Pepperdine men’s volleyball team wins season-opening match

The Pepperdine men's volleyball team celebrates after getting a point on Lincoln Memorial in the Waves season-opening win. Photo by Morgan Davenport

The Pepperdine Waves men’s volleyball team started their season with a sweep last week.

The Waves, ranked fifth in the nation, defeated visiting Lincoln Memorial 3-0 in Firestone Fieldhouse on Jan. 4. 

It was Pepperdine’s first win under new head coach Jonathan Winder, a Waves alumnus. Winder believed his players were a bit nervous since it was the first match of the season.

“We have spent a lot of time on serving and passing so that was something that was really helpful for our group as a whole as everyone went a bit up and down throughout the match,” Winder said in a video statement from Pepperdine Athletics. “Lincoln Memorial is a really good team and they pushed us hard.” 

The Waves won the contest 25-18, 25-22, 25-20. 

The squad was led by outside hitter Jaylen Jasper, who had 21 kills with a .486 hitting percentage. Jasper, a graduate student, also recorded a career-high five aces, six digs, and two blocks. 

Pepperdine, Jasper said in a video statement, trained hard in preparation for the regular season.

“My body feels great,” he said. “It’s awesome to feel good and go out there and perform well. When I have teammates that can pass the ball to our setter, who can just put the ball in the perfect spot and just let me do my thing makes life easier.”

Junior setter Bryce Dvorak had 35 assists, eight digs, and three blocks for Pepperdine, and senior middle blocker Akin Akinwumi tallied five blocks and an ace. Junior libero Trey Cole had 11 digs, junior middle blocker Andersen Fuller had four kills and two blocks, one which was solo, and redshirt sophomore outside hitter Joe Deluzio had six kills and five digs. Outside hitter Cole Rasic, also a redshirt sophomore, recorded four kills, six digs, and one block. 

The only time Pepperdine trailed Lincoln Memorial was at the beginning of the first set. Lincoln Memorial tied the scoreboard a few times in the three sets but never again took the lead. 

Pepperdine will play their next three games in four days. The Waves host Edward Waters on Friday at 6 p.m. and then host Emmanuel the next day at the same time. Pepperdine hosts Princeton on Monday at 7 p.m.