#1 Beach Volleyball Hosts #4 FSU, Travels for Gamecock Grand Slam

Gigi  Hernandez (5) (Photo by Katie Ristow)
Gigi Hernandez (5) (Photo by Katie Ristow)
March 12, 2018


MALIBU, Calif. - Fueled by an eight-match winning streak, the No. 1 Pepperdine beach volleyball team heads into another busy week.  The Waves return to Zuma Beach for a dual against No. 4 Florida State on Wednesday before hitting the road to compete in the Gamecock Grand Slam in South Carolina on Saturday and Sunday.

The Last Meeting
Florida State1
March 10, 2018
Manhattan Beach, Calif.
The Last Meeting
South Carolina0
March 28, 2015
Columbia, S.C.
#3 Pepperdine Splits in Dual Play at Palmetto Invitational
The Pepperdine sand volleyball team opened action at the Palmetto Invitational with duals vs. FIU and South Carolina, followed by the opening rounds of the pairs championship. The Waves fell to the Panthers, 3-2, before bouncing back with a 5-0 win over the hosting Gamecocks.

The Last Meeting
March 11, 2018
Manhattan Beach, Calif.
The Last Meeting
Georgia State1
March 12, 2017
Manhattan Beach, Calif.

DUAL 13 - Wednesday (March 14) at Zuma Beach in Malibu, Calif.: No. 1 Pepperdine vs No. 4 Florida State at 1 p.m. (PT).

DUAL 14 - Saturday (March 17) at Wheeler Beach in Columbia, S.C.: No. 1 Pepperdine vs. Jacksonville State at 8 a.m. (PT).

DUAL 15 - Saturday (March 17) at Wheeler Beach in Columbia, S.C.: No. 1 Pepperdine at No. 9 South Carolina at 2 p.m. (PT).

DUAL 16 - Sunday (March 18) at Wheeler Beach in Columbia, S.C.: No. 1 Pepperdine vs. No. 7 LSU at 6 a.m. (PT)

DUAL 17 - Sunday (March 18) at Wheeler Beach in Columbia, S.C.: No. 1 Pepperdine vs. No. 11 Georgia State at 8 a.m. (PT).

COVERAGE - Pepperdine will provide live tweets for the home match at Zuma Beach @WavesBeachVB.  Any updates available from the host school for the Gamecock Grand Slam can also be found on Twitter.  Follow on Twitter and Facebook (@WavesBeachVB) for all updates before, during and after matches.  Also, go to PepperdineWaves.com for updates, recaps and more.

WAVES WEATHER - On Wednesday at Zuma Beach, the forecast calls for a high of 61 degrees and low of 49 degrees with a sunny disposition for the sky.  The wind will be coming from the west at 10-20 miles per hour.

On Saturday in South Carolina, the forecasts states a high of 66 degrees and low of 51 degrees with a 50 percent chance of showers and a cloudy outlook.  The wind will move east/northeast at 8 mph.  On Sunday, the chance of rain decreases to 30 percent later in the day, with a high of 70 degrees and low of 53.  Some light breeze will move southwest at 5 mph.

LOOKING AHEAD - After the weekend on the road, the Waves return to California to make a short trip inland to Northridge where Pepperdine will take on CSUN and Loyola Marymount on March 22. 

THE NO. 1 WAVES - Pepperdine ranks atop the AVCA coaches poll for the second-straight week after advancing the season’s record to 10-2 overall.  All wins have been over ranked teams, while the Waves have also posted a 4-1 record when facing top-five ranked programs and 8-1 against top-10 ranked squads.  The Waves hold a 2-0 record at home, 3-0 on the road and have gone 5-2 on neutral sand.

As pairs, the Waves have posted a 40-20 record overall and have gone 90-52 in sets played.  At the No. 1 spot, Madalyn Roh and Brook Bauer have amassed a 6-3 record, while going 8-4 overall this season.  The duo has clinched wins for the Waves in three of the last five matches and has tabbed a 19-10 record in sets.  In the No. 2 position, Deahna Kraft and Corinne Quiggle have put up an 8-1 output in the slot, along with a 9-3 record on the season all-together.  The pair is currently on an eight-match winning streak with all but one match being won in straight sets.  Kraft and Quiggle have put up a 17-3 sets record in the No. 2 position as well this season.  The No. 2 position has been the deciding factor in six of the Waves’ 12 matches this season, including the first-five matches overall.  Heidi Dyer and Gigi Hernandez have been in the No. 3 position throughout the whole season for Pepperdine, amassing an 8-4 overall record against opponents. 

The No. 4 position has been the most successful for the Waves this season, as Skylar Caputo and Alexis Filippone have amassed an impressive undefeated 12-0 record, adding a 24-5 record by sets as well.  The duo has won seven by straight sets and gritted out five three-set battles this season.  There have been four separate pairs playing in the No.5 position for the Waves, with the responsibility falling primarily on Maddie Dilfer and Jordan Ferrari. The two have put up a 2-6 record, while Pepperdine has gone 3-9 in the position altogether.

LAST WEEK - Pepperdine went 5-0 in matches against ranked opponents last week.  The Waves opened with a solo dual at No. 7 Long Beach State on Wednesday, amassing a 3-2 win.  Brook Bauer and Madalyn row collected a 21-16, 23-21 win on court one, Deahna Kraft and Corinne Quiggle posted a 21-14, 21-3 win over their opposition on two, and Skylar Caputo and Alexis Filippone downed their competitors with a 23-21, 16-21, 19-17 win on four.

The Waves trekked to Manhattan Beach for the East Meets West Challenge on Saturday and Sunday, defeating No. 5 Florida State 4-1, No. 20 TCU 5-0, No. 9 LSU 3-2 and No. 13 FIU 3-2 throughout.  The Waves No. 1 pair Bauer and Roh went 3-1 over the weekend with wins against the Seminoles, Horned Frogs and Tigers.  Pepperdine’s No. 2 and 4 pairs, Quiggle and Kraft and Caputo and Filippone, went undefeated overall all opponents.  Heidi Dyer and Gigi Hernandez posted a 3-1 record over the tournament with wins over FSU, TCU and FIU.  Maddie Dilfer and Jordan Ferrari collected a two-set win over TCU’s No. 5 pair as well.

OPPONENT NOTES - Pepperdine has winning all-time records against all five opponents on the docket this week.  Against No. 4 Florida State, the Waves have gone 8-1 against the Seminoles since the teams first met in 2013.  Pepperdine won the first six-straight matches until FSU took their first 3-2 win in 2017.  Last weekend, Pepperdine downed Florida State 4-1 in the East Meets West Challenge.  On the season, the Seminoles have posted a 9-3 record.

The Waves have never faced Jacksonville State. Against No. 9 South Carolina, Pepperdine has posted one win in 2015, a 5-0 victory on the road.  This season, USC has gone 9-1 against opponents.  Against No. 7 LSU, Pepperdine has amassed a 2-0 record, with the first two matches being played this season on neutral ground.  The Waves won 4-1 and 3-2 in those matches.  This season, LSU has gone 6-6 against opponents.  The Waves have gone 5-0 against Georgia State all-time, dating back to the 2013 campaign when Pepperdine won 5-0 on neutral sand.  Since then, the Waves have swept the Panthers on one other occasion and downed them 4-1 in the other three matches.  This season, GSU has gone 10-3 against competitors.

PAIRS OF THE WEEK - The Waves have had one pairing earn both AVCA and VolleyMob pair of the week accolades after Skylar Caputo and Alexis Filippone did so on March 6.

WEST COAST CONFERENCE PRESEASON ACCOLADES - The Waves were tabbed to finish atop the West Coast Conference for the third-straight season, as voted by the league’s seven head coaches in the WCC Preseason Poll and released on February 14.

Corinne Quiggle, Skylar Caputo, Heidi Dyer and Madalyn Roh also were tabbed to the All-WCC Preseason Beach Volleyball Team as well.  The Waves earned 36 points to rank atop the conference in the preseason poll, with all six first place votes possible. 

LAST SEASON - The Waves went 27-5 overall last season and finished as NCAA Runner-up after a narrow loss in the finals.  Pepperdine collected a 17-5 record against ranked opponents, while amassing a 9-1 record at Zuma Beach, a 6-2 record on the road and a 14-2 output on neutral sand.  The Waves went 116-37 in sets played for a .758 set winning percentage.

BACK-TO-BACK WCC CHAMPS - The Waves have won back-to-back West Coast Conference Championship titles in 2016 and 2017, with a series of three-straight wins en route to each title.  In 2017, the Waves opened the tournament with a 5-0 sweep over Pacific.  The team then defeated PCH Cup rivals Loyola Marymount with 4-1 decisions to earn the title.  Last season, the Waves beat LMU once and Saint Mary’s twice for the championship.

SKIES THE LIMIT - Many of the Waves participate in all that southern California has to offer.  Skylar Caputo often competes in paddle boarding when not in season, along with surfing and hiking any nearby mountains for fun.  In 2016, she and fellow Wave Kaity Bailey hiked to the top of Mount Whitney with each of their fathers for a father-daughter backpacking trip.

THEY CAN DO IT ALL - Juniors Nikki Lyons and Heidi Dyer are the only two current Waves to be competing for both Pepperdine’s indoor women’s volleyball program and beach volleyball program at a competitive level.  Lyons and Dyer are each starters on the indoor squad and have seen ample amounts on the beach with Dyer being a two-year starter and each Wave seeing time in the NCAA and WCC Championship tournaments last season.

Heidi Dyer, THE TITANIUM WOMAN - Junior Heidi Dyer had an interesting road to NCAA Division I athletics and AVCA Beach All-American status.  When she was 12, a major scoliosis curve of over 60 percent forced her to get corrective surgery.  She had two titanium rods fused to her spine to keep her back straight.  Despite her parents being told she would never play volleyball again and may never walk again, she defied all odds and became one of Pepperdine beach and indoor volleyball student-athletes.  During the 2016 NCAA Beach Volleyball National Championship season, TurnerSports and NCAA.com did a feature piece on her that streamed throughout the NCAA tournament and aired on TBS.  It was voted one of the top-10 features on NCAA.com last season.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL HISTORY - The Pepperdine women’s beach volleyball program has been at the forefront of the sport since it was introduced in 2012. The Waves went a perfect 14-0 in dual match play and won the inaugural AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Team Championship in Gulf Shores, Ala. Pepperdine’s Caitlin Racich -- the program’s first-ever scholarship recipient -- and partner Summer Ross took home the pairs national crown as well. In 2013, the Waves marched back to the national title match but fell 3-2 while playing shorthanded. The Waves returned with a vengeance in 2014, going 18-1 in route to the national championship title. The Waves boast a nation-best 14 AVCA All-Americans: Lara Dykstra (2013, 14), Lilla Frederick (2012, 13), Kim Hill (2012, 13), Kelley Larsen (2014, 15), Racich (2012, 13), Ross (2012), Becca Strehlow (2014) and Kellie Woolever (2014, 15). Hill stands as the first, and to date only, student-athlete to earn AVCA All-American first team honors in both indoor and sand volleyball in a single season.  Last season, the Waves made a run for the national crown in the Championship title bout against top-ranked USC in Gulf Shores.  The Waves made it a 2-2 match with the final court reaching a 13-13 tie in the final set before the Trojans picked up the win.

NCAA STATUS - This season marks the third season which beach volleyball will be an NCAA-sanctioned sport, with the NCAA Championships to be held again in Gulf Shores, Ala. from May 4-6.  The last two seasons marked the first that the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships was held in Gulf Shores, with USC take home both titles.  Previously, collegiate sand volleyball, completed the fourth and final year as an “emerging sport” in the 2015 season. It was given 10 years to gain the minimum 40 sponsoring institutions for two years in a row to be considered an NCAA Championship sport. With requirements met in record time, sand volleyball was voted into NCAA Championship Sport status in 2015. The NCAA will host only a team championship, and not a pairs championship.

MATTHIES - Nina Matthies’ enters the 2018 beach season facing her seventh and final season at the helm of the Waves.  She has collected a 112-18 record in the previous six seasons.  She will be assisted this season once again by future leader of the Waves’ program Marcio Sicoli and AVCA All-American and 2017 Pepperdine alumna Delaney Knudsen.  Matthies retired from coaching the indoor game following the 2013 season and finished her 31-season run with a career record of 590-343 (.632). In the span, Matthies led the Waves to 10 conference championships and 20 NCAA Tournament appearances. She is by far the WCC’s all-time winningest coach and is a 10-time WCC Coach of the Year. Matthies was among the world’s top players and is a member of the Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame and in 2015 was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame and earned the USA Volleyball’s All-Time Great Female Beach Player award. In 2009, Dig Magazine rated her and former partner Linda Hanley as the second-best women’s beach team of all time. She won two AIAW national championships as a player at UCLA. In 2013, she was honored by her peers as the inaugural winner of the AVCA Sand Volleyball Coach of the Year award.

SICOLI - Marcio Sicoli is in his seventh season assisting Nina Matthies in the sand, after spending six season with her as assistant indoor volleyball coach.  He was recently named by Pepperdine to suceed Matthies at the helm of the Waves after her retirement at the end of the season.  Sicoli is highly lauded for his approach to training and served as head coach for Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings during their gold-medal run at the 2012 London Olympics as well as the Walsh Jennings and April Ross bronze medal run at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Olympica. Sicoli also served as the assistant coach for the Brazilian Olympic Women’s Beach Volleyball Team from 2000 to 2004. In 2004, his team of Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede took home the silver medal in Athens. He currently serves as coach to 2016 Olympic hopefuls Walsh Jennings and April Ross.

ZUMA BEACH - The Waves call Zuma Beach “home,” practicing and hosting all home events at one of Malibu’s most picturesque locations. Courts are located just west of Point Dume, between Towers 2 & 3 or at the 29800 block of the Pacific Coast Highway.

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 17 schools to have accomplished this feat — and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment, is the only school without football and is the only university that has not been affiliated with a “major” conference. The Waves have won a total of 25 team or individual national championships in their history. Pepperdine has also earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that’s given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). 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 No. 50 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.



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