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Pepperdine Takes Over No. 1 Ranking, Hosts USC, Pacific

March 15, 2005

MALIBU, Calif. -

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The Pepperdine men's volleyball team received 15 of the 16 total first-place votes in this week's USA Today/AVCA top 15 poll to dethrone the Bruins which had spent the last eight weeks as the top team in the country. The Waves will look to extend their current eight-match home winning streak this week as it takes on USC Thursday at 7:00 p.m. (PT) and No. 11 Pacific on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Pepperdine (14-1, 14-1 MPSF) has won its last 12 matches including a thrilling five-game victory over then-top-ranked UCLA last Saturday in Firestone Fieldhouse. Three Waves recorded career-high marks during the match as freshman Jonathan Winder set 72 kills, John Mayer dug 13 attacks and John Parfitt pounded out 25 kills, including the match-winner. Winder was tabbed Sports Import/AVCA National Player of the Week for his efforts against UC Irvine and UCLA last week, becoming the third Wave to earn the weekly honor this season and first true-freshman since Sean Rooney in 2002.

Three-time All-American Rooney continues to lead the Waves after recording 49 kills in two matches, hitting at a .478 clip last week. For the season, the Wheaton, Ill., native is averaging 5.27 kills per game with 1.46 digs and 0.92 blocks a contest. Pepperdine's middle blockers have also posed more than a small problem for opponents as Tom Hulse and Andy Hein average 1.46 and 1.37 blocks per game while the team holds a 3.38-1.76 edge overall.

USC enters the week with a 6-17 overall record (2-13 MPSF) after posting a sweep over UC Irvine last weekend. Pacific (12-11, 6-9 MPSF) earned a split with defending National Champions BYU last week in Stockton, Calif., and are currently ranked 11 in the nation.

The Waves swept USC in Los Angeles in the team's first meeting on Feb. 4 and needed a 15-7 score in game five to overcome the Tigers to open the year.