MPSF's Top-Three Clinch Top-Four Seed

David Wieczorek, Pepperdine (Photo by Martin A. Folb)
David Wieczorek, Pepperdine (Photo by Martin A. Folb)
March 19, 2018

MPSF Volleyball Release 11

DAVID WIECZOREK OF PEPPERDINE MPSF/MOLTEN OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Pepperdine redshirt junior outside hitter David Wieczorek (Chicago, IL/Loyola Academy) helped his team to three wins over ranked opponents including MPSF sweeps over No. 14 Concordia (Mar. 15) and No. 13 Grand Canyon (Mar. 17), as well as a 3-1 upset over No. 3 Hawaii (Mar. 18). Wieczorek tied the 2018 MPSF-high of six aces against CUI and recorded a season-high 22 kills against UH. He amassed 49 kills on 90 swings with a .400 hitting percentage for the week, while adding 10 aces, 14 digs and nine blocks. He averaged a staggering 6.40 points/set for the week, along with 4.90 kills/set, 1.40 digs/set, 1.00 aces/set and 0.90 blocks/set. This is the fifth career MPSF weekly award for Wieczorek, including four this year. Others Nominated: Sam Lewis (USC); JP Reilly (STAN); Gabi Garcia Fernandez (BYU); Christian Hessenauer (UCLA)…

ALEX HARTHALLER OF PEPPERDINE MPSF/MOLTEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Pepperdine senior outside hitter Alex Harthaller (Innsbruck, Austria), was instrumental for the Waves, helping his team to three wins over ranked opponents in Firestone Fieldhouse last week (Mar. 15-18). Pepperdine swept No. 13 Grand Canyon and No. 14 Concordia, before upsetting No. 3 Hawai’i in four. Harthaller posted his first career double-double against UH. He averaged 4.40 points/set for the week, after posting 1.20 blocks/set, 1.90 digs/set, 0.30 aces/set and 3.50 kills/set. He put up 35 kills with a .361 clip, while adding three aces, 19 digs and 12 block assists throughout 10 sets played. This is the first career MPSF weekly award for Harthaller. Others Nominated: Evan Enriques (STAN); Brenden Sander (BYU)…

MPSF’S TOP-THREE CLINCH TOP-FOUR SEED, ONE QF HOME COURT OPEN

No. 5 PEPPERDINE (6-3 MPSF/13-6 Overall) David Wieczorek served a conference-season high tying six aces, to go along with 12 kills (.320), in a 3-0 MPSF home win over No. 14 Concordia last Thursday (Mar. 15). He finished the week with a season-high 22 kills at .390, along with three aces, in a four-set home win over No. 3 Hawaii. He is No. 2 in the nation in aces per set (0.57) and No. 3 in points per set (5.02). Alex Harthaller added his first career double-double vs. Hawaii with 14 kills (.367) and 11 digs. Pepperdine also defeated Grand Canyon at home in three sets (Mar. 17). The third-place Waves have three to play, all in the MPSF, beginning at USC on Mar. 29. Pepperdine has solidified a top-four seed in the MPSF Tournament, and will stay in Firestone Fieldhouse for the MPSF Quarterfinals (Apr. 14) if its unable to win the regular season.

No. 3 UCLA (7-2 MPSF/19-5 Overall) won two MPSF home matches this past week, 3-0 over No. 14 Concordia and 3-1 over No. 13 Grand Canyon, clinching a top-four MPSF Tournament seed and quarterfinal home court if unable to win the regular season. Christian Hessenauer connected for team-high totals of 16 kills (.343), eight digs and a career-high tying six block assists vs. GCU. He also led the Bruins vs. CUI in kills (18), aces (2) and digs (9) while hitting .483. Daenan Gyimah continues to easily lead the nation in hitting (.522; 47 percentage points ahead of No. 2). UCLA has served a national-high 156 aces on the year. The Bruins are off until March 28 when UCSB visits in non-conference. Second-place UCLA has three to play and 1.5 matches from the top in the MPSF, next visiting USC on March 31.

No. 2 BYU (8-0 MPSF/18-4 Overall) came back from a first set loss to defeat USC in four sets last Thursday (Mar. 15). The win kept No. 2 BYU unbeaten in MPSF action, while extending its win streak to 13 matches. Gabi Garcia Fernandez recorded 14 kills, five aces for the second-straight match, as well as seven digs. Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga added 13 kills. Brenden Sander had a match-high seven digs along with a season-high four blocks, while hitting .304 (9-2-23). The Cougars have clinched a top-four seed in the MPSF Tournament, with a magic number of three to win the regular season and earn a quarterfinal bye. They have four to play in conference, sitting atop the standings by 1.5 matches. Following a bye week, BYU is at home against Concordia (Mar. 29) and Grand Canyon (Mar. 31). BYU is the national leader in team blocking (2.89 B/S).

USC (2-6 MPSF/6-15 Overall) won its first true road match of the year with a four-set comeback at Stanford in MPSF play this past Saturday. Sam Lewis hit .409 with 12 kills, along with a match-high six blocks, in the win. He also served two aces. USC hosts UC Irvine Saturday (Mar. 24), before its final four conference matches.

No. 14 CONCORDIA (3-5 MPSF/10-12 Overall) dropped MPSF road matches at UCLA and Pepperdine last week. The Eagles remain in fourth-place, still currently in position to host an MPSF Quarterfinal match. They have four to play in conference, beginning with a crucial visit to Grand Canyon Friday (Mar. 23). CUI also will play a doubleheader Saturday in Arizona, at Benadictine and Ottawa. Jacob Weiser is No. 4 in the nation in digs per set (2.90 D/S).

No. 13 GRAND CANYON (2-6 MPSF/15-8 Overall) hosts Concordia Friday (Mar. 23) in a key MPSF contest in a chase to secure the last remaining home court available for the MPSF Quarterfinals. The Antelopes are coming off a 3-1 loss at No. 4 UCLA and 3-0 loss at No. 7 Pepperdine.

STANFORD (1-7 MPSF/4-17 Overall) dropped a four-set MPSF home match to USC Saturday (Mar. 17). JP Reilly had a career-high 13 kills with a .357 clip. Evan Enriques picked up 13 digs. Stanford is off this week, next competing at home against Grand Canyon (Mar. 29) and Concordia (Mar. 31).