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Women's Volleyball Wraps Up Home Season


Women's Volleyball Wraps Up Home Season

Click on the above video player for an interview with Pepperdine freshman Caitlin Racich.

Pepperdine Women's Volleyball Notes (PDF)

November 3, 2009

THE FACTS - The Pepperdine women's volleyball team plays its final two home matches of the season this week as the third-place Waves host Portland on Thursday and Gonzaga on Saturday. Seniors Kiah Fiers and Rachel Grochmal will be honored prior to Saturday's match. Three more road matches remain in the regular season after this weekend.

MATCH #23 - Thursday (Nov. 5) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine (12-10, 5-4 WCC, third place) vs. Portland (5-18, 1-7 WCC, seventh place) at 7 p.m.

MATCH #24 - Saturday (Nov. 7) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine vs. Gonzaga (9-13, 4-4 WCC, tied for fourth place) at 1 p.m.

ON THE WEB - Live video of all home matches are available to Wave Casts subscribers at Live statistics will be available 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 for more information.

TICKETS - Single-match tickets to all home women's volleyball games are $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and free to all Pepperdine students and faculty with a university ID.

RANKINGS - After being ranked as high as #19 in the AVCA poll on Sept. 7, the Waves have been in the "others receiving votes" category the past seven weeks.

OPPONENTS - Pepperdine is 42-3 all-time against Gonzaga and has won 25 in a row. The last Bulldog win was in 1996. All three Gonzaga wins have taken place in Spokane, as Pepperdine is 22-0 at home ... Pepperdine is 43-2 all-time against Portland and has won 29 in a row. The last Pilot win was in 1994. Both Pilot wins have taken place in Portland, as Pepperdine is 22-0 in Firestone Fieldhouse.

LAST TIME AROUND - Pepperdine swept both matches on the Northwest road swing, beating the Bulldogs 25-22, 25-23, 29-26 on Oct. 8 and the Pilots 25-23, 25-19, 25-14 on Oct. 10. Over the six sets, Rachel Grochmal averaged 4.83 kills, Kiah Fiers averaged 12.17 assists and 4.50 digs and Kim Hill hit .581 with 3.50 kills. The Waves won in Spokane for the 13th straight year and in Portland for the 15th straight season.

LAST WEEK ­- Pepperdine nearly knocked off both WCC co-leaders on the road. The Waves began the week by sweeping then-#19 San Diego in front of an ESPNU audience (36-34, 25-17, 25-18), but then lost at Saint Mary's in five sets (22-25, 25-19, 24-26, 25-20, 15-13). The Waves beat USD twice in the same season for the first time since 2003. Saint Mary's beat Pepperdine twice in one season for only the second time ever. The Waves' last three losses have been in five sets. Rachel Grochmal had a career-high 25 kills at Saint Mary's and averaged 4.50 kills per set for the week. Kim Hill averaged 3.00 kills and Lilla Frederick was at 2.75 kills and 3.38 digs.

WCC STATS - Pepperdine is first in service aces (1.29) and digs (15.34), second in opponent hitting percentage (.205), third in hitting percentage (.236) and sixth in blocks (1.91) ... Stevi Robinson is first in service aces (0.42) and third in digs (4.87) ... Kim Hill is first in hitting percentage (.389) ... Kiah Fiers is second in assists (10.90) ... Rachel Grochmal is fourth in kills (3.34), fourth in service aces (0.29), fourth in points (3.85) and 10th in digs (2.72) ... Lilla Frederick is seventh in kills (2.97) and ninth in points (3.30).

NATIONAL STATS - According to the NCAA ... Kim Hill is 14th in the nation in hitting percentage (.389) ... Kiah Fiers is 34th in assists (10.90) ... Stevi Robinson is 41st in service aces (0.42) and 44th in digs (4.87).

CAREER RECORDS WATCH - Kim Hill's career .369 hitting percentage is on target to set a school record ... Stevi Robinson's career average of 4.84 digs per set is on pace to set a school record ... Rachel Grochmal is #2 in service aces per set (0.35), #3 in service aces (127) and #10 in kills (1,146) ... Kiah Fiers is #3 in total assists (4,152) and #4 in assists per set (11.70).

2009 HONORS - Kiah Fiers and Kim Hill were named to the preseason All-WCC team ... Fiers was named Tournament MVP at the Colorado State Asics Classic and was joined on the all-tournament team by Lilla Frederick and Rachel Grochmal ... Fiers was also named WCC Player of the Week on 8/31 following the Colorado State event ... Stevi Robinson was named WCC Player of the Week on 9/7 after the Pepperdine-USC Tournament ... Robinson and Frederick made the all-tournament team for the Pepperdine-USC Tournament ... Robinson was the Tournament MVP at the Pepperdine Asics Classic and Kristen Seaton also made the all-tournament team.

FIERS - The leader of Pepperdine's attack is senior setter Kiah Fiers (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Peninsula HS), who is averaging 10.46 assists per set. She is a three-time All-WCC selection (once on the first team, twice on honorable mention). She recorded her 4,000th career assist a couple of weeks ago, moving past Lee Hoven and into the #3 slot on Pepperdine's all-time list (she is now at 4,152).

GROCHMAL - Pepperdine's other senior starter is outside hitter Rachel Grochmal (Brea, Calif./Brea Olinda HS). Formerly Rachel Lumsden, she got married this past summer. She is a two-time All-WCC honorable mention selection and began the season as Pepperdine's all-time leader in service aces per set. In 2009, she is averaging a team-best 3.34 kills along with 2.72 digs. She recorded her 1,000th career kill vs. Saint Mary's on Oct. 1.

ROBINSON - Possibly one of the best liberos in the country, sophomore Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) was the WCC Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 after averaging a WCC-leading 4.81 digs per set. She's been just as good in 2009 at 4.87 digs and 0.42 service aces per set.

HILL - After earning WCC Freshman of the Year honors last season, sophomore middle blocker Kim Hill (Portland, Ore./Portland Christian HS) is shouldering an even bigger load in 2009. She is among the national leaders in hitting at .389 and is averaging 2.64 kills and 0.71 blocks.

FREDERICK - Sophomore Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif./Cornelia Connelly HS) is contributing 2.97 kills and 2.49 digs per set. She made the WCC All-Freshman team last season and played on the USA Junior National Team the past two summers.

SEATON - Back in the rotation after redshirting 2008 due to a foot injury, sophomore Kristen Seaton (Terre Haute, Ind./South Vigo HS) has been one of the Waves' options at opposite. She is averaging 1.96 kills and 0.65 blocks.

FRIEDMAN - An occasional starter in the back row, junior Krista Friedman (La Verne, Calif./St. Lucy's Priory HS) has carved out a role as a defensive specialist. She is averaging 1.53 digs per set.

ADELHELM - Of Pepperdine's seven newcomers, only one was asked to step into the regular starting lineup from the beginning, and that's freshman middle blocker Victoria Adelhelm (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian HS). She has made a nice transition to Division I volleyball, averaging 1.81 kills and 0.85 blocks. She was #85 on's Senior Aces list.

RACICH - Earning more playing time as of late has been freshman outside hitter Caitlin Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS), who has started several matches for the Waves. She is averaging 1.88 kills and 1.40 digs. She was #70 on's Senior Aces list.

MORE NEWCOMERS - Among the other five newcomers, freshman Brittney Clark (San Jose, Calif./Presentation HS) has seen the most playing time, averaging 0.67 kills and 0.67 blocks as a middle blocker or opposite. Three other newcomers are also true freshmen. Kelli Branning (Menlo Park, Calif./Menlo-Atherton HS) is a libero who has been seeing more and more action as a defensive specialist. Justine Hunter (Hollister, Calif./San Benito HS) is the backup at setter and Ashley Broadwell (Bothell, Wash./Archbishop Murphy HS) is an outside hitter. Redshirt sophomore Janea Rosell (Los Angeles, Calif./Bishop Montgomery HS), a transfer from Arizona State, is competing at middle blocker. The website rated Pepperdine's recruiting class as #12 in the country.

NINA MATTHIES - Now in her 27th season as head coach of the Waves, Nina Matthies entered the 2009 season with a career record of 494-294 (.627), which includes 10 conference championships and 18 NCAA Tournament appearances.  She is by far the WCC's all-time winningest coach and is a nine-time WCC Coach of the Year. On Sept. 11, 2009, she won the 500th match of her career with a victory over Seattle. Matthies was among the world's top players and is a member of the Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame. Earlier this fall, 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.

ROSTER - The Waves return four starters plus the libero and lost only two starters from the 2008 squad. Seven returners (six letterwinners and one redshirt) are joined by seven newcomers (six true freshmen and one transfer) to bring the squad total to 14. It's a fairly young team, as the eligibility breakdown is two seniors, one junior, five sophomores and six freshmen.

WCC PRESEASON POLL - San Diego received seven of the eight first-place votes and was picked to win the title. Pepperdine was second, followed by Saint Mary's, Santa Clara, San Francisco and Loyola Marymount, and then Gonzaga and Portland (tied). Kiah Fiers and Kim Hill were named to the All-WCC preseason first team.

VOLLEYBALL HISTORY - The Pepperdine women's volleyball program is synonymous with the word excellence, as the Waves are a perennial power. The Waves have advanced to postseason play 25 times in 34 seasons, including 11 trips to the NCAA Championships in the last 12 seasons. Pepperdine's best finishes in recent years came when the team made the regional final of the 2002 NCAAs, and then in 2003 when the Waves posted 27 victories (most in the Nina Matthies era).

2008 RECAP - It was another solid year for the Pepperdine women's volleyball team. Julie Rubenstein earned AVCA All-American third team honors and became Pepperdine's first All-American since 2003. She led the conference in kills and points. The Waves advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row but suffered a first-round loss to Long Beach State. There was a school-record-tying 13-0 start, and though they tied for fourth in the WCC with an 8-6 record, the Waves finished 20-8 overall, the 17th 20-win season in program history. Kim Hill earned WCC Freshman of the Year honors and Stevi Robinson was the WCC Defensive Player of the Year.

ABOUT PEPPERDINE - 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 - 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 compete for conference and national titles.




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