Waves Host Long Beach State on Saturday
UPCOMING Â The #3 Pepperdine men’s volleyball team begins its quest for a second straight Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament title when the Waves host #8 Long Beach State this Saturday. The Waves, who won a pair of close victories over the 49ers in their previous meetings this season, are the #2 seed after finishing the regular season in second place.
MATCH #25 Â Saturday (April 25) at Firestone Fieldhouse: #3-ranked and #2-seed Pepperdine (20-4, 18-4 MPSF, second place) vs. #8-ranked and #7-seed Long Beach State (14-13, 11-11, seventh place) at 7 p.m.
TICKETS Â Tickets will cost $10 for adults and $5 for students with ID, adults 65 and older and children ages 3-13. Children under the age of 3 are free. Unlike the regular season, there are no pass lists and students and faculty are required to purchase a ticket. Tickets are available by calling (310) 506-4935 or by visiting Heritage Hall, the Pepperdine athletic offices. On Saturday night, the box office will open at 5:30 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. Additionally, the MPSF will provide a free live audio broadcast of the Pepperdine-Long Beach State match at www.mpsports.org.
2009 MPSF TOURNAMENT Â The tournament format has changed in 2009 as there are no longer play-in matches or byes. The other three matches taking place on Saturday night are #8 UCLA at #1 UC Irvine, #6 BYU at #3 Cal State Northridge and #5 USC at #4 Stanford. Should the Waves win their first-round match, they’ll play the winner of the BYU-Cal State Northridge match in the semifinals. The highest-remaining seed after the first round will host the semifinals (April 30) and final (May 2).
MPSF TOURNAMENT HISTORY Â Pepperdine, the defending champion, has won four MPSF Tournament titles in 15 appearances and has an all-time record of 20-11 (.645). The Waves won championships in 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2008. The Waves have hosted at least one home match in nine previous tournaments (last in 2007). Pepperdine won the title last year by beating UCLA and Long Beach State on the road and BYU in the final in Long Beach.
LONG BEACH STATE SERIES Â Pepperdine is now 44-35 all-time against Long Beach State after recording two victories earlier this season. The Waves have won five straight in the series, which includes the 2008 MPSF Tournament semifinals (at Long Beach State) and the 2008 NCAA Tournament semifinals (at UC Irvine). Since 2001, the Waves are 9-3 in Firestone Fieldhouse against the 49ers. Pepperdine is 3-1 against LBSU in the MPSF Tournament (2-0 in Malibu, including the 2003 first round and the 2005 final).
FIRST MATCH VS. LONG BEACH STATE Â Back on March 6 ... Pepperdine lost the first two games but eked out a five-game victory (21-30, 24-30, 32-30, 30-26, 15-12) over Long Beach State at the Walter Pyramid. The Waves’ Paul Carroll had 31 kills while the 49ers’ Dean Bittner had 33. The 49ers had 16 more kills than the Waves (88-72), but Pepperdine made up for it by outblocking LBSU 13.5 to 4.5. Both teams finished with a .319 hitting percentage.
SECOND MATCH VS. LONG BEACH STATE Â Back on March 28 ... Paul Carroll had 22 kills and nine digs to lead Pepperdine to a 3-1 home victory (30-22, 25-30, 31-29, 30-28) over Long Beach State. Rodnei Santos had 12 kills and hit .786 to contribute to the win. The 49ers got match highs of 26 kills and nine blocks from Dean Bittner. Pepperdine finished with an advantage of .351 to .286 in hitting, but the 49ers were able to keep things close thanks to an 18.0-10.5 edge in blocks.
LAST WEEK Â The Waves began their two-match home set against then-#6 Brigham Young on Thursday with a four-game win (30-28, 28-30, 30-20, 30-28), but the Cougars came back to spoil Senior Night and cost Pepperdine a share of the MPSF regular-season crown in a four-game BYU victory (22-30, 30-21, 30-27, 30-26) on Friday. The Waves hit .360 and .365 in the two matches, but BYU improved its hitting from .315 in the loss to .385 in the win. Paul Carroll had 30 and 31 kills in the two matches, good for an average of 7.6 kills per game. He had 49% of Pepperdine’s kills in the series.
CONFERENCE STATS Â As a team, Pepperdine is first in the MPSF in hitting percentage (.344), second in digs (11.08) and third in assists (15.21), blocks (3.23) and kills (15.98) ... Paul Carroll is first in the MPSF in kills (6.29) and points (7.13) and 10th in hitting percentage (.395) ... Kasey Crider is second in assists (13.90) ... Rodnei Santos is third in blocks (1.42) and fifth in hitting percentage (.438) ... Tyler Jaynes is fifth in blocks (1.38) ... Sean Grubbs is 10th in digs (2.22).
NATIONAL STATS Â According to the NCAA, Pepperdine ranks second nationally in hitting percentage and digs, third in assists and kills and fifth in blocks ... Paul Carroll is first in the nation in kills ... Kasey Crider is second in assists ... Rodnei Santos is seventh in blocks ... Tyler Jaynes is 10th in blocks.
CARROLL Â One of collegiate volleyball’s most feared hitters, two-time All-American first teamer Paul Carroll (Forster, Australia) is nearing the end of one of the top careers in school history. The starting opposite led the nation in kills (6.54) in 2008 and is doing so again this season. Carroll, who was named Volleyball Australia’s top male player last year, just became only the fourth player in Pepperdine history to record 2,000 career kills, and has moved up to third place on the school’s career kills list (2,012). Carroll has earned the AVCA National Player of the Week award five times in his career, more than any other player in Pepperdine history. He’s earned an MPSF weekly award six times. He’s also been named Pepperdine’s Male Athlete of the Year for 2008-09. Carroll has led Pepperdine in kills in every match this season, 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. Carroll has had 20 or more kills 16 times and 30 or more kills seven times. He is hitting .395 and is averaging 6.29 kills, 2.15 digs, 1.04 blocks and 0.29 aces.
CRIDER Â With the graduation of four-time All-American Jonathan Winder, sophomore Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) has taken 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 13.90 assists, 2.12 digs and 0.64 blocks while leading Pepperdine to a .344 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 second on the team with 2.76 kills this season. Riecks started as a freshman last season and was second on the squad in kills last year, and is third this year with 2.61 kills. Junior Brent Schirripa (Los Angeles, Calif./Crespi Carmelite HS) has proven to be a very capable substitute and Cal State Northridge transfer Sean Pedersen (Evergreen Park, Ill./Mount Carmel HS) has seen time as a serving specialist.
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 1.48 kills and 1.38 blocks while hitting .394, and Santos is averaging 2.22 kills and 1.42 blocks while hitting .438. 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 3.23 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 2.22 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 ... Matt McKee was the MPSF co-Player of the Week on March 23 ... Crider was the AVCA Player of the Week and shared the MPSF award on March 30 ... Rodnei Santos was the MPSF co-Player of the Week on April 6.
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 have been #1 on two occasions this season (but lost during that week both times) ... Pepperdine had a 10-match win streak that began on February 28 and ended on April 11 ... 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). Pepperdine’s coaching staff, which includes assistants Scott Wong and Beau Daniels, are all alums of the school.
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 again 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 successful postseason appearance 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 nine 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.