THIS WEEK: The top-ranked Stanford men’s volleyball team (3-0, 0-0 MPSF) will hit the road to open MPSF play at No. 6 UCLA (3-1, 0-0 MPSF) on Friday, Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. PT in Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. The Cardinal will also take on No. 11 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. PT in Rob Gym in Santa Barbara, Calif.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Friday’s match will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. It marks the first of seven Stanford matches to be aired on the networks this season. Live stats for both matches can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page on GoStanford.com.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Fans will have access to unique behind-the-scenes content on the team this season by liking Stanford Men’s Volleyball on Facebook or following the team on Twitter (@StanfordMVB) and Instagram (@therealstanfordmvb).
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS: The Cardinal boasts three returning All-Americans on its roster this seaosn. Senior outside hitter Brian Cook earned AVCA First Team All-America honors as a junior, averaging a team-best 4.01 kills per set. Senior outside hitter Steven Irvin nabbed second team honors from the AVCA in 2013, while sophomore setter James Shaw was a third team pick by Volleyball Magazine as a rookie.
LAST WEEK: Stanford went 2-0 at home last week, defeating then-No. 8 Lewis (25-16, 21-25, 25-19, 25-23) and sweeping Grand Canyon (25-20, 25-17, 25-18). Senior outside hitter Steven Irvin led the Cardinal with 4.14 kills per set and 1.43 digs per set on the week, while redshirt junior opposite Daniel Tublin added 3.00 kills per set on a .350 hitting percentage. Sophomore setter James Shaw controlled the offense with 10.57 assists per set and added 1.29 kills per set.
IN THE POLL: Stanford jumped three spots in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Poll to No. 1 this week. It marks the first time the Cardinal has stood atop the national poll since February 20, 2012. The Cardinal is one of nine MPSF teams ranked in the poll with eight in the top 10.
SCOUTING UCLA: Stanford and UCLA will meet for a second time this season on Friday. The Cardinal defeated the then-second ranked Bruins, 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-22, in its season opener at the 50th ASICS UCSB Tournament in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Bruins have since reeled off three straight wins and are led by senior Robart Page’s 3.62 kills per set. Sophomore setter Steve O’Dell averages 10.69 assists per set, while senior Gonzalo Quiroga adds 3.06 kills per set.
SCOUTING UC SANTA BARBARA: The Gauchos have opened the season with a sweep over UC San Diego at the 50th ASICS UCSB Tournament on Jan. 4. Redshirt senior outside hitter Matt Hanley led the team with 10 kills, while setter Jonah Seif racked up 30 assists. UCSB forced UCSD to hit negative .013 in the match. Stanford split the season series against the Gauchos in 2013 as both teams posted sweeps on its home courts.
SENIOR STATEMENT: Senior outside hitter Steven Irvin paces the Cardinal this season with 3.91 kills per set on a .349 attack percentage. He’s led the team in kills in the past two outings and is hitting above .300 for the first time in his career.
FAMILY TIES: Sophomore setter James Shaw has volleyball in his genes. He is the son of former Stanford volleyball coaching great Don Shaw. His father coached the Stanford women’s team to four NCAA titles in 16 seasons (440-70, .863) and was the Cardinal men’s head coach for seven seasons. He is a member of the AVCA Hall of Fame. Shaw’s sister, Jordan, just completed her senior season for the Saint Mary’s women’s volleyball team.