Here are the reasons why tonight’s Pepperdine-Hawaii showdown is a must-watch volleyball match:
> The standings: Hawaii (10-2) and Pepperdine (9-2) are in a four-way cluster at the top of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UC Irvine is first at 12-2. BYU and UH are tied for second.
> Rivalry: This will be the 71st meeting between the teams, which includes UH’s victory in the 2002 national title game. UH later forfeited the title — maybe. The NCAA reportedly has not removed UH’s name from the plaque. By the way, the title banner was last seen in Rich Sheriff’s desk drawer.
> The stars: Punahou alumnus Josh Taylor, the brother of Rainbow Wahine Nikki Taylor, and Parker Kalmbach, the MPSF’s kill leader, are the Waves’ 1-2 punch. UH middle Taylor Averill might be the nation’s best all-around volleyball player.
> The Hall of Famer: Pepperdine’s Marv Dunphy — Dr. Dunphy (he has a doctorate degree) — has led the Waves to a championship in four different decades. He has been on the coaching staff for six Olympics. He is a professor at Pepperdine. And he is a member of two volleyball Hall of Fames.
> Tense situation: They are the Waves. Plural. They’re not confusing like Heat, Thunder, Cardinal, Jazz, and so forth.