News and Events
Pepperdine Men's Volleyball 2008 Season Opens
With high hopes for 2008, the No. 2 Pepperdine men's volleyball team begins the regular season on Wednesday, Jan. 9, and Saturday, Jan. 12, with home matches against No. 14 UC Santa Barbara and No. 8 Cal State Northridge. This marks the 25th season as head coach for Marv Dunphy.
This season the Waves team may boast the nation’s best 1-2 punch in senior setter Jonathan Winder and junior opposite Paul Carroll. For that, the Waves were named preseason favorite by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF).
Few college teams can likely match the experience and talent of Pepperdine’s duo. Winder, a three-time All-American, was the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and MPSF Player of the Year last season. Carroll was an All-American first teamer who also starred for Australia during the 2007 World Cup.
Add in the return of junior outside hitter J.D. Schleppenbach, who was second on the team in kills last season, and half of the Waves’ starting lineup from a team that made the national semifinals is still intact.
Dunphy comments on this season’s team, comprised of many inexperienced but promising young players: "We lost a lot of experience," he says. "And after our fall practice, we still have a ways to go. For a lot of the players who are out there for the first time, they got a small dose of what is expected of them. They know the standard that needs to be met. We’re going to have to grow up fast."
Dunphy was a bit surprised when the MPSF preseason coaches’ poll came out and the Waves had a slight edge at the top over BYU and UCLA due to the relatively young team. Nationally, Pepperdine is ranked No. 2 by the AVCA and No. 6 by Volleyball Magazine.
"I think that schools which have most of their players back have an advantage over the teams who have lost a lot," Dunphy notes. "There are five or six teams that have everybody back and that’s a tremendous advantage. There are some other programs that probably should have been favored. But my guess is the reason they picked us is because of Jonathan and Paul. We have a couple of guys with great experience, All-Americans last year, but there’s another side of us that’s pretty darn young."
After the exhibition season ends, MPSF play begins immediately, and Dunphy knows his youngsters will need to be ready from the beginning, as there are no easy matches.
"There was a time when there were some really good teams and some teams that weren’t so good, so you knew going into some matches that if we play well and they play well, we win," says Dunphy, who is assisted by Scott Wong and Craig Choate. "Now, I think on a match-by-match basis, we play well, they play well, and it’s a battle. The MPSF is a tremendous league."
For the latest schedule and new in Waves men's volleyball, please visit the team's Web site.