Pepperdine Hosts #11 USC on Saturday
UPCOMING Â The #5 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team plays a single home match this weekend, as the Waves square off against #11 USC on Saturday. Three matches remain in the regular season. Pepperdine currently has a half-game lead for the all-important #4 seed for the MPSF Tournament (that team will get to host a first-round match, while #5-7 must go on the road), although even if the Waves win out, they need UCLA to lose a match (the Bruins hold the tiebreaker).
MATCH #21 Â Saturday (April 5) at Firestone Fieldhouse: #5 Pepperdine (12-8, 11-8) vs. #11 USC (12-13, 9-10) at 7 p.m.
1986 TEAM TO BE HONORED Â The 1986 men’s volleyball national champions will be inducted into the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame during a Saturday luncheon, and then the squad will be honored at the USC match.
OPPONENT Â Pepperdine is 51-29 all-time against USC and has won 25 of the last 28 meetings dating back to 1992. The Waves have won nine straight at home against the Trojans, last losing in Malibu in 1999. Pepperdine has won four straight in the series, including one earlier this season in Los Angeles.
LAST MEETING Â Back on Feb. 29 ... 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 in the Galen Center. 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.
LAST WEEK Â The Waves extended their winning streak to four with home victories over #6 Stanford (30-22, 30-27, 31-29) on March 28 and Pacific (30-22, 26-30, 30-26, 26-30, 15-9) on March 29. Paul Carroll had 24 kills against the Cardinal and a season-high 33 against the Tigers and averaged 7.12 kills per game with a .484 hitting percentage for the weekend. Jonathan Winder averaged 13.12 assists and led Pepperdine to a .452 hitting percentage vs. Stanford and .369 vs. Pacific.
WINDER UP FOR AWARD 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. The award will be presented on April 4th. The other nominees are Sedrick Ellis (USC football) and Arron Afflalo (UCLA basketball).
MPSF STATS Â The Waves rank second in the MPSF in blocks (3.23), third in service aces (1.45), third in hitting percentage (.317), eighth in opponent hitting percentage (.276), seventh in assists (13.95), seventh in kills (14.68) and 12th in digs (8.72) ... Paul Carroll ranks first in kills (6.57) and points (7.56) and third in service aces (0.52) and hitting percentage (.436) ... Jonathan Winder ranks fourth in assists (12.44) ... Mark Hulse ranks fourth in blocks (1.37) ... Eric Liebert is seventh in blocks and hitting percentage (.402).
TOUGH LOSSES Â Six of Pepperdine’s eight losses were to teams ranked in the top five at the time of the match ... The other two were to the defending national champion, UC Irvine ... Five of the losses came when Paul Carroll was out with an injury ... The only three losses with Carroll in the lineup came against teams ranked #2 nationally, and all three were on the road.
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 12.44 assists per game along with 2.04 digs, 0.88 blocks and 0.63 kills. Winder has five assist-dig double-doubles this season. He set the school career record for assists on Jan. 19 at Stanford and now has 4,701 in his four seasons. He’s also seventh at Pepperdine in career digs (599).
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. Pepperdine is 9-3 with Carroll in the lineup and 3-5 without him. 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 6.57 kills, 1.23 digs, 0.89 blocks and 0.52 aces and is hitting .436. He had a season-high 33 kills against Pacific on March 29. He has had at least 24 kills in eight of his 12 matches and has been in double-figures in all 12. Carroll has 1,232 career kills and now stands ninth on Pepperdine’s all-time list.
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 2.97 kills per game. He’s also averaging 1.29 digs per game. He had a career-high 21 kills against Stanford on Jan. 19.
RIECKS Â Freshman outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS) is averaging 3.18 kills (second on the team) and 1.16 digs. He had a season-high 24 kills at UCLA on Feb. 9. He has reached double-figure kills in a team-high 14 matches.
HULSE Â Junior Mark Hulse (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township HS) was actually the starting setter at Rutgers-Newark last season, but was converted to middle blocker after transferring to Pepperdine. He is averaging 1.37 blocks and 0.64 kills. He has had season highs of nine blocks (at Pacific on Jan. 18) and five kills (vs. UCSB on Jan. 9 and vs. Long Beach State on Feb. 13).
JAYNES Â Freshman middle blocker Tyler Jaynes (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) is averaging 1.46 kills and 1.04 blocks. He hit .875 (14-0-16) with a season-high 14 kills against California Baptist on March 22 and had a season-high 10 blocks at UC Santa Barbara on March 15.
GRUBBS Â Sophomore libero Sean Grubbs (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) led Irvine Valley College to the state title last season, then transferred to Pepperdine. He is averaging 1.84 digs with a season-high 14 at Stanford on Jan. 19. He also had 13 digs vs. Pacific (March 29) and 11 at UCLA (Feb. 9).
McKEE Â During the stretch that Paul 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 3.05 kills, 1.31 digs and 1.02 blocks. He had career highs of 21 kills in back-to-back matches against UC Irvine (Jan. 23) and UCLA (Jan. 25).
LIEBERT Â A player who saw limited time his first two seasons but has been in the starting lineup at various points in 2008 is junior middle blocker Eric Liebert (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School). Liebert is averaging 1.57 kills and 1.29 blocks. He had a career-high 10 kills at USC on Feb. 29.
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 close out the regular season with two home matches against Hawaii on Friday and Saturday, April 11-12.