Men's Volleyball Ranked #1; Riecks Honored
MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine men's volleyball team was ranked #11 nationally just four weeks ago, but thanks to a tremendous run of success, the Waves have made a meteoric rise to #1 in the latest AVCA national poll.
Additionally, junior outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS) was named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's co-Player of the Week today following the Waves' victories over Pacific and then-#2 Stanford last week.
It appears that only once before has a men's volleyball team gone from outside the top 10 to the #1 ranking in the same season. That was Lewis in 2003, which was #11 in early-season polls but won the national championship and was #1 in the final poll (however, Lewis later vacated the title due to an ineligible player).
Pepperdine accomplished the feat in a little less than a month. At the end of January, Pepperdine's record stood at 1-4 and the Waves were ranked #11 nationally. But since then, a few injured players have healed and Pepperdine has run off six consecutive victories, two of which came against #1-ranked teams and two others against #2-ranked teams. The Waves are now 7-4 overall and are tied for first in the MPSF with a 7-3 mark.
Pepperdine was last ranked #1 for one week during the 2009 season.
Riecks led the Waves in their two most recent outings, three-game home sweeps against Pacific and then-#2 Stanford last week. He had a team-high 17 kills in both matches, and hit a sizzling .800 (17 kills, one error, 20 attempts) against the Cardinal. That percentage was a career high and is tied for fifth on Pepperdine's single-match records list in the rally-scoring era. For the week, he hit .583 while averaging 5.67 kills per game.
Riecks, one of the players that got healthy in time to jump-start Pepperdine's run, is averaging 4.00 kills while hitting .445 this season.
The AVCA award is Riecks' first and the MPSF honor is his second. He also earned conference honors in February 2008 as a freshman. This is the 24th time a Pepperdine player has earned AVCA National Player of the Week honors, and the second time this season (Tyler Jaynes claimed the award on Feb. 8).
The Waves are in the midst of a four-match homestand. They next host Grand Canyon (Wednesday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m.) and #5 Cal State Northridge (Friday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m.). Wave Casts subscribers can watch the matches online at www.pepperdinesports.com.