No coach within the best conference in men's college volleyball dares to think that one team can go undefeated.
Marv Dunphy is one of those coaches. There's one small problem: His Waves are 10-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation as they reach the season's midpoint.
"So far so good," Dunphy said. "But this league is as good as it's ever been."
The Waves lost to Hawaii in the NCAA championship match last season and are showing signs of a return trip in May.
Thursday night, Pepperdine swept local rival USC at Firestone Fieldhouse.
Powered by middle blocker Brad Keenan and outside hitters Sean Rooney and Fred Winters, Pepperdine (12-1) has won 11 consecutive matches since its losing to UC Irvine on Jan. 6.
The Waves avenged that defeat Saturday night with a three-game sweep at Irvine. That victory has propelled them to their first No. 1 ranking this season.
"I never thought of that," Dunphy said of the rematch. "I don't think the guys thought of that either."
Dunphy has worked new players in with the veteran leaders.
Sophomore setter John Mayer, a transfer from Pierce College, has ably filled the void left by the departed Beau Daniels. Sophomore hitter Mike Gledhill has taken on a larger role while freshman middle blocker Andy Hein has recovered from torn ligaments in his right knee.
Pepperdine visits Hawaii next week in one of the season's most anticipated matchups. Dunphy said no one is worth looking past.
"You just can't take any program lightly," he said.
Biola and Azusa Pacific staged another classic Tuesday night in one of the best rivalries in Southland men's college basketball. Azusa led, 46-24, at halftime, but Biola rallied for a 72-69 victory as Quintin Lester scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half.
The victory was critical for the Eagles (18-8, 8-7 in the Golden State Athletic Conference), who avenged a 69-64 loss at Azusa on Jan. 14. The series is even after 37 years with each team winning 41 times.
"I think in a big game like that, when you have a history like we've had, you don't think you're out of a game," Biola Coach Dave Holmquist said.
Whittier College named Greg Carlson its new football coach. Carlson spent the last 18 years at Division III Wabash College in Indiana, winning four conference titles and recording a 112-57-2 record.... Cal State Bakersfield softball Coach Kathy Welter collected the 700th victory of her career when the Roadrunners beat Sonoma State, 2-1, in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday.
* California at Long Beach State, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday -- Cal, off to a 9-3 start, is led by preseason All-American third baseman Conor Jackson and center fielder Brian Horwitz. No. 13 Long Beach is paced by pitchers Abe Alvarez and Jered Weaver, who have combined to give up four earned runs in 34 1/3 innings.
* USC at Baylor, 4 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m. Sunday -- No. 8 USC is making its first trip to Baylor, which has a schedule loaded with West Coast teams. The No. 9 Bears are led by outfielder Michael Griffin, who is batting .513.
* Azusa Pacific at Concordia, 7:30 p.m. Saturday -- First place in the Golden State Athletic Conference will be at stake. Concordia (24-2, 12-2) has been top ranked in the NAIA twice this season, but Azusa Pacific (21-4, 13-2) won, 97-86, at home Jan. 11. Ken Ammann, Concordia's second-year coach, spent two years at Azusa Pacific as an assistant to Bill Odell.
WOMEN'S WATER POLO
* USC vs. UCLA, at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, 3 p.m. Today -- No. 2 UCLA has won six in a row and 21 of 28 in this rivalry. UCLA captain Robin Beauregard, a senior, scored the 100th goal of her career in the Bruins' 8-4 victory over No. 3 USC at the Stanford Invitational.