Pepperdine Volleyball Players Earn Recognitions Days Before NCAA Tournament

Meg Brown

Members of the Pepperdine Waves women’s volleyball team garnered postseason accolades a little over a week ahead of their first-round matchup in the NCAA championships on Wednesday. 

Five Waves players received All-West Coast Conference status and two players—junior Madison Shields and freshman Meg Brown—also received individual honors. Shields was named the WCC Libero of the Year and Brown was named WCC Freshman of the Year. 

Shields, also a member of the All-WCC second team, is the sixth Pepperdine player ever to win the WCC’s top defensive honor. During the regular season, Shields had a career-high 315 digs with a 4.32 digs-per-set average. She had double-figure digs in 18 matches this season, including getting more than 30 digs once and more than 20 digs four times. In 15 total matches, Shields led the Waves in digs. 

Brown was also named to the All-WCC First Team and All-Freshman Team. The middle blocker averaged 2.30 kills per set with a .324 success rate and 0.86 blocks per set. Brown had 175 overall kills, 63 digs and nine blocks this season. She had double-digit kills in eight matches and led Pepperdine in hitting percentage 12 times and blocks in nine matches. 

Senior outside hitter Shannon Scully, junior outside hitter Rachel Ahrens and sophomore setter Isabel Zelaya were named to the conference’s first team with Brown. 

Scully, now a two-time All-WCC first teamer, averaged 3.25 kills, 3.19 digs, 0.32 aces and 0.38 blocks this season. She had 28 total blocks with five rejections, 233 digs and 237 total kills on a .243 clip, with 23 aces this season. 

Ahrens had a dominant regular season. She earned five WCC Offensive Player of the Week awards and ranked first in the conference in points per set, total points, kills per set, total kills, total aces, total attacks and aces a set. Ahrens registered a career-high 324 kills, 4.44 kills a set, 0.44 aces a set and 32 total aces. Ahrens has also hit for double-figure kills in every match this season, including four matches where she had 20 kills. She was the team leader in kills in 15 matches; she led in aces in nine matches.

Zelaya led the WCC with 11 assists per set and 803 total assists. She tallied 167 total digs and averaged 2.29 digs a set. Zelaya also had seven double-doubles in assists-digs and had double figure kills in seven matches. Zelaya led Pepperdine in assists every match. 

Pepperdine ended the regular season with a 16-3 record and ranked 20th in the country. The squad won nine of its last 10 matches heading into its first round NCAA tournament matchup against UMBC in Omaha, Neb. 

This season is the 24th time Pepperdine has been admitted into the championship volleyball tournament. The winner of the Pepperdine/UMBC game will face Baylor on Thursday (April 15).