Pepperdine Enters AVCA National Championship on Friday

Delaney Knudsen

April 30, 2014



MALIBU, Calif. - The cumulating event has arrived for the #2 Pepperdine sand volleyball team: the 2014 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships. The event once again returns to the beautiful white-sand beaches of Gulf Shores, Ala. and runs May 2-4.

MATCH 17 - #2 Pepperdine (15-1) vs. Stetson (18-4) or #4 Florida State (16-1) | Friday, May 2 | 11 a.m. (PT)/1 p.m. (CT) | Gulf Shores, Ala.

COVERAGE - Follow the Waves on Twitter @PeppSandVolley for in-match updates and other news surrounding the team … CBS Sports Network will televise portions of the competition in a two-hour special that will have three airings: May 26, 4 p.m. (PT), May 30, 4:30 p.m. and June 2, 4 p.m.

TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP - Pepperdine will engage in dual play exclusively on Friday and Saturday ... A win in  the first round on Friday would put the Waves straight into the semifinals, scheduled for 10 a.m. (PT) on Saturday ... A loss would relegate Pepperdine into an elimination round match, slated for a 2 p.m. (PT) start on Friday ... The title match is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (PT) on Saturday afternoon ... While the opening rounds will utilize all five courts at once, the championship dual will feature a staggered start with only two courts active at one time ... A double elimination format will be used on Friday, but Saturday’s semifinals and final will be a win or go home situation.

PAIRS CHAMPIONSHIP - By virtue of being one of six teams selected for the team championship, Pepperdine’s No. 1 team of Kellie Woolever and Kelley Larsen will automatically be placed into Sunday’s 16-team pairs bracket ... Should the Waves reach Saturday’s semifinal, then their No. 2 team of Becca Strehlow and Lara Dykstra will be allotted entry as well ... If Pepperdine does not advance to Saturday’s semifinals, then Strehlow and Dykstra would have to compete in a play-in match on Saturday afternoon in order to make Sunday’s pairs championship filed.

THE FIELD - In order of seeding, #1 USC (22-1), #2 Pepperdine (15-1) #3 Hawaii (18-3), #4 Florida State (16-1), #6 Florida International (14-2) and Stetson (18-4) make up the six-team field ... The entire list of pairs entries can be found on the AVCA website.

WAVES’ SOCIAL CIRCLE - Stay informed with up-to-the-minute coverage by following the sand volleyball team on Twitter @PeppSandVolley ... Like us on Facebook by searching for Pepperdine Women’s Volleyball ... Tag us in Instragram photos at PepperdineWaves.

SCOUTING THE FIELD - Pepperdine is 16-1 all-time vs. this season’s tournament field, including a 3-1 mark in 2014 ... The Waves split the season series vs. USC, winning 5-0 at Zuma Beach before falling 4-1 on the road ... Pepperdine swept Hawaii, 5-0, twice in 2014 ... The Waves are 2-0 against both Florida International and Florida State with all four meetings occurring during the 2013 season.

LOOKING BACK - Pepperdine ended the regular-season on April 19, with a doubleheader vs. both #6 Saint Mary’s and Pacific at Zuma Beach ... The Waves won 5-0 on both accounts.

AVCA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY - The Waves won the inaugural title in 2012, beating the College of Charleston and Long Beach State twice en route to the title ... Caitlin Racich and Summer Ross claimed the pairs championship that year as well ... The deck was stacked against Pepperdine in 2013, who competed shorthanded with just eight players ... Despite the setback, the Waves still reached the finals after edging both USC and Florida State ... In the finals, Pepperdine opened the dual vs. Long Beach State down 0-1, having to forfeit a match without a full lineup and succumbed to a 3-2 defeat ... The 49ers were ranked #2 at the time.

ROSTER - Pepperdine boasts an experienced lineup made up of 10 student-athletes with at least one season of collegiate sand volleyball experience and four rookies ... Five members of the 2014 squad were there in the beginning, when Pepperdine won the inaugural AVCA National Championship in 2012 ... Those student-athletes include Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS), Emily Cook (Huntington Beach, Calif./Murrieta Valley HS), Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS), Caitlin Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS) and Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS.).

Nina Matthies - Nina Matthies’ retired from coaching the indoor game following the 2013 season and finishes 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. 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.

Marcio Sicoli Marcio Sicoli is in his third season assisting Matthies in the sand after just completing his sixth and final season on the sidelines for the indoor team. 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. 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 is currently training with 2016 Olympic hopefuls Walsh Jennings and April Ross.

JON DAZE - The Waves’ volunteer assistant coach was recognized as one of the AVCA’s Thirty Under 30 Award recipients ... He was the only volunteer assistant coach honored this year and just the second in the history of the award ... Established in 2009, the award honors emerging coaching talent younger than 30 years old at all levels of volleyball.

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. Participation in sand volleyball has grown incrementally since the inaugural season in 2012, and more than 40 schools are expected to field programs this season. Such rapid growth makes sand volleyball the fastest-growing ‘Emerging Sport’ in NCAA history.

SAND VOLLEYBALL HISTORY - The Pepperdine women’s sand 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 boast a nation-best eight AVCA All-Americans: Lara Dykstra (2013), Lilla Frederick (2012, 13), Kim Hill (2012, 13), Racich (2012, 13) and Ross (2012). 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. Racich is the only two-time AVCA All-American active in 2014.

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 undergraduate enrollment and is the only school not affiliated with a BCS-level conference. The Waves have 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 #57 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.



Pepperdine Waves
Official online store