March 9, 2005
MALIBU, Calif. - The No. 2-ranked Pepperdine men's volleyball team opens a five-match homestand Thursday at 7:00 p.m. (PT) when it hosts No. 12-ranked UC Irvine at Firestone Firledhouse in Malibu, Calif. The Waves will return to action two days later when it looks to avenge its only loss of the season with a 7 p.m. first serve against top-ranked UCLA.
Pepperdine (12-1, 12-1 MPSF) has won its last 10 matches heading into this week's action after pulling off a two-match sweep over then-No. 2-ranked Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii, last week. Sophomore Tom Hulse was tabbed as the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Player of the Week for his efforts against the Warriors. Fellow middle blocker Andy Hein continues to lead the NCAA with a .579 attack percentage, while Player of the Year candidate Sean Rooney is averaging 5.14 kills per game this season.
UC Irvine (6-15, 4-10 MPSF) comes into Thursday's match in the midst of a six-match losing streak but proved to give the Waves troubles in the first meeting as the match was knotted at 1-1 before Pepperdine went on to claim the match, 3-1. Aaron Harrell averages 2.15 kills per game while hitting at a team-leading .468 clip. Jayson Jabolnsky leads the Anteaters at 3.18 kills per game and has 21 service aces to his credit.
UCLA (17-2, 12-2 MPSF) sits one-half game behind Pepperdine in the conference standings but swept the Waves in the team's first meeting of the season in Los Angeles. Saturday's meeting with mark the 20th time No. 1 has faced No. 2 since the 2000 season, both seeds have claimed 10 wins apiece.