Waves Make Big Trip to #2 BYU
UPCOMING Â The #5 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team can make a big statement in the race for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation crown when the Waves visit first-place and second-ranked BYU for two matches this weekend. Pepperdine is on a three-match winning streak, which coincides with the return of Paul Carroll.
MATCH #14 Â Friday (March 7) at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah: #5 Pepperdine (8-5, 8-5) at #2 Brigham Young (14-1, 9-1) at 7 p.m MT/6 p.m. PT.
MATCH #15 Â Saturday (March 8) at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah: #5 Pepperdine at #2 Brigham Young at 7 p.m MT/6 p.m. PT.
OPPONENT Â Pepperdine is 28-16 all-time against BYU. The Waves have won five of the last six matches, which includes a 4-0 mark in Malibu and a split in Pepperdine’s last visit to Provo in 2005.
LAST WEEK Â In the Waves’ first match in almost two weeks, the Waves got 26 kills from Paul Carroll and rallied for a four-game victory (24-30, 30-24, 30-23, 30-26) at USC last Friday (Feb. 29). Carroll hit .488 on 41 swings and added seven block assists. Jonathan Winder had 50 assists and directed Pepperdine to a .424 hitting percentage. The Trojans hit just .228.
ODDS & ENDS Â Pepperdine is 5-0 with Paul Carroll in the lineup and 3-5 without him ... Pepperdine’s best three hitting performances of the year have come in the last three matches (helped by Carroll’s return). The Waves have hit .483, .437 and .424.
VOTE FOR WINDER Â Jonathan Winder is one of three finalists for College Male Athlete of the Year in the 2008 Southern California Sports Awards, presented by 710 ESPN Radio. Fans can vote for Winder by visiting http://stations.espn.go.com/stations/710espn and clicking on the link.
MPSF STATS Â The Waves rank first in the MPSF in blocks (3.45), third in service aces (1.40), fourth in hitting percentage (.298), fifth in opponent hitting percentage (.248), eighth in assists (13.60), eighth in kills (14.31) and 11th in digs (8.90) ... Jonathan Winder ranks fourth in assists (12.17) ... Eric Liebert is fourth in hiitting percentage (.421) and sixth in blocks (1.39) ... Mark Hulse ranks fifth in blocks (1.40).
WINDER Â Senior setter Jonathan Winder (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge HS) was the 2007 AVCA and MPSF Player of the Year and is a three-time All-American. He helped the U.S. to a bronze medal at the 2007 World University Games. He is averaging 12.17 assists per game along with 2.02 digs, 0.88 blocks and 0.71 kills. He set the school career record for assists on Jan. 19 at Stanford and now has 4,352 in his four seasons.
CARROLL Â Junior opposite Paul Carroll (Forster, Australia), another returning All-American first teamer, played in the first two matches this season before unfortunately suffering a fractured right (non-hitting) hand during an off-court mishap. He missed four weeks before returning on Feb. 13. A member of Australia’s national team, he was one of the top players at the 2007 World Cup in Japan and hopes to play in the 2008 Olympics. He is averaging 6.06 kills, 1.24 digs, 1.18 blocks and 0.35 aces and is hitting .473.
SCHLEPPENBACH Â Besides Winder and Carroll, Pepperdine’s only other returning starter from 2007 is junior outside hitter J.D. Schleppenbach (Ventura, Calif./Ventura HS). He was second on the team in kills last season (2.73 per game) and has upped his production to 3.17 kills per game. He’s also averaging 1.44 digs per game. He had a career-high 21 kills against Stanford on Jan. 19.
LIEBERT Â A player who saw limited time his first two seasons but has moved into a starting role is junior middle blocker Eric Liebert (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School). Liebert is averaging 1.67 kills and 1.39 blocks. He had a career-high 10 kills at USC on Feb. 29.
McKEE Â During the time that Carroll was injured, that opened up a spot on the floor for junior outside hitter Matt McKee (Aurora, Ill./Aurora West HS), who didn’t see much court time the last two seasons. McKee is averaging 3.50 kills, 1.53 digs and 1.18 blocks. He had career highs of 21 kills in back-to-back matches against UC Irvine (Jan. 23) and UCLA (Jan. 25).
NEWCOMERS Â Four new players have started for the Waves this season. Junior middle blocker Mark Hulse (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township HS) was actually the starting setter at Rutgers-Newark last season. He is averaging 1.40 blocks and 0.73 kills ... Sophomore libero Sean Grubbs (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) led Irvine Valley College to the state title last season. He is averaging 1.83 digs ... Freshman outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS) Riecks is averaging 3.23 kills and 1.17 digs and had a season-high 24 kills at UCLA on Feb. 9 ... Freshman middle blocker Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) is averaging 1.32 kills and 1.08 blocks.
2008 HONORS Â Paul Carroll was named AVCA and co-MPSF Player of the Week on Jan. 14 ... Jonathan Winder was named MPSF Player of the Week on Jan. 21 ... Cory Riecks was named co-MPSF Player of the Week on Feb. 18.
MARV DUNPHY Â Now in his 25th season as head coach of the Waves, Marv Dunphy opened the 2008 season with a record of 452-173 (.723). He has directed the team to four national 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 also was an extremely successful head coach of the U.S. National Team in the 1980s and led the team to a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics.
MPSF PRESEASON POLL Â Pepperdine edged out BYU and UCLA as the coaches’ choice to win the MPSF championship in 2008. The predicted order of finish went as follows: Pepperdine, BYU, UCLA, UC Irvine, Cal State Northridge, USC, Long Beach State, Hawaii, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, UC San Diego.
PEPPERDINE HISTORY Â Pepperdine has won five NCAA championships, second only to UCLA. The Waves have won the MPSF Tournament three times and have won or shared nine regular-season conference titles, including four of the last six MPSF crowns. Pepperdine opened 2008 with an all-time record of 616-270 (.695).
2007 RECAP Â The Waves were ranked #1 for much of the season and posted one of the best records in school history, going 26-3 overall and 21-1 in MPSF play. The 21 wins are the most by any MPSF school since the conference switched to its current round-robin format. But Pepperdine lost in the final of the MPSF Tournament to UC Irvine, then was upset in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament by IPFW.
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.
ON THE WEB Â Live video and live statistics will be available for all home matches at www.pepperdinesports.com. Go to the "Wave Casts" link toward the top of the page.
UP NEXT Â The Waves finish their stretch of five straight road matches at Cal State Northridge (Wednesday, March 12) and UC Santa Barbara (Saturday, March 15).