#3 Waves Host #4 Trojans on Friday Night
UPCOMING Â The #3 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team looks to keep its unbeaten start to the 2009 season going when the Waves host #4 USC on Friday night in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match. Both teams are riding five-match win streaks. A victory would give the Waves their best start since 2004. Paul Carroll earned AVCA and MPSF awards for his efforts last weekend.
MATCH #6 Â Friday (Jan. 30) at Firestone Fieldhouse: #3 Pepperdine (5-0, 4-0) vs. #4 USC (5-1, 2-0) at 7 p.m.
ON THE WEB Â Live video of all the Waves’ home matches can be viewed at PepperdineSports.com. The official website has moved to a pay-per-view platform in 2008-09, with an annual pass costing $69.95 and monthly subscriptions also being available. Live statistics can be accessed for all home matches free of charge, and links are provided to the home team’s website when the Waves are on the road. Go to the "Wave Casts" link toward the top of the home page to find more information.
TICKETS Â Single-match tickets to all home men’s volleyball games are $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and free to all Pepperdine students and faculty with a university ID.
SERIES INFO Â Pepperdine is 51-30 all-time against USC dating back to 1971. The teams split the season series last season, with each winning on the other’s home court. It was the Trojans’ first win at Firestone Fieldhouse since 1999. Overall, Pepperdine has won four of the last five, 13 of 15, 17 of 20 and 25 of 29.
PROMOTIONS Â Free pizza will be made available to Pepperdine students prior to the match from 6-6:45 p.m.
LAST WEEKEND Â The Waves earned their first two sweeps of the season, beating Pacific 30-25, 30-25, 30-28 on Friday (Jan. 23) and then-#3 Stanford 30-25, 30-26, 30-26 on Saturday (Jan. 24). Pepperdine hit .407 against the Tigers and .405 against the Cardinal while holding the foes to .247 and .234, respectively. Paul Carroll led the team in kills in both matches, while middle blocker Tyler Jaynes and Rodnei Santos teamed up to have a big match against Stanford with a combined 26 kills. Kasey Crider averaged 15.3 assists.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK Â Paul Carroll was named the AVCA National Player of the Week and the MPSF co-Player of the Week after averaging 5.50 kills, 2.83 digs, 1.33 blocks and 6.41 points in the two victories over Pacific and Stanford. He hit over .400 in both matches. It was the fourth time that he has won both awards.
MPSF STATS Â As a team, Pepperdine is first in the conference in hitting percentage (.371) and digs (11.95) and third in opponent hitting percentage (.236) ... Paul Carroll is third in the MPSF in kills (5.53) and points (6.32), ninth in hitting percentage (.415) and 10th in blocks (1.21) and digs (2.32) ... Kasey Crider is second in assists (13.89) and seventh in digs (2.47) ... Tyler Jaynes is third in blocks (1.53) and fifth in hitting percentage (.429) ... Rodnei Santos is fourth in hitting percentage (.468) and fifth in blocks (1.42) ... Sean Grubbs is ninth in digs (2.37).
SEASON NOTABLES Â The Waves are 5-0 for the first time since 2006 and are looking to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 2004. Other great starts were 9-0 in 1999, 14-0 in 1992 and 12-0 in 1986 ... Pepperdine won its season opener for the 20th consecutive season (last losing one in 1989) ... Rather than play a number of non-conference matches prior to the season, the Waves went to Canada and took part in a couple of exhibition tournaments. They won the Brian Mallard Invitational in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and finished second at the McDonald’s International Classic in Kamloops, B.C. In the fall, the Waves also took part in the Can-Am Challenge in Edmonton, Alberta, and the Preview to the Final Four in Buffalo, N.Y.
ROSTER Â The Waves return 10 of 14 letterwinners and five starters plus the libero from the 2008 squad. Pepperdine returns four other players from last year’s team, plus adds two transfers and two true freshmen to the roster for a total of 18 players. There are four seniors, six juniors, four sophomores, two redshirt freshmen and two true freshmen.
CARROLL Â One of the nation’s most feared hitters, two-time All-American first teamer Paul Carroll (Forster, Australia) returns for his senior season. He led the nation in kills (6.54) and points (7.56) in 2008. He was also named Volleyball Australia’s top male player in 2008. He has moved up to fifth place on Pepperdine’s career kills list (1,545).
CRIDER Â With the graduation of four-time All-American Jonathan Winder, sophomore Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) takes over the reins at setter. A former youth national team member, Crider saw time on the court as a serving and defensive specialist last season.
OUTSIDE HITTERS Â Pepperdine’s lineup suffered a blow when senior J.D. Schleppenbach (Ventura, Calif./Ventura HS), one of the postseason heroes of 2008, had offseason shoulder surgery that will force him to redshirt the 2009 season. Still, the Waves have several strong options. Sophomore Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS) started as a freshman last season and was the Waves’ second-leading hitter with 3.22 kills. Senior Matt McKee (Aurora, Ill./Aurora West HS) saw plenty of playing time last season when Paul Carroll was injured, and later was one of the first players off the bench, and averaged 2.54 kills. Junior Brent Schirripa (Los Angeles, Calif./Crespi Carmelite HS), redshirt freshman Chase Ross (Carlsbad, Calif./Carlsbad HS), a member of the USA Beach Volleyball team this past summer, and Cal State Northridge transfer Sean Pedersen (Evergreen Park, Ill./Mount Carmel HS) are also options.
MIDDLE BLOCKERS Â The Waves return last year’s starting middle blockers in senior Mark Hulse (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township HS/Rutgers-Newark) and sophomore Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS). Hulse averaged 0.64 kills and 1.36 blocks and Jaynes averaged 1.30 kills and 1.18 blocks. But two newcomers also figure to make an impact: junior Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil), who was a starter at BYU as a 2007 freshman, and freshman Matt Pollock (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg HS).
GRUBBS Â Junior libero Sean Grubbs (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor HS/Irvine Valley CC) did an excellent job in his first season with the Waves, averaging 1.88 digs, and is manning the position again.
DUNPHY Â Marv Dunphy, now in his 26th season as head coach of the Waves, 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. 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 entered the 2009 season with a career record of 469-184 (.718).
2009 HONORS Â Kasey Crider was named MPSF co-Player of the Week on Jan. 19 ... Paul Carroll was named AVCA Player and MPSF co-Player of the Week on Jan. 26.
MPSF POLL Â In a preseason vote of the MPSF coaches, Pepperdine and UCLA were named the co-favorites heading into the 2009 season. The rest of the teams were ranked as follows: Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge, UC Irvine, USC, Stanford, BYU, Hawaii, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego and Pacific.
LAST YEAR Â After ending the regular season in a tie for fourth place in the MPSF with a 12-10 record, the Waves went on a remarkable postseason run. They upset three higher-seeded squads on the road or at neutral sites to win the MPSF Tournament for the fourth time. Pepperdine then beat Long Beach State in the NCAA Championships semfinals before falling to top-ranked Penn State in the title match. Paul Carroll and Jonathan Winder repeated as first-team All-Americans. The Waves finished with an overall record of 17-11.
2008 GREATEST MOMENT Â The Pepperdine men’s volleyball team’s run through the postseason last year won it a "Greatest Sports Moment of 2008" award at the Fourth Annual L.A. Sports Awards, presented by the Los Angeles Sports Council. The Waves won in the "Other Division I Schools" category in an online vote over Cal State Fullerton’s men’s basketball team and UC Irvine’s men’s soccer team.
VOLLEYBALL HISTORY Â Pepperdine has won five NCAA championships, second only to UCLA. The Waves have won the MPSF Tournament four times and have won or shared nine regular-season conference titles, including four of the last eight MPSF crowns. Pepperdine student-athletes have won national player of the year honors seven times and All-American accolades 71 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 Â Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won a total of nine NCAA championships in five different men’s sports Â one of just 14 schools to have accomplished this feat. Of the 14, Pepperdine is the only non-BCS school and has by far the smallest enrollment. The majority of Pepperdine’s teams are ranked nationally year after year and several compete for conference and national titles.