The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Bohler hosting Dayton, Pepperdine volleyball

Teams playing for postseason lives
WSU+debuts+newly+renovated+court+in+spring+match+against+Montana%2C+April+2+at+Bohler+Gym.
BRANDON WILLMAN
WSU debuts newly renovated court in spring match against Montana, April 2 at Bohler Gym.

Three hours ahead of the Cougs battle with Grand Canyon, Bohler Gym will host another first-round NCAA Tournament match between No. 5 seed Dayton (31-2, 18-0 A-10) and Pepperdine (19-8, 15-1 WCC). 

Dayton made the dance after dropping just two games during the regular season, early losses to Marquette and Louisville, before finishing the year as winners of a program record 26 straight matches. 

The Flyers had three All-Conference First Team members as well as a Second Team member, with head coach Tim Horsmon winning the honor of A-10 Coach of the Year for the seventh time in his 15-year career. Horsmon has been a head coach for 25 seasons, holding an all-time record of 550-270 and a record of 374-106 at Dayton. 

Serving has been the forte of Dayton, leading NCAA D-1 programs with 2.31 aces per set. Taylor Russell, one of the three players to earn All-Conference First Team honors, led the team and finished 20th in NCAA with 0.48 aces per set. 

Joining Russell on the All-Conference First Team is Lexie Almodovar and Amelia Moore. Almodovar averaged 4.47 kills per set on .269% hitting during the 2023 season, adding 0.45 aces per set as an offensive threat from all over the court. Moore averaged 1.26 blocks per set, 2.17 kills per set and hit .370% as the third-favorite target of setter Alyssa Miller.

Making their 17th NCAA Tournament appearance, Dayton enters 9-16 all-time in postseason play and has yet to make it past the second round in their 17 attempts. Despite missing the tourney last season, the 2023 season is the fifth appearance of the last six seasons for the Flyers. 

Pepperdine has had a much different season but is still making the 27th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. They won 15 of their 16 conference matches in 2023 but went just 4-7 against out-of-conference opponents. 

In neutral site matches, the Waves finished the 2023 regular season 2-4, beating Liberty and Washington. 

Making their 27th appearance, Pepperdine enters the 2023 tournament with a record of 19-26, as well as making their fourth consecutive appearance. 

Waves head coach Scott Wong won his first WCC Coach of the Year award in the 2023 season, holding a record of 144-87 career record at the helm. Many players joined Wong in the postseason honors, with the Waves nabbing several top honors. 

Grace Chillingworth won WCC Player of the Year, Isabel Zelaya won Setter of the Year and Riley Patterson won Libero of the Year. Two more Waves earned All-Conference First Team honors and one player made the Second-Team, Honorable Mention and All-Freshman teams, respectively. 

Three waves averaged at least 2.00 kills per set, with one additional player finishing at 1.95 kills per set. The Waves have depth in their offense, making their attack unpredictable yet consistent. Chillingworth led the team at 3.78, hitting .272% and averaging 2.36 digs per set. 

Dayton and Pepperdine have met four times in their histories, splitting 2-2. They first met in 2006, a 3-2 win for the Waves, and most recently met during the 2012 season, a 3-2 victory for the Flyers. 

For bragging rights of an all-time head-to-head lead and a berth into the second round and a date with the winner of Washington State and Grand Canyon, the Flyers and Waves will face off starting at 4 p.m. Friday in Bohler Gym in Pullman, Washington, and streamed live on ESPN.

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About the Contributor
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2023 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.