Waves Listed #6 on AVCA Preseason Poll
Dec. 11, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. – The Pepperdine men’s volleyball team opens the 2014 campaign listed at #6 in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Top 15 preseason poll, as announced today by the organization. The Waves open the 2014 regular season at home vs. preseason favorite and two-time defending NCAA champion UC Irvine on Friday, Jan. 10 inside Firestone Fieldhouse.
Five different squads earned first-place votes on this year’s preseason ballot, led by the Anteaters with nine. UCLA was voted #2 with three first-place votes and 238 total points while BYU garnered four top votes and 235 points for third.
Long Beach State and Stanford picked up one first-place vote each and ranked in at #5 and #6 on the preseason poll, respectively.
Pepperdine tallied 175 votes to place sixth in the rankings. The Waves return five starters plus libero from last year’s squad, although they must contend with the loss of two-time AVCA All-American Maurice Torres. Torres led Pepperdine in kills and service aces in each of his four years in Malibu, and is currently playing professionally in Europe.
AVCA All-American Matt West (Seattle, Wash./Shorewood HS) returns to manage the Waves offense, now with two years of collegiate setting experience under his belt. Last season, West led the NCAA with 11.25 assists set. Off the Block, providing news coverage for collegiate men’s volleyball since 2011, recently placed West on its watch list for the Lloy Ball Award which honors the NCAA’s top setter at the conclusion of the season.
Outside hitters Josh Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) and Kyle Gerrans (Los Gatos, Calif./Valley Christian HS), as well as middle blocker Parker Kalmbach (Coto de Caza, Calif./Tesoro HS) all return and are Pepperdine’s top-three leading scorers from 2013.
Taylor ranked second on the team behind Torres last season with 3.08 kills per set, followed by Gerrans with an even 2.00 kills per set. Although Gerrans’ year was cut short due to injury, the senior is back and healthy for his final campaign.
Kalmbach put down 1.77 kills per set while adding 1.23 blocks per set (fifth in the MPSF) on the defensive end.
Additional members of the team that return with starting experience include Scott Rhein (Pleasant View, Tenn./Aaron Academy), Leonardo Granato (Reseda, Calif./Grover Cleveland HS/Pierce College), Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS), Ryan Plueger (Los Angeles, Calif./Harvard-Westlake School).
Behind Pepperdine in the preseason poll were Loyola-Chicago, UC Santa Barbara, Penn State, Lewis, USC, Ohio State, Hawaii, Cal State Northridge and Cal Baptist. The MPSF led the polls with 11 member schools in the top-15, followed by the MIVA with three and the EIVA with one.
The Waves finished the 2013 season with a 14-12 record and came in at #5 in the final AVCA Coaches Poll.