April 10, 2012
MALIBU, Calif. - The #6 Pepperdine men's volleyball team closes out the regular season this week with road matches at Cal State Northridge on April 12 and Long Beach State on April 14.
MATCH #27 - Thursday (April 12) at The Matadome: #6 Pepperdine (14-12, 9-11 MPSF) vs. #11 Cal State Northridge (11-16, 7-13 MPSF) at 7 p.m.
MATCH #28 - Saturday (April 14) at Walter Pyramid: #6 Pepperdine vs. #8 Long Beach State (14-13, 9-11 MPSF) at 7 p.m.
PLAYOFF SCENARIOS - The Waves are currently tied for sixth in the MPSF and could be seeded anywhere from six through eight, pending this week's results, though a win in the Pyramid automatically solidifies the six seed. With the top five teams in the league standings all within two matches of one another, Pepperdine will have to wait until Saturday night to find out its MPSF Tournament quarterfinal opponent.
WHAT'S NEXT - MPSF Tournament quarterfinals are scheduled for Saturday, April 21. The top four seeds host the opening round, which puts the Waves on the road next week.
LOOKING BACK - The Waves nearly overcame a 2-0 deficit to UC Irvine, but fell in the fifth set 15-12. Pepperdine rebounded from the loss to sweep UC San Diego on Senior Night. Maurice Torres led the Waves with 4.38 kills/set, 2.75 digs/set and 0.50 service aces/set. Freshman Scott Rhein has stepped into his starting role with ease, and averaged 2.50 kills and 1.50 digs in two matches last week.
COVERAGE - Live stats will be available for both matches, while Long Beach State offers an audio broadcast of the match. Links to all available media can be found on the men's volleyball schedule page at PepperdineSports.com.
SOCIAL MEDIA - Fans can follow the Waves on Twitter @PepperdineWaves and "like" us on Facebook by searching for Pepperdine Athletics or Pepperdine Men's Volleyball.
RANKINGS - Pepperdine is currently listed at a season-best #6 in the AVCA Coaches' Top-15 Poll.
NOTING THE WAVES - This will be the 1,019th and 1,020th match in Pepperdine history ... The Waves are 695-323 all time ... In conference play the Waves are 485-246 and 280-129 in MPSF action ... Marv Dunphy boasts a career record of 532-226 ... The Waves are 369-111 when playing inside Firestone Fieldhouse ... The Waves are 147-82 all-time during the month of April.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE - The Matadors are 11-16 overall and sit in eighth place with an MPSF record of 7-13 ... CSUN needs one win this week to secure a playoff spot and faces USC in addition to the Waves ... Without a win, the Matadors would need UCSB to lose once more, as it only holds a tiebreaker over UCSD ... Northridge is led by Julius Hoefer with 3.09 kills/set followed by Matt Stork with 2.88 kills average ... Charlie Condron picks up 2.28 digs/set ... CSUN has won just one of its last four matches, but is 8-5 when playing at home.
LONG BEACH STATE - The 49ers are 14-13 overall and tied with the Waves in the MPSF standings at 9-11 ... Two home wins this week against USC and Pepperdine, or one win coupled with two Wave losses, would put the 49ers in the six seed. Long Beach holds the two-way tiebreaker over Northridge (MPSF head-to-head sets), in the event of a seven-eight seed battle ... The 49ers utilize a very well balanced offensive attack, with several players averaging over 2.00 kills/set ... Jim Baughman leads the way with a 2.83 kills average ... Jeff Ornee paces the defense with 100 total blocks (1.06 blocks/set).
TORRES - Maurice Torres is the most recent addition to the Waves' 1,000 kills club, having reached the milestone at BYU on March 2 ... With a career tally of 1,198 kills, Torres ranks tied for 10th in the Pepperdine record book ... To overtake ninth place, he needs to surpass 1,352 kills ... The junior has reached doubles digit kill totals in 24 of the season's 26 matches including the last 21 straight ... Torres, the Waves' opposite side hitter, has averaged 3.99 kill/set during his career as a Wave, including a 4.07 average this season as a junior ... He tacked down a season-best 26 kills versus Cal Baptist on Feb. 15, and has reached double figures in dig five times ... He set a new career high vs. UC Irvine on April 5 with 15 digs ... In MPSF play, Torres averages 4.18 kills/set.
OUTSIDE HITTERS - Although Josh Taylor has been cleared to play after suffering a hand injury, Scott Rhein is still expected to see significant playing time ... Rhein came in for Taylor vs. Stanford on March 30 and picked up eight digs and six kills. He followed that up with an 11 kills/five blocks performance on March 31 against Pacific ... Chase Ross will likely man the other starting spot ... Ross is a well-rounded contributor to the team, averaging 2.05 kills/set and 1.04 digs/set ... The senior ranks second on the team with 19 aces ... Ross boasts the highest serve receive percentage of all the primary passers on the team with a .970 (466 attempts, 14 errors) success rate ... Beau Vandeweghe and Ryan Leung have also seen time on the outside.
SETTER - Freshman Matt West has assumed the starting setting duties this season, and has been a positive addition to the Waves' lineup ... West averages 11.28 assists/set to rank second in the MPSF ... On defense, West lends 1.42 digs/set and 0.72 blocks/set to the team effort.
LIBERO/LIBERO - Coach Marv Dunphy has utilized the new two libero rule to his full advantage, using several combinations this season ... Mike McMahon (1.41 digs/set), Kyle Gerrans (0.70 digs/set) and Ryan Plueger (0.80 digs/set) all have shared time handling the serve receive and the defense. McMahon has seen the most action this season, appearing in 82 of the 106 sets, while Plueger started the last five matches.
MIDDLE MEN - Three different players have gotten the starting gig in the middle this season including Matt Pollock, Matt Tarantino and Nikola Antonijevic ... Pollock leads the team with 1.20 blocks/set while contributing 1.87 kills/set earned on a .443 average ... Tarantino, who came to Pepperdine as an opposite side hitter, has started in 17 of the last 18 matches ... Tarantino added middle blocker to his repertoire after less than a week's worth of practices at the position, and now averages 1.53 kills and 0.95 blocks.
MPSF INDIVIDUAL STATS - Maurice Torres ranks third in kills (4.07), seventh in service aces (0.41), 13th in digs (1.78) and third in points (4.87) ... Josh Taylor ranks 10th with 3.48 kills/set and 13th with 3.90 points/set ... Matt Pollock ranks fifth in hitting percentage (.443) and sixth in blocks (1.20) ... Matt West ranks second with 11.28 assists/set.
MPSF TEAM STATS - The Waves hit for a .293 attack percentage to rank sixth ... Pepperdine limits opponents to a .275 hitting percentage to rank sixth ... The Waves rank fifth in kills (12.88), fourth in assists (12.35), fifth in blocks (2.54), 11th in service aces (0.83) and 10th in digs (7.93).
Marv Dunphy -- Now in his 29th season as head coach of the Waves, Marv Dunphy 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. He entered the 2012 season with a career record of 518-214 (.708). 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 has been inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame (1994), AVCA Hall of Fame (2009) and the Pepperdine Athletics (2010).
PRESEASON MPSF POLL - With 62 points, the Waves were picked to finished eighth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in a preseason vote of the league's 12 coaches. BYU tallied the most points with 115, closely followed by UC Irvine with 112.
ROSTER -- The Waves return four starters to the lineup including Maurice Torres (OPP), Matt Pollock (MB), Chase Ross (OH) and Mike McMahon (L). Nine letterwinners are joined by seven freshmen to bring the squad total to 20. In addition to the returning starters, rookies Matt West (S), Josh Taylor (OH) and Nikola Antonijevic (MB) and Matt Tarantino (MB) are expected to shoulder starting duties this season. In terms of athletic eligibility, the squad break down includes four seniors, three juniors, six sophomores and seven freshmen.
VOLLEYBALL HISTORY -- 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. Pepperdine has won either an MPSF regular-season or tournament title in seven of the last 12 seasons. The Waves have finished in the top six in the final AVCA poll in each of the last 13 seasons. Pepperdine student-athletes have won national player of the year honors eight times and All-American accolades 75 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 - Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports - one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not in a major conference. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #55 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges. The 2011-12 school year marks Pepperdine's 75th anniversary.