Pepperdine in Search of WCC Wins at Portland and Gonzaga
Sept. 24, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine women’s volleyball team makes just its second road trip of the season, heading up to the Pacific Northwest to face West Coast Conference foes Portland and Gonzaga. The Waves face the Pilots on Thursday night before wrapping the week with a Saturday afternoon tilt versus the Bulldogs.
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ROAD MATCH COVERAGE - Both the Portland and Gonzaga match can be followed via StatBroadcast live stats ... The Pilots’ Game Central will broadcast Thursday night’s match for free ... Gonzaga will also broadcast the match online on Saturday. A subscription is required.
COMEBACK QUEENS - The “never-say-die” Waves were the comeback queens of the Bluegrass Battle. Last week vs. Kentucky, Pepperdine rallied from a 12-16 deficit in set one to win 26-24. They did so again in set three, scoring eight unanswered points to win 25-23 after finding themselves down 17-23. Against Louisville, the Waves found themselves in danger of going five sets after the Cardinals took a 24-22 lead in set four. Pepperdine put down four consecutive kills to clinch the set and match 26-24. A week later, they stormed back from down 9-16 vs. San Francisco to win the set 26-24.
NOTING THE WAVES - Pepperdine is 50-2 all-time vs. Portland, winning the last 36 matches in a row ... The Waves own a 49-3 all-time record against Gonzaga and have won in the last 34 consecutive meetings ... Pepperdine is 26-13 all-time in season openers after the win vs. Delaware ... Matthies celebrate her 900th match with the Waves on Nov. 1, 2012 vs. Saint Mary’s.
LOOKING FURTHER BACK - The Waves placed second at both the Asics Classic and Pepperdine Invitational to open 2013. In both instances, Pepperdine won its first two matches before falling 3-1 in the finales. Katie Messing earned all-tournament status at both events. Kellie Woolever and Taylor Racich earned all-tournament nods at the Asics Classic, while Taylor Racich and Samantha Cash received accolades at the Pepperdine Invitational.
RETURNERS - Five student-athletes, all starters, return in 2013 in including seniors Kellie Woolever (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS) and Kelley Larsen (Jamul, Calif./Christian HS), juniors Samantha Cash (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) and Katie Messing (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) and sophomore Taylor Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS).
YOUTH MOVEMENT - Nine total newcomers were added to the roster this season, including seven freshmen. Rookies include outside hitters Jillian Bergeson (Friendswood, Texas/Friendswood HS) and Gabi Palmeri (Davis, Calif./St. Francis HS), middle blockers Brooke Honeycutt (Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista HS ), Emma Fuzie (Carmel, Calif./Carmel HS) and Reegan Dennis (Newport Beach, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) and setters Ryann Chandler (Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) and Monique Domme (Colorado Springs, Colo./Cheyenne Mountain HS). In addition to the freshmen, two transfers joined Pepperdine this season including setter Becca Strehlow (Long Beach, Calif./Woodrow Wilson HS/UCLA) and middle blocker Olivia Okoro (Carrollton, Texas/Hebron HS/Tennessee). Okoro will redshirt in 2013.
Nina Matthies - Now in her 31st season as head coach of the Waves, Nina Matthies’ career record currently stands at 581-334, which includes 11 conference championships and 20 NCAA Tournament appearances. She is by far the WCC’s all-time winningest coach and is a 10-time WCC Coach of the Year, most recently winning the award in 2011. Matthies was among the world’s top players and is a member of the Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame. In 2009, Dig Magazine rated her and former partner Linda Hanley as the second-best women’s beach team of all time. She won two AIAW national championships as a player at UCLA. In May of 2013, she was honored as the inaugural winner of the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Coach of the Year award. Matthies will be inducted into the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Oct. 20. For more information on attending the Hall of Fame Ceremony, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
INDOOR VOLLEYBALL HISTORY - The Pepperdine women’s volleyball program is synonymous with the word excellence, as the Waves are a perennial national power. The Waves have advanced to postseason play 27 times in 38 seasons, including 13 trips to the NCAA Championships in the last 16 seasons. Pepperdine’s best finishes in recent years came when the team made the regional final of the NCAA Tournament in 2002 and again in 2011. Nine players have earned AVCA or Volleyball Magazine All-American honors a combined 16 times, while six players have been dubbed the WCC Player of the Year nine total times. Check out the complete program record book here.
SAND VOLLEYBALL NEWS - Summer Ross, who helped the Waves win both the team and individual titles at the inaugural AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship, won the AVP Cincinnati Open on Monday. She and partner Emily Day entered the tournament as the No. 14 seed and beat No. 2-seeded pair Kerri Walsh Jennings and Whitney Pavlik twice en route to the title. A week later, Ross and Day placed second at the AVP stop in Atlantic City, followed by a tie for first (finals canceled due to weather) in St. Petersburg, Fla.
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 #54 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.