Waves End Regular Season This Weekend
THE FACTS - The Pepperdine women's volleyball team closes out the regular season on the road with matches at Santa Clara and San Francisco. The Waves had a couple of hard-luck five-set losses to both schools at home last month. But if Pepperdine can return the favor, the Waves would have a strong finish to West Coast Conference play by going 6-1 in the second half of the season. Two wins would also assure Pepperdine of at least a tie for second place in the WCC, strengthening the team's argument for an NCAA Tournament bid.
MATCH #26 - Thursday (Nov. 19) at the Leavey Center in Santa Clara, Calif.: Pepperdine (15-10, 8-4 WCC, tied for second place) at Santa Clara (15-12, 5-7 WCC, tied for fifth place) at 7 p.m.
MATCH #27 - Saturday (Nov. 21) at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco, Calif.: Pepperdine at San Francisco (12-13, 6-6 WCC, fourth place) at 1 p.m.
ON THE WEB - Live video of all home matches are available to Wave Casts subscribers at www.pepperdinesports.com. 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.
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 nine weeks.
OPPONENT - Pepperdine is 46-3 all-time against San Francisco. The Dons have never won the season series against Pepperdine but were victorious in Malibu earlier this season. Pepperdine has a 22-2 record at USF ... Pepperdine is 32-24 all-time against Santa Clara. The Broncos have won five straight and 11 of the last 12 overall, however, with five straight wins at home. The Waves' only win during this stretch was at home in 2006.
LAST TIME AROUND - The fifth set was not kind to Pepperdine, as the Waves lost twice at home the last time these schools met. The Waves lost to San Francisco 20-25, 28-26, 24-26, 28-26, 15-12 and to Santa Clara 25-16, 25-18, 20-25, 17-25, 17-15. The Waves were unable to convert on a couple of match points against USF in the fourth set and the Dons won for the first time ever in Firestone Fieldhouse. Pepperdine did well to come back from two sets down against the Broncos. In both cases, the opponent had a strong start to the fifth set. Six players averaged more than two kills per set over both matches, led by Rachel Grochmal and Lilla Frederick at 3.00.
LAST WEEKEND - Pepperdine swept the season series from rival Loyola Marymount with a 25-19, 25-19, 23-25, 25-11 win in Gersten Pavilion last Friday (Nov. 13). The Waves enjoyed a .285-.133 hitting edge. Kim Hill had a match-high 14 kills, Rachel Grochmal had 12 kills and 14 digs, Caitlin Racich had 10 kills and 12 digs, Lilla Frederick had a career-high 22 digs and Stevi Robinson added 21 digs.
PCH CHALLENGE - The newly created PCH Challenge is a season-long competition between local rivals Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. After Friday's road victory, worth 1 1/2 points, the Waves now lead 4.0-3.5.
NCAA ANNOUNCEMENT - The bracket for the 2009 NCAA Tournament will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 29 at noon PT on ESPNews.
WCC STATS - Pepperdine is first in digs (15.40), second in service aces (1.28), second in opponent hitting percentage (.196), third in hitting percentage (.247) and sixth in blocks (1.92) ... Kim Hill is first in hitting percentage (.415), eighth in kills (2.85) and 10th in points (3.32) ... Kiah Fiers is second in assists (11.00) ... Stevi Robinson is first in service aces (0.40) and third in digs (4.80) ... Rachel Grochmal is fourth in kills (3.27), fourth in points (3.80), fourth in service aces (0.28) and eighth in digs (2.76) ... Victoria Adelhelm is seventh in hitting percentage (.326) and ninth in blocks (0.86) ... Lilla Frederick is ninth in kills (2.84).
NATIONAL STATS - According to the NCAA ... Kim Hill is fifth in the nation in hitting percentage (.415) ... Kiah Fiers is 31st in assists (11.00) ... Stevi Robinson is 47th in service aces (0.40) and 48th in digs (4.80).
CAREER RECORDS WATCH - Kim Hill's career .384 hitting percentage is on target to set a school record ... Stevi Robinson's career average of 4.80 digs per set is on pace to set a school record ... Rachel Grochmal is #2 in service aces per set (0.34), #3 in service aces (130) and #10 in kills (1,183) ... Kiah Fiers is #3 in total assists (4,303) and #4 in assists per set (11.69).
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 11.00 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 4,303).
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 3.27 kills along with 2.76 digs. She recorded her 1,000th career kill vs. Saint Mary's on Oct. 1.
ROBINSON - Arguably among 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 4.80 digs and 0.40 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 .415 and is averaging 2.85 kills and 0.74 blocks.
FREDERICK - Sophomore Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif./Cornelia Connelly HS) is contributing 2.84 kills and 2.56 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 0.64 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 1.48 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 1.98 kills and 0.86 blocks. She was #85 on prepvolleyball.com's Senior Aces list.
RACICH - Earning more playing time since the start of the conference season has been freshman outside hitter Caitlin Racich (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS). She is averaging 1.85 kills and 1.63 digs. She was #70 on prepvolleyball.com'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 0.64 kills and 0.68 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 prepvolleyball.com 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.