April 27, 2005
MALIBU, Calif. - Four matches into the 2005 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) tournament the home teams are a combined 1-3. Top seeded and semi-final and final round host Pepperdine will look to improve to 13-0 at Firestone Fieldhouse this year on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. (PDT) when it battles the fourth-seeded Cal State Northridge Matadors in the first of two semi-final matches. Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara will play in the nightcap scheduled to get underway at 7:30.
Pepperdine (21-2) is returning to the court for the first time since April 15 when it posted a 3-1 victory over the Matadors in Northridge. The Waves are led by the arm of MPSF Player of the Year Sean Rooney who is averaging 5.30 kills per game and hitting at a .405 clip. All-MPSF second team honoree Andy Hein combined with sophomore Tom Hulse help patrol the point of attack and have been instrumental in Pepperdine's 3.52-1.80 advantage in blocks this season. Freshman of the Year Jonathan Winder is quarterbacking the most efficient offense in the country as the team is hitting at a .362 clip under the Irvine, Calif., native.
CSUN (19-13) took the long road to get to this week's match after defeating eighth-seeded Stanford, 3-1, in the conference play-in match, then stunning second-seeded UCLA in Pauley Pavilion, 3-2, Saturday night. The Matadors are making their first trip to the MPSF semifinals since 1996. Nils Nielsen's 4.06 kills per game is pacing a CSUN offense that is averaging 14.93. Brian Waite, James Lischer and Cary Hanson have also been counted on to help with the Matador's attack.
Thursday's winning teams squaring off on Saturday for the MPSF's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-866 WAVE TIX or (310) 506-6395 or at the gate Thursday.