The 2008-09 school year brought many great moments in Waves athletics, including NCAA championship appearances and national recognition for some of Pepperdine's most valuable athletes and coaches.
In this calendar school year, Pepperdine men's and women's sports teams boasted nine All-American athletes, 44 All-Conference athletes, and six student-athletes who earned CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII honors. Seven teams advanced beyond the regular season into NCAA competition. Four teams finished among the top 25 in the nation. Three coaches earned conference Coach of the Year honors. Men's volleyball star Paul Carroll was named the National Player of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Women's volleyball star Julie Rubenstein was the recipient of the 2009 Michael Gilleran Award, given to the top female scholar-athlete in the West Coast Conference (WCC).
Men's water polo had a stellar season with a record of 21-7 in the regular season, finishing the season ranked in a tie for second place in the Mountain Pacific Sport Federation (MPSF) and ranked second by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA). Adam Hewko was named to the All-American first team, the All-MPSF second team and the MPSF All Academic team. Grant Miller was selected to the All-American second team and the All-MPSF first team. All-Academic honors went to Clayton Snyder (also All-MPSF third team), Andrew Milcovich and Blake Hubbell. Pepperdine men's water polo head coach Jack Kocur was the MPSF co-Coach of the Year.
Women's golf also had a notable season, winning the WCC Championships for the eighth straight year and advancing to the NCAA West Regional, where the team finished in eighth place. This secured berth to the NCAA Championships, where the team finished in ninth. At season's end, the Waves were ranked No. 14 by Golfstat, and No. 14 in the Golfweek/Sagarin index.
Freshman golfer Lisa McCloskey made a name for herself in her debut year, setting an NCAA record with a 17-under 199 at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, where she was the medalist. McCloskey was named NGCA All-American honorable mention, the WCC Freshman of the Year and All-WCC first team.
The men's golf squad ended the season with a 12th place finish at the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament after a tied-for-third-place performance at the WCC Championships. The team ranked No. 46 in the Golfweek/Sagarin index. Andrew Putnam was named the WCC Player of the Year and was selected to the All-WCC first team. Josh Anderson made the All-WCC first team.
Women's Volleyball advanced to post-season play, competing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Their regular season record of 20-8 ranked them tied for fourth place in the WCC. Senior Julie Rubenstein was named to the AVCA All-American third team, Collegiate Volleyball Update "Stellar Spikers" first team, AVCA All-Pacific Region and the All-WCC first team. She was also selected to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team and the WCC All-Academic team. Freshman Stevi Robinson was named WCC Defensive Player of the Year, and Kim Hill was the WCC Freshman of the Year.
The men's volleyball team was highly decorated this year, with national commendation for Carroll, as well as a 10-match winning streak that kept fans hyped mid-season. The Waves finished second in the MPSF regular season, as well as at the MPSF Tournament. Unfortunately, Pepperdine did not advance to the NCAA Championships, as No. 1 UC Irvine won the only at-large berth available for the four-team NCAA Championships. Still, the team ended the season ranked No. 3 by the AVCA and No. 4 by Volleyball Magazine.
Women's tennis ended their season 13-12 with a No. 41 ranking by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). The WCC Championship winning team (the team's seventh consecutive title and 21st overall) competed in the first round of the NCAA Championships. Alex Liles was chosen to the All-WCC first team in both singles and doubles. Anamika Bhargava was also picked All-WCC first team in both singles and doubles.
After winning the WCC Championships for the 19th consecutive year and the 40th time in school history, the Pepperdine men's tennis team reached the second round of the NCAA Championships. The Waves ended the season with a record of 20-10, ranked No. 18 by the ITA. Head coach Adam Steinberg was honored as the WCC Coach of the Year, and his right-hand man, Nick Carless, was named the ITA Western Region Assistant Coach of the Year.
Standout players include Omar Altmann, who earned ITA All-American honors in both singles and doubles - one of five players in the nation to garner double All-American honors. He was also the WCC Player of the Year and All-WCC first team in both singles and doubles. His partner, Bassam Beidas was named an ITA All-American for doubles. He was selected as All-WCC first team in singles and doubles. Alex Llompart was chosen as the WCC Freshman of the Year and made the All-WCC first team in singles.
The women's basketball team came out ahead with a regular season record of 16-13 and a third-place ranking in the WCC regular season, the best showing yet by Pepperdine under head coach Julie Rousseau. Miranda Ayim made the All-WCC first team. She also earned CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District third team honors and was picked to the WCC All-Academic squad. Jazmine Jackson made the WCC All-Freshmen team.
Waves men's basketball had a rebuilding year this year with the return of heralded coach Tom Asbury, who was previously at Pepperdine for 15 seasons, the first nine as an assistant coach (1980-88) and then the next six as the head coach (1989-94). With a record of 9-23 this year, the Waves finished in sixth place in the WCC regular season. Keion Bell made the WCC All-Freshman team.
Men's cross country finished fifth at the WCC Championships and 24th at the NCAA West Regional. The women's cross country squad finished sixth at the WCC Championships and 22nd at the NCAA West Regional. Chelsea Wishard earned a spot on the All-WCC first team. CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine All-District honors went to Ashley Burt.
It was a record-breaking season in track, with new individual school records established on the men's team by Robby DeVillez (400m hurdles), Conrad Wozniak (3000m) and Kenny Smith (steeplechase), and team of Kenny Smith, Derek Pesta, Henri Floris and Seth Allison set a school record in the distance medley relay. The women's squad also broke through barriers with new individual school records established by Amanda Ajdari (200m), Bridgette Walker (400m), Lauren Lodge (1500m, 3000m and steeplechase), Brieanna Carroll (5000m and 10000m) and Aneka Myles (shot put and discus).
The Waves women's soccer team finished their season with a solid 9-9-2 record, and fourth-place ranking in the WCC. Amanda Rupp made the All-WCC first team, the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team and the WCC All-Academic team. Ashley Copp was chosen to the All-WCC first team and the WCC All-Academic team.
The men's baseball team stayed ahead of the count with a 31-23 regular season record, and a 12-9 conference record, which put them tied for third place in the WCC. Pepperdine won at least 30 games in a season for the 32nd consecutive year. Denny Duron was the WCC Defensive Player of the Year. All-WCC first team honors went to Nate Simon, Matt Bywater, and Nick Gaudi. Cole Cook and Brian Humphries made the WCC All-Freshman team, and Cook was also named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America Team.
Finally, the women's swimming and diving team finished the season with a strong showing at the PCSC Championships, with all six of its divers among the top 10 in the 1- and 3-meter competitions, and 18 top 10 showings in the swimming events. Overall, the Pepperdine squad took third place. Amanda Pond was named PCSC Diver of the Year. She won the 3-meter competition at the PCSC Championships and was second on the 1-meter. Head Coach Nick Rodionoff was the PCSC Coach of the Year.
The Pepperdine Athletics Department will be counting down the top 10 moments of the 2008-09 school year on the Web site, starting with moment No. 10 on Monday, June 11. The No. 1 moment will be unveiled on Friday, June 22. Stay tuned at pepperdinesports.com.