Waves Wrap Regular Season at USAV Collegiate Challenge in Hermosa Beach
Pepperdine looks to end regular season strong, and earn the automatic bid for the AVCA National Championship.
April 12, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. - The undefeated Pepperdine women’s sand volleyball team caps the regular season at the USA Volleyball Collegiate Challenge in Hermosa Beach this Saturday and Sunday, April 14-15. The Waves will tangle with Loyola Marymount, USC, Long Beach State and Hawaii in dual action on Saturday, before competing in a pairs championship on Sunday.
DUAL #8 - Saturday (April 14) at Hermosa Beach: Pepperdine (10-0) vs. Loyola Marymount (0-3) at 8 a.m.
DUAL #9 - Saturday (April 14) at Hermosa Beach: Pepperdine vs. Long Beach State (2-3) at 10 a.m.
DUAL #10 - Saturday (April 14) at Hermosa Beach: Pepperdine vs. USC (5-2) at 1 p.m.
DUAL #11 - Saturday (April 14) at Hermosa Beach: Pepperdine vs. Hawaii (2-2) at 3 p.m.
SUNDAY - A pairs competition is on Sunday’s slate. The No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 pairs from each school, along with the top No. 4 team based on Saturday’s results will be placed in the Gold Division. The remaining No. 4 teams, all the No. 5 pairs and additional sub teams will compete in the Silver Division.
HERMOSA BEACH PIER - All matches will take place on the north side of the Hermosa Beach Pier, which is located at the end of Pier Avenue. Parking is located in lots on either side of the pier, and on 13th Street, two blocks north of the pier.
LOOKING BACK - The Waves hosted its first-ever events last week, and welcomed local rivals Long Beach State and USC to Zuma Beach. Pepperdine defeated the 49ers for the second time this season by a score of 3-2. The team followed that up with a 4-1 victory against the Trojans. In the pairs championship that followed, Summer Ross and Caitlin Racich strung together three-straight wins to claim their first individual title of the season. Ross and Racich are now a team-best 18-2.
EAST COAST SWING - Pepperdine steamrolled through the College of Charleston Sand Classic, sweeping UAB, North Florida, Mercer and the hosting Cougars all by scores of 5-0. What’s more is that the Waves did not drop a single set, and allowed on average just 12.1 points per set.
PROGRAM DEBUT - Pepperdine made a huge statement in its opening weekend of play, going a combined 33-11 at the USC Tournament on March 16-18. The Waves came out of Friday’s pool play as the clear front runners, going a tournament best 12-3 versus the Trojans, Florida State and Long Beach State.
During Saturday’s team competition, Pepperdine took first place with 18 points, followed by the Seminoles with 12 points. All five Wave pairs reached the finals, with three emerging as the first-place team in the respective flights. For placing first, Pepperdine tallied its first three dual match wins of the season.
Two Pepperdine duos reached the semifinals for the pairs competition, including Caitlin Racich and Summer Ross, and Victoria Adelhelm and Kellie Woolever. Racich and Ross advanced the finals, but suffered a three-set loss to Florida State’s Aurora Newgard and Brittany Tiegs, who went undefeated over the course of the weekend.
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 beyond Point Dume when traveling from campus, or near the 29800 block of the Pacific Coast Highway.
THE FORMAT - This week Pepperdine will compete in a dual format, similar to college tennis, where the No. 1 pair from one school plays the No. 1 pair from the opposing school, No. 2 vs. No. 2 and so on and so forth. A team must win three of the five matches in order to clinch the team victory. A single-elimInation bracketed pairs championship is on the Sunday schedule.
WHAT’S NEXT - On Sunday, April 12, following action at the USAV Collegiate Challenge, the AVCA will make team and pairs selections for the AVCA National Championships on April 27-29. Four spots are up for grabs for the team competition (one West Coast program, two East Coast programs, and one at-large bid), while 16 pairs will be selected for the pairs championship.
NOTING THE WAVES - Kelli Branning averages a team-best 6.25 kills/set and 6.38 digs/set in four matches played ... Stevi Robinson follows with 6.22 kills and 5.62 digs averages ... Emily Cook and Kelly Larsen have totaled 26 blocks (.70 blocks/set average) ... Summer Ross and Caitlin Racich boast the best hitting averages on the team with .564 and .489, respectively.
SINGLE MATCH HIGHS - Kills: 28, Stevi Robinson; Aces: 11, Caitlin Racich; Digs: 23, Stevi Robinson; Blocks: 5, Summer Ross.
THE LINEUP - Head coach Nina Matthies has utilized the following lineup this season: No. 1/2 Caitlin Racich/Summer Ross; No. 2/1 Lilla Frederick/Kim Hill; No. 3/4 Kelley Larsen/Stevi Robinson; No. 34/3 Victoria Adelhelm/Kellie Woolever; No. 5 Michaela Christiaansen/Emily Cook. Kelli Branning also seen time playing at the No. 5 spot in the line up.
DEPTH - The Waves have proven early that there are no weak spots in their line up and are strong top to bottom. Kelly Larsen and Stevi Robinson, who make up Pepperdine’s No. 3/4 pair, downed USC’s top pair of Sara Shaw and Geena Urango in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinals of the pairs championship at the USC Tournament. Michaela Christiaansen and Emily Cook, who hold down the No. 5 spot, also defeated Shaw and Urango, as well as Long Beach State’s No. 2 team of Lauren Minkel and Delainey Aigner-Swesey and Florida State’s No. 3 pair of Visnja Djurdjecvic and Melanie Pavels. No. 3/4 Victoria Adelhelm and Kellie Woolever won eight-straight matches during the opening weekend, before suffering their only defeat to teammates Caitlin Racich and Summer Ross in the semifinals of the pairs championship.
SAND VOLLEYBALL 101 - Each team competition is called a dual and will consist of five pairs from one school versus five pairs from another school. Each match is worth one point towards the team score. In this best-of-five format, a winner is determined when a team scores at least three points (similar to how collegiate tennis duals are contested).
The separate matches consist of the best-of-three sets, with rally scoring to 21 in the first two sets and to 15 in the third set if necessary. Teams must win by at least two points.
Pairs competitions will also be held this season, with the two-person teams being placed in brackets and playing in single or double elimination tournaments.
The AVCA National Team Championship will be held in the same format as the team competition at the USC Tournament. The No. 1 pairs from all four schools in attendance will play each other in a double-elimination flight (No. 2 vs. No. 2 etc.), with a sudden death final. The first-place team from each flight is awarded four points, second place earns three points, two points for third place and point for fourth. The team with the most points at the end is crowned the champion.
SOCIAL MEDIA - Fans can follow the Waves on Twitter @PepperdineWVB or @PepperdineWaves and “like” us on Facebook by searching for Pepperdine Athletics.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? - There are a few key elements of sand volleyball that differ from its indoor counterpart. No open hand tipping is allowed, and the block touch counts as the first of three allowable contacts. Coaches may only speak to players or give instruction during timeouts or between sets. Finally, to make a level playing field with regards to impact of the sun and wind, the players switch sides of the court every seven points in a 21 point set, and every five points in a 15 point set. The court is also smaller at 8x8 meters, while the indoor court measures 9x9 meters.
WHAT’S AN EMERGING SPORT? - Collegiate sand volleyball is an “emerging sport.” It has 10 years to gain the minimum 40 sponsoring institutions for two years in a row to be considered an NCAA Championship sport.
Nina Matthies - Nina Matthies’ just completed her 29th season as head coach for the indoor team and boasts a career record of 553-319 (.632), which includes 10 conference championships and 19 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. 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.
VOLLEYBALL HISTORY — The Pepperdine women’s indoor volleyball program is synonymous with the word excellence, as the Waves are a perennial national power. The Waves have advanced to postseason play 26 times in 37 seasons, including 12 trips to the NCAA Championships in the last 15 seasons. Pepperdine’s best finishes in recent years came when the team made the regional final of the 2002 NCAAs, and again during the 2011 season.
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.