A rematch between two Hall of Fame coaches and non-conference matches against Lewis and Penn State highlights the 2012 Pepperdine regular season schedule that the team released Saturday.
Pepperdine finished last season in ninth place in the MPSF and missed the conference tournament for the first time in its program history. The Waves have five returning starters, including outside attacker Maurice Torres who ended 2011 in the nation’s top 10 for kills per game average.
Check out the five things to take away from Pepperdine’s schedule for the 2012 season.
Five things to know about the schedule
1. Scates vs. Dunphy finale
Two Hall of Fame coaches will meet for the final time this upcoming season. Pepperdine and 29-year head coach Marv Dunphy will play UCLA and 50-year head coach Al Scates on Feb. 1 in Malibu, Calif., and March 16 in Los Angeles. Scates, the winningest coach in NCAA volleyball history, announced in May that he would retire following the 2012 season. Dunphy and Scates are among the few coaches in NCAA men’s volleyball history with 500 career wins and have combined to win 24 NCAA championships — Pepperdine winning five and UCLA winning 19. Both schools with these coaches on the sidelines have met 84 previous times. Dunphy is 31-53 all-time against UCLA dating back to 1977.
2. Season’s toughest stretch
The Waves during a 15-day stretch in the middle of the season will play four matches against teams that will likely be ranked in the preseason top five. Pepperdine will play a road match against Stanford on Feb. 24 and a two-match road series against BYU on March 2-3 before playing a non-conference home match against Penn State on March 8. All three of these teams finished last season ranked in the top 10. In addition, Penn State reached the Final Four for the 13th consecutive season, while BYU and Stanford were both in contention for the lone at-large bid to the Final Four. Pepperdine is a combined 2-6 against BYU and Stanford in MPSF play the last two seasons.
3. Rematch of the championship match that never was
For the second time since meeting in the 2003 NCAA championship, Pepperdine will play Lewis. The Waves will open their season at home with a two-match series against the Flyers on Jan. 7-8. Lewis defeated Pepperdine in the 2003 title match to become the first MIVA team to win a NCAA championship. However, one year later Lewis had to vacate its only national championship in school history because of multiple NCAA rule violations. After serving all its NCAA and self-imposed penalties, Lewis has rebuilt its program and finished last year No. 13 in the national rankings. The Waves since the 2003 NCAA championship are 5-0 against MIVA teams — including a victory against Lewis in 2004. This is the second consecutive season the Waves have opened their season against a MIVA team. Pepperdine swept Ohio State in a two-match series last season.
4. More matches vs. EIVA
Pepperdine for the first time in its program history will play three EIVA teams in a single season. Pepperdine will complete its six-match non-conference schedule with matches against Penn State, Harvard and George Mason in March. The Waves are 30-4 all-time against EIVA teams and have lost one match to an EIVA team in the last 20 years. Penn State is the only EIVA team to ever defeat Pepperdine. The Waves are 16-4 all-time against the Nittany Lions, but Penn State won the last meeting in 2008. Pepperdine last season won both its non-conference matches versus the EIVA, including a sweep against Harvard in the two programs’ first meeting.
5. Opening at home
The Waves will not have to leave Malibu, Calif., for almost the first month of the season. Pepperdine will open the season with a six-match homestand, including conference matches against Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State and a two-match series versus Hawai’i. In addition, Pepperdine will begin the homestand playing Lewis in two non-conference matches. This will be the longest homestand to open a season for Pepperdine since 1998. The Waves went 6-1 during that seven-match homestand 14 years ago. However, in recent years it has struggled in the season’s opening weeks. Pepperdine has finished 2-4 in the season’s first six matches the last two year.
Pepperdine 2012 regular season schedule
7 p.m. Jan. 7 vs. Lewis
5 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. Lewis
7 p.m. Jan. 11 vs. Cal State Northridge*
7 p.m. Jan. 14 vs. Long Beach State*
7 p.m. Jan. 20 vs. Hawai’i*
7 p.m. Jan. 21 vs. Hawai’i*
7 p.m. Jan. 25 at UC Irvine*
7 p.m. Jan. 27 at UC San Diego*
7 p.m. Feb. 1 vs. UCLA*
7 p.m. Feb. 3 vs. UC Santa Barbara*
7 p.m. Feb. 10 at USC*
7 p.m. Feb. 15 vs. Cal Baptist
7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Stanford*
7 p.m. Feb. 25 at Pacific*
6 p.m. March 2 at BYU*
6 p.m. March 3 at BYU*
7 p.m. March 8 vs. Penn State
7 p.m. March 10 vs. USC*
7 p.m. March 12 vs. Harvard
7 p.m. March 14 at UC Santa Barbara*
7 p.m. March 16 at UCLA*
7 p.m. March 24 vs. George Mason
7 p.m. March 29 vs. Stanford*
7 p.m. March 31 vs. Pacific*
7 p.m. April 5 vs. UC Irvine*
7 p.m. April 7 vs. UC San Diego*
7 p.m. April 12 at Cal State Northridge*
7 p.m. April 14 at Long Beach State*
*Denotes MPSF match
All times PST