MPSF Preseason Coaches' Poll Puts Waves in Third Place

Matt Tarantino

Dec. 11, 2012

MALIBU, Calif. – The Pepperdine men’s volleyball team was chosen to finish third in the 2013 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings today in a preseason vote by the league’s coaches.  The Waves received 113 points in this year’s poll.

Defending NCAA and MPSF champion UC Irvine was a near-unanimous first place pick with 143 total points and 11 first place votes. BYU was picked to finish second with 134 points and the remaining two first place votes. The nine points separating the Anteaters and the Cougars marks the biggest gap between the first and second place teams in conference preseason poll history.

The Waves, who finished the 2012 season in seventh place in the MPSF standings, are predicted to be the most improved team in 2013. Pepperdine collected 113 points and is picked to wrap the conference season in third place.

The Waves return four starters plus the libero in 2013 after finishing the 2012 season with a 14-15 overall record and 9-13 in the MPSF. Leading the way is senior opposite Maurice Torres (Riverside, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS), who was a first team All-MPSF selection and second team AVCA All-American last year as a junior. He enters his final campaign with 1,217 career kills and a 3.96 kills/set average, and is on track to rank in the top-10 in several categories in the Pepperdine record book.

A solid group of sophomores also return in 2013, now with a year of experience under their belts. Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood Academy) will once again manage the offense from the setting position. West was an All-MPSF honorable mention and All-Freshman team honoree last season, and ranked second in both the league and the NCAA with an 11.38 assists/set average.

Josh Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) ranked second on the team behind Torres with 3.52 kills/set during his rookie campaign, and was rewarded with a spot on the MPSF All-Freshman team for his efforts.



Matt Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif./Bishop Alemany HS) and Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS), who both took turns starting in the middle are back, along with junior liberos Mike McMahon (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic HS), Ryan Plueger (Los Angeles, Calif./Harvard-Westlake) and Kyle Gerrans (Los Gatos, Calif./Valley Christian HS).

Adding to the Waves’ depth this year are two freshmen and two transfers. Junior Leonardo Granato (Reseda, Calif./Grover Cleveland HS/Pierce College) and freshman Kyle Suppes (Union City, Calif./Bellarmine College Preparatory) come to Malibu as middle blockers. J.J. Mosolf (Saugus, Calif./Hart High School/Hawaii), who spent his freshman season redshirting at Hawaii, adds support to the right side, while freshman libero Vincent Rios (Torrance, Calif./South HS) is expected to help out the defense.

Other returners for Pepperdine include Beau Vandeweghe (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS), Scott Rhein (Pleasant View, Tenn./Aaron Academy), Parker Kalmbach (Coto de Caza, Calif./Tesoro HS), Evan Dean (Corona del Mar, Calif./Corona del Mar HS), Alex Fortna (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall HS/Penn State), and James Powers (Fort Worth, Texas/Trinity Valley HS/TCU).

Just three points behind the Waves in the voting was Stanford, followed by UCLA, Long Beach State, USC, Cal State Northridge, UC Santa Barbara, MPSF newcomer Cal Baptist, Pacific, Hawaii and UC San Diego.

The Waves open the 2013 campaign with five exhibition matches versus Canadian teams, including a home contest on Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. versus Alberta. Pepperdine officially starts the season on the road with a Jan. 8 match at UC Irvine. The team’s home opener is scheduled for Jan. 18 against Pacific.

2013 MPSF Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team, Points (first place votes)

1. UC Irvine, 143 (11)
2. BYU, 134 (2)
3. Pepperdine, 113
4. Stanford, 110
5. UCLA, 94
6. Long Beach State, 85
7. USC, 73
8. Cal State Northridge, 61
9. UC Santa Barbara, 55
10. Cal Baptist, 49
11. Pacific, 35
12. Hawaii, 30
13. UC San Diego, 22

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