable mention.

SERIES SCORE - Stanford and Pepperdine have met in the postseason six times, but not since 2000 when the Waves edged the Cardinal 15-13 in the fifth set of the MPSF first-round match ... Pepperdine leads the postseason series (including conference and NCAA matches), 4-2 ... That includes a Pepperdine sweep in the 1992 NCAA championship final in Muncie, Ind. ... Stanford’s most recent postseason victory over the Waves was a sweep in the first round of the 1997 MPSF tournament.

ALL-TIME SERIES - The Waves lead the all-time series with Stanford 48-20, but the Cardinal has one the last five straight, and six of the last seven ... Pepperdine fell 3-1 in Palo Alto on Feb. 24, before suffering a narrow five set loss inside Firestone Fieldhouse on March 30.

ALL-MPSF SQUAD - Maurice Torres earned a spot on the All-MPSF first team roster ... Matt Pollock and Matt West were named to the honorable mention team ... West, Matt Tarantino and Josh Taylor accounted for three of the six spots on the all-freshman list.

TORRES - Maurice Torres is the most recent addition to the Waves’ 1,000 kills club, having reached the milestone at BYU on March 2 ... With a career tally of 1,206 kills, Torres ranks 10th in the Pepperdine record book ... To overtake ninth place, he needs to surpass 1,352 kills ... The junior has reached doubles digit kill totals in 24 of the season’s 28 matches ... Torres, the Waves’ opposite side hitter, has averaged 3.98 kill/set during his career as a Wave, including a 4.03 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 five times ... He set a new career high vs. UC Irvine on April 5 with 15 digs ... In MPSF play, Torres averages 4.12 kills/set ... Torres suffered a minor ankle injury against Cal State Northridge and missed the regular season finale at Long Beach State. He is expected to play on Saturday.

OUTSIDE HITTERS - Since suffering a hand injury on March 30 vs. Stanford, Josh Taylor has seen limited played time ... He returned to the lineup on April 12, manning the opposite hitter position in Torres absence.\ ... He returned to the starting lineup against the 49ers on April 14 and pegged down 22 kills ... Scott Rhein took Taylor’s position on the outside ... Chase Ross has been the other starter at the pin ... Ross is a well-rounded contributor to the team, averaging 2.04 kills/set and 1.10 digs/set ... The senior ranks second on the team with 19 aces ... Ross boasts the highest serve receive percentage of all the primary passers on the team with a .967 (520 attempts, 17 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 11.37 assists/set to rank second in the MPSF ... On defense, West lends 1.42 digs/set and 0.72 blocks/set to the team effort.

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 1.17 blocks/set while contributing 1.97 kills/set earned on a .446 average ... Tarantino, who came to Pepperdine as an opposite side hitter, has started in 19 of the last 20 matches ... Tarantino added middle blocker to his repertoire after less than a week’s worth of practices at the position, and now averages 1.55 kills and 0.95 blocks.

LIBERO/LIBERO - Coach Marv Dunphy has utilized the new two libero rule to his full advantage, using several combinations this season ... Mike McMahon (1.40 digs/set), Kyle Gerrans (0.63 digs/set) and Ryan Plueger (1.00 digs/set) all have shared time handling the serve receive and the defense ... McMahon has seen the most action this season, appearing in 83 of the 114 sets, while Plueger started the last seven matches.

MPSF INDIVIDUAL STATS - Maurice Torres ranks fourth in kills (4.03), fifth in service aces (0.43), 12th in digs (1.77) and third in points (4.86) ... Josh Taylor ranks ninth with 3.51 kills/set and 12th with 3.90 points/set ... Matt Pollock ranks sixth in hitting percentage (.446) and sixth in blocks (1.17) ... Matt West ranks second with 11.37 assists/set.

MPSF TEAM STATS - The Waves hit for a .286 attack percentage to rank sixth ... Pepperdine limits opponents to a .277 hitting percentage to rank eighth ... The Waves rank fifth in kills (12.94), fourth in assists (12.44), sixth in blocks (2.49), 10th in service aces (0.82) and 10th in digs (8.10).

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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