#3 Waves Visit #4 USC on Thursday
UPCOMING Â After nearly two weeks without a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match, the #3 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team gets back to conference action with a trip to #4 USC on Thursday night. The Waves are a half-game back of UC Irvine in the MPSF standings. One month and nine matches (four at home) remain in the regular season. Paul Carroll continues to lead the nation in kills.
MATCH #16 Â Thursday (March 19) at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif.: #3 Pepperdine (13-2, 11-2 MPSF, second place) at #4 USC (13-5, 9-4, fourth place) 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 52-30 all-time against USC dating back to 1971, and won the first meeting earlier this season in Malibu. Overall, Pepperdine has won five of the last six, 14 of 16, 18 of 21 and 26 of 30. The Waves have won two straight at USC.
LAST USC MATCH Â Back on Jan. 30 ... The Waves swept then-#4 USC in three games (30-28, 30-24, 30-19) in Firestone Fieldhouse. Paul Carroll had 14 kills and Cory Riecks added 11. Pepperdine had a huge 18.5 to 4.5 edge in blocks, as well as a .260 to .148 advantage in hitting. Five Waves were in on at least five blocks, led by eight by Tyler Jaynes and seven by Carroll and Rodnei Santos.
LAST WEEK Â In Pepperdine’s second and final non-conference match, the Waves swept George Mason (30-27, 30-22, 30-23) in Firestone Fieldhouse on Saturday (March 14). Kasey Crider had a double-double with 42 assists and 12 digs and led Pepperdine to a .343 to .131 edge in hitting. Paul Carroll had 17 kills and Matt McKee added 11. The Patriots only led for one point in the entire match.
MPSF STATS Â As a team, Pepperdine is first in the conference in hitting percentage (.341) and digs (11.98) and is second in blocks (3.41) ... Paul Carroll is first in the MPSF in kills (6.05) and points (6.96) ... Kasey Crider is second in assists (13.84) and eighth in digs (2.42) ... Rodnei Santos is second in blocks (1.54) and fifth in hitting percentage (.452) ... Tyler Jaynes is fifth in blocks (1.41) and eighth in hitting percentage (.420).
NATIONAL STATS Â According to the NCAA, Pepperdine ranks first nationally in digs, second in hitting percentage, assists and blocks and fourth in kills ... Paul Carroll is first in the nation in kills ... Kasey Crider is second in assists ... Rodnei Santos is second in blocks and seventh in hitting percentage ... Tyler Jaynes is fifth in blocks.
CARROLL Â One of collegiate volleyball’s most feared hitters, two-time All-American first teamer Paul Carroll (Forster, Australia) is in the middle of a big senior season. The starting opposite led the nation in kills (6.54) and points (7.56) in 2008, and also was named Volleyball Australia’s top male player last year. He has moved up to fourth place on Pepperdine’s career kills list (1,785). He has led Pepperdine in kills in every match, with at least 14 every time and a career-high-tying 37 vs. UC Irvine (2/20). That also tied his own school single-match record for the rally scoring era. He is hitting .389 and is averaging 6.05 kills, 2.25 digs, 1.18 blocks and 0.28 aces.
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. He has been up to task of replacing Winder, averaging 13.84 assists, 2.42 digs and 0.74 blocks while leading Pepperdine to a .341 team hitting percentage.
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. The two that have been starting for the Waves are senior Matt McKee (Aurora, Ill./Aurora West HS) and sophomore Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS). McKee saw plenty of playing time last season when Paul Carroll was injured, and later was one of the first players off the bench. He is third on the team with 2.63 kills this season. Riecks started as a freshman last season and was second on the squad in kills last year, and is second again this year with 2.69 kills. Junior Brent Schirripa (Los Angeles, Calif./Crespi Carmelite HS), and Cal State Northridge transfer Sean Pedersen (Evergreen Park, Ill./Mount Carmel HS) have seen their share of action off the bench.
MIDDLE BLOCKERS Â The Waves have a terrific group of four middle blockers to choose from. The Waves have been going with returning starter and sophomore Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) and junior Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil), a transfer who was a starter at BYU as a 2007 freshman. Jaynes is averaging 1.61 kills and 1.41 blocks while hitting .420, while Santos is averaging 2.30 kills and 1.54 blocks while hitting .452. Waiting in the wings are senior Mark Hulse (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township HS/Rutgers-Newark), a starter last season, and freshman Matt Pollock (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg HS). As a team, Pepperdine is averaging 3.41 blocks per game.
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. He is at 2.32 digs per game this season.
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 ... Carroll earned AVCA and co-MPSF honors again on Feb. 23 ... Carroll was the MPSF co-Player of the Week again on March 9 ... Carroll has earned the AVCA weekly award five times in his career, more than any other player in Pepperdine history. He’s earned an MPSF weekly award six times.
SEASON NOTABLES Â Pepperdine achieved a #1 ranking on Feb. 23 for the first time since the final regular-season poll in 2007 ... The Waves were 9-1 after 10 matches for the seventh time in the last 12 years ... The Waves’ 7-0 start was their best since 1999 ... 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.
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).
ROSTER Â The Waves return 10 of 14 letterwinners and five starters plus the libero from the 2008 squad (one of those returning starters is injured, however). 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.
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 Â UCLA, Long Beach State and BYU Â 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 men’s volleyball 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.