On a day with slight overcast—which one onlooker said was perfect for beach volleyball—Pepperdine’s beach volleyball team played almost flawlessly as it defeated three opponents last Saturday at the Pepperdine Invitational at Zuma Beach.
The Waves, ranked No. 1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll at press time, spiked and volleyed through Loyola Marymount, Saint Mary’s and USC to improve their record to 18-3.
Pepperdine assistant coach Marcio Sicoli said the season has been great so far. He said the 13-member Waves team is focused on competing for a national title in Gulf Shores, Ala. in May.
“We have a great group of kids,” he said. “We are leading up to Alabama in really good shape.”
Pepperdine head coach Nina Matthies, who is retiring at the end of the season, said her team’s roster is composed of great athletes and kids.
“They work really hard together and for each other,” she said. “We train hard.”
Sicoli, who will replace Matthies as head coach, said the Waves’ strengths are that they learn from wins and losses and compete as a team.
The Waves defeated 16th-ranked Loyola Marymount and 19th-ranked Saint Mary’s, 5-0, in the first two matches of the day. Pepperdine beat USC, slotted fourth in national polls, 4-1.
Pepperdine’s No. 4 pair, junior Skylar Caputo and freshman Alexis Filippone, the highest-rated pair in the country according to CollegeBeachVB.com, improved their record to 20-1. Senior Corinne Quiggle and sophomore Deahna Kraft, Pepperdine’s No. 1, advanced their match-winning streak to 16 before losing to a pair from USC.
Waves No. 2 pair, freshman Brook Bauer and junior Madalyn Roh; No. 3 pair, junior Heidi Dyer and sophomore Gigi Hernandez; and No. 5 pair, senior Maddie Dilfer and junior Nikki Lyons, also grabbed multiple victories.
Pepperdine hosted Team USA and Team Netherlands in a friendly game on Wednesday. The team’s next game is April 10 against USC. Pepperdine will host Arizona and Cal Poly at Zuma Beach on April 14. The squad will then compete for a second-consecutive West Coast Conference Championship at the conference championships in Santa Monica on April 20-21.
Pepperdine captured national titles in 2012 and 2014 and has competed for a national title every year since beach volleyball became a college sport.
Pepperdine head coach Nina Matthies said Pepperdine is geared to getting back to Alabama
“We try to take it a match at a time to see where we go,” Matthies said.