Women's Volleyball Closes Out Home Season
UPCOMING Â The #24 Pepperdine women’s volleyball team (19-5, 7-5, fifth place) finishes up its home season and completes West Coast Conference play with matches against #25 San Francisco and #17 San Diego. Pepperdine will have a major say in the outcome of the WCC title, as the Dons and Toreros enter the final weekend tied for first place. The Waves will honor their three seniors Â Cassi Chamberlain, Caitlin Lawson and Julie Rubenstein Â prior to Saturday’s home finale against the Toreros. Then, Pepperdine closes out the regular season with a match at #9 UCLA next week.
MATCH #25 Â Thursday (Nov. 20) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine vs. #25 San Francisco (20-6, 10-2, tied for first place) at 7 p.m.
MATCH #26 Â Saturday (Nov. 22) at Firestone Fieldhouse: Pepperdine vs. #17 San Diego (20-4, 10-2, tied for first place) at 1 p.m.
MATCH #27 Â Tuesday (Nov. 25) at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif.: Pepperdine at #9 UCLA (18-8) at 7 p.m.
ON THE WEB Â Beginning in fall 2008, PepperdineSports.com has moved to a pay-per-view platform to watch live video of home events. An annual pass costs $69.95 and monthly subscriptions are also available. 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 page to find more information.
TICKETS Â 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.
SERIES INFO Â Pepperdine is 45-2 all-time against USF, and one of those two losses was earlier this season in San Francisco by a 3-1 score. The Waves are 23-0 at home against the Dons ... Pepperdine is 34-17 all-time against San Diego, but lost 3-2 on the Toreros’ court earlier this season. The Waves have a 21-6 home record against USD.
LAST WEEK Â The Waves put together their most dominating weekend of WCC play with three-set sweeps at Portland (25-12, 25-21, 27-25) and Gonzaga (25-18, 25-13, 25-14). The Waves beat the Pilots for the 28th straight time and the Bulldogs for the 24th straight match. The Waves scored the first 14 points of the match against the Pilots and only trailed for one point the entire match against the Bulldogs. Julie Rubenstein averaged 5.33 kills and hit .444 to lead the Waves, while Kiah Fiers returned to the lineup and averaged 11.17 assists while helping Pepperdine to hit .330 as a team. Rubenstein passed Katie Wilkins and moved into third all-time at Pepperdine in career kills against Gonzaga.
LOSSES Â All five Pepperdine losses this season are to WCC foes currently ranked in the AVCA top 25 or in the also receiving votes category ... In addition to losses of the win-loss variety, Pepperdine has lost players due to injuries and had only nine healthy players at practice recently. Three of the recent defeats came without all-conference setter Kiah Fiers, who suffered a hand injury against San Diego on Oct. 23. She finally returned to the lineup on Nov. 13 at Portland. Also, sophomore Kristen Seaton, an expected starter, has been sidelined all season by a foot injury and will redshirt.
ACADEMIC AWARD Â Julie Rubenstein was named to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team and will have her name put on the national ballot for Academic All-American honors. Rubenstein was on the All-District third team in 2007.
STAT LEADERS Â As a team, the Waves are first in the WCC in hitting percentage (.274), opponent hitting percentage (.166) and digs (15.10) and are third in service aces (1.45) ... Julie Rubenstein is first in the WCC and 15th nationally in kills (4.37) ... Rubenstein is also first in the WCC in points (5.14), third in service aces (0.33) and 10th in hitting percentage (.321) ... Stevi Robinson is first in digs (4.62) ... Kim Hill is second in blocks (1.10) and fifth in hitting percentage (.367) ... Kiah Fiers is fourth in assists (10.38) ... Rachel Lumsden is 10th in aces (0.26) ... Lilla Frederick is 10th in digs (2.77).
JULIE RUBENSTEIN Â Senior outside hitter Julie Rubenstein (Camarillo, Calif./Oaks Christian HS) is winding up one of the top careers in Pepperdine history and she should be a strong candidate for national honors in 2008. But she’s more than just a volleyball player. Rubenstein is a member of the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and became the first person from Pepperdine to earn a spot on the national board. She was also voted Pepperdine’s Female Student-Athlete of the Year for 2007-08 and is a three-time WCC Commissioner’s Honor Roll recipient, a two-time WCC All-Academic selection and a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree. She was a member of USA Volleyball squads during the summers of 2006 and 2007. Rubenstein is a three-time All-WCC honoree (the last two years on the first team). She has 1,677 kills in her career, third all-time at Pepperdine. Quite impressively, she has played in all 409 sets of her four-year career. She earned tournament MVP honors at all four non-conference events, plus two WCC Player of the Week awards and a CVU.com National Player of the Week honor to start the 2008 season. Rubenstein is averaging 4.37 kills, 2.40 digs and 0.33 aces and is hitting .321 this season.
SETTERS Â Junior Kiah Fiers (Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif./Peninsula HS) and sophomore Kealohilani Kea (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kamehameha HS) have been sharing time at the setter position, although Fiers was sidelined with a hand injury and Kea has made four straight starts ... Fiers had a brilliant first two seasons, as she was named the 2006 WCC Freshman of the Year and a 2007 All-WCC first team pick. However, she suffered a knee injury just prior to the 2007 NCAA Tournament and after undergoing surgery, she worked all summer toward achieving 100 percent health. Despite missing a few midseason matches due to a hand injury, she is back to her usual self, as she is averaging 10.38 assists and made two all-tournament teams this fall ... Kea, a former state player of the year in Hawaii as a setter, did an exceptional job in the spring in Fiers’ absence and is doing so again this fall. She is averaging 10.16 assists, with a high of 57 against Portland, and has made six starts ... The duo has helped direct Pepperdine to a .274 team hitting percentage.
RACHEL LUMSDEN Â Junior outside hitter Rachel Lumsden (Brea, Calif./Brea Olinda HS) averaged 3.23 kills over her first two seasons and is #1 in service aces per set (0.38) in Pepperdine history. She was named All-WCC honorable mention as a 2006 freshman and likely would have earned postseason honors last season had she not missed six matches due to injury. Lumsden is averaging 2.88 kills and 2.16 digs this season. She was named to three all-tournament teams during non-conference play.
CASSI CHAMBERLAIN Â Senior middle blocker Cassi Chamberlain (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS) earned All-WCC honorable mention honors last season. She made the 2005 WCC All-Freshman team and is also a three-time WCC Commissioner’s Honor Roll selection. Like Rubenstein, she is heavily involved in Pepperdine’s SAAC program. Chamberlain is averaging 1.54 kills and 0.63 blocks. She made two all-tournament teams during non-conference play.
TOP FROSH Â Pepperdine’s three-person recruiting class, ranked #8 nationally by Volleyball Magazine and #9 by prepvolleyball.com, quickly began paying dividends. The three, who were all Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selections, won starting jobs for the Waves and have excelled ... Kim Hill (Portland, Ore./Portland Christian HS) was the nation’s #8 recruit and is starting at middle blocker. She is averaging 2.14 kills with a .367 hitting percentage and a team-best 1.10 blocks ... Outside hitter Lilla Frederick (Anaheim, Calif./Cornelia Connelly HS) played with the U.S. Junior National Team and was the MVP at the Junior Olympics this summer. She is averaging 2.29 kills and 2.77 digs ... Stevi Robinson (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS) has also played with the U.S. Junior National Team. She starts at libero and is averaging 4.62 digs.
MORE VETERANS Â Senior Caitlin Lawson (Walnut Creek, Calif./Carondelet HS) is a team captain and an incredibly versatile player who will likely have played just about every position by the time her career ends ... Sophomore Krista Friedman (La Verne, Calif./St. Lucy’s Priory HS) ended last year as the starting libero and averaged 4.27 digs per set over the final 10 matches of the 2007 season ... Sophomore outside hitter Kristen Seaton (Terre Haute, Ind./South Vigo HS) was expected to start on the right side after averaging 1.88 kills last year but is currently sidelined due to stress reactions in a foot. She will redshirt the 2008 season.
NINA MATTHIES Â Now in her 26th season as head coach of the Waves, Nina Matthies entered the 2008 season with a career record of 474-286 (.624), which includes 10 conference championships and 17 NCAA Tournament appearances. She is by far the WCC’s all-time winningest coach and is a nine-time WCC Coach of the Year. Matthies was among the world’s top players and is a member of the Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame. She won two AIAW national championships as a player at UCLA.
ROSTER Â The Waves return four starters plus the libero and lost only two starters from the 2007 squad. A total of eight returning letterwinners and three newcomers bring the squad total to 11.
2008 HONORS Â The Waves won all four of their pre-conference tournaments: Cal State Fullerton’s Radisson Suites Buena Park Volleyball Classic, the Oregon State Asics Classic, the Nevada AT&T Invitational and their own Pepperdine Asics Classic ... Julie Rubenstein went four-for-four winning tournament MVP honors, leading to two WCC Player of the Week honors (Sept. 2 and 8) and one National Player of the Week award from Collegiate Volleyball Update (Sept. 9). She was also named the WCC Player of the Month for September ... Rachel Lumsden made three all-tournament teams (Oregon State, Nevada and Pepperdine) ... Kiah Fiers made two all-tournament teams (Oregon State and Nevada) ... Cassi Chamberlain made two all-tournament teams (Cal State Fullerton and Pepperdine) ... Stevi Robinson made the Cal State Fullerton all-tournament team.
GREAT START Â Pepperdine’s 13-match winning streak to open the season tied the best undefeated start in school history, matching the record set in 1997. The 13-match winning streak also ties as the fourth-longest in school history, after 25 in a row in 2003, 17 straight in 2002 and 15 consecutive in 1991. At 15-1 and 16-1, the Waves also had their best record in school history after 16 and 17 matches, respectively.
WCC PRESEASON POLL Â The predicted order of finish went San Diego, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, a tie between Saint Mary’s and San Francisco, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga and Portland.
RULES CHANGES Â Fans may want to take note of a few rules changes for 2008. The NCAA has decided that games will be now known as sets. And, to bring the collegiate game more in line with the international game, sets one through four will go to 25 points instead of 30.
VOLLEYBALL HISTORY Â 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 24 times in 33 seasons, including 10 trips to the NCAA Championships in the last 11 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).
2007 RECAP Â It was a year that would be considered good for most teams: 18-11 overall, 9-5 for third place in the WCC and a first-round NCAA Tournament appearance. But there were a few costly losses along the way that hurt the Waves’ hopes for a WCC title and their eventual NCAA Tournament seeding. Julie Rubenstein, Kiah Fiers and Lecca Roberts made the All-WCC first team and Cassi Chamberlain and Kayla Walker were honorable mention.
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 compete for conference and national titles.
UP NEXT Â Following the regular-season-ending UCLA match next Tuesday, Nov. 25, the Waves will have a few days before the NCAA Tournament selection announcement on Sunday, Nov. 30.