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Stanford Concludes Impressive Campaign, 14-9
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 07/03/2001

July 3, 2001

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STANFORD WRAPS UP IMPRESSIVE 2001 SEASON: The Stanford University men's volleyball program secured a place among the nation's elite this spring ... The Cardinal, which finished the season ranked fifth in the American Volleyball Coaches Association/USA Today Coaches Poll, went 14-9 overall and finished tied for third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's Pacific Division with a 10-7 mark ... Stanford's overall and conference records were its best since it was 15-8 overall and 13-6 in the MPSF in 1998 ... In addition, Stanford achieved the nation's #1 ranking from February 6-12, which was its first stint at one since it captured the NCAA Championship in 1997 ... All totaled, Stanford was ranked among the nation's top five in 13 of a possible 15 ranking periods ... The Cardinal maintained its place among the nation's best thanks to 10 victories over nationally-ranked opposition, including a pair of wins over eventual national runner-up UCLA.

RUBEN NIEVES RESIGNS AFTER SUCCESSFUL 11-YEAR TENURE: Stanford announced on May 18 that longtime men's head volleyball coach Ruben Nieves was resigning from his post to take a position with the university's Positive Coaching Alliance ... Nieves served as the Cardinal's head coach for 11 seasons (1991-2001), and led the program to its first-ever NCAA Championship in 1997 ... The all-time winningest coach in Stanford men's volleyball history compiled a career record of 179-92 (.661), including three 20-win seasons ... In conference play, Nieves guided the Cardinal to a 131-70 (.652) mark and three Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles (1993, `94, `97) ... He also coached his players to 13 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American honors and 27 All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation honors, in addition to producing five United States National Team members and two Summer Olympians.

NIEVES SPEAKS: "My family and I are so grateful to Stanford Athletics for all the department has done for us. I wish to thank every Stanford men's volleyball player for his hard work and dedication. And I hope that my colleagues in the athletic department know how much their friendship and support means to me."

DON SHAW NAMED STANFORD MEN'S VOLLEYBALL COACH: Don Shaw, who established himself as one of the top coaches in collegiate volleyball history during his illustrious 16-year tenure as Stanford's women's volleyball head coach, was named Stanford's men's volleyball head coach on June 22 ... Shaw, who captured four NCAA Championships and eight Pacific-10 Conference Championships with the Stanford women, will work solely with the men's program ... Shaw is no stranger to the world of men's volleyball ... During his illustrious playing career, he was a member of the United States National Team and was one of the top beach players in the country ... He began his coaching career as the men's and women's assistant coach from 1980-83, and was co-head coach of both programs with Fred Sturm from 1984-86 ... Prior to the 1986-87 school year, Shaw and Sturm split up the head coaching tandem, with Sturm concentrating on the men while Shaw was named sole head coach for the women ... The rest is history, as Shaw compiled the best winning percentage in NCAA Division I women's volleyball history at .863 (440-70) ... He won 20 matches or more in 15 of his 16 seasons, and never finished lower than second in conference competition en route to a career Pac-10 mark of 229-23 (.909).

SHAW SPEAKS: "I'm proud of all we accomplished during my 20-plus years with the women's program. There are going to be a lot of things I'll miss as I leave women's volleyball. On the other hand, I'm extremely excited to have the opportunity to shift gears, return to the men's program and take on new challenges as we attempt to reach the top of men's collegiate volleyball."

HONOR ROLL: For the ninth time in the last 10 seasons, Stanford was represented on the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American Teams ... Both junior Marcus Skacel (Laguna Niguel, CA/Santa Margarita HS) and sophomore Curt Toppel (Pacific Palisades, CA/Loyola HS) were named Second Team All-Americans ... Skacel earned the first All-American honors of his career after ranking tied for 12th in the nation in dig average (1.99 pg) and 16th in kill average (4.12 pg) ... Toppel, who was also a Second Team All-American in 2000, ranked third in the nation in kills per game at 5.35 ... Here is a complete list of honors received by Stanford men's volleyball players in 2001:

Brad Griffith
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-Academic Team

Josh Lukens
Honorable Mention All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-Academic Team

Marcus Skacel
Second Team American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American
Third Team All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Week (March 14)

Curt Toppel
Second Team American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American
Second Team All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Week (January 24)

Brett Youngberg
Third Team All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-Academic Team

CONFERENCE CHATTER: Stanford finished in the top three of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's Pacific Division for the eighth time in the last 10 years by compiling a 10-7 record ... Long Beach State and Hawai'i tied for the division title at 12-5, while the Cardinal and USC tied for third at 10-7 ... Stanford was 5-3 on the road and 5-4 at home in conference play ... The Cardinal also went 8-4 against the Mountain Division and 2-3 against the Pacific Division.

MPSF PLAYOFFS: Stanford received the sixth seed in the eight-team MPSF Playoffs to set up a date against defending NCAA Champion UCLA at Pauley Pavilion on April 21 ... The Cardinal, who had defeated the Bruins in both of their previous 2001 meetings (3-2 @ UCLA, 3-0 @ Stanford), again gave UCLA all it could handle ... Stanford had two match points in the fifth and deciding game before falling 27-30, 30-23, 30-22, 27-30, 20-18 to conclude the 2001 season with a 14-9 mark ... Stanford senior middle blocker Brett Youngberg (Surrey, B.C., Canada/Elgin Park Secondary) turned in a dominating performance, with 21 kills and a .741 hitting percentage (21 k-1 e-27 ta) ... Sophomore Curt Toppel added 19 kills, seven digs, four blocks and two service aces, while junior Marcus Skacel had 15 kills and a match-high 12 digs ... The Bruins, who went on to advance to the NCAA Championship Match, received 26 kills apiece from Cameron Mount and Mark Williams.

THE RANKINGS: The Cardinal finished the 2001 season ranked fifth in the American Volleyball Coaches Association/USA Today Top 15 Coaches Poll ... The Cardinal was ranked anywhere from #1-#8 in the AVCA/USA Today Poll during the course of the season, and spent 12 weeks in the top five ... In the 15 weeks of the AVCA Poll, the Cardinal was ranked first once (Feb. 6), second once (Jan. 30), fourth five times (Jan. 23, Feb. 13-20, March 20-27), tied for fourth once (March 13), fifth five times (Feb. 27, April 3-final poll), seventh once (March 6) and eighth once (Jan. 16) ... The Cardinal's #1 ranking on Feb. 6 was its first since the 1997 team claimed the NCAA Championship.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Another match, another ranked opponent ... As was the story of Stanford's 2001 campaign, as it played 19 of its 23 matches (.826 percent), and each of the last eight, against teams ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association/USA Today Top 15 Coaches Poll ... Stanford was 10-9 (.526) in those match-ups, including four wins over teams ranked in the top three at the time of the match (#1 Pepperdine, #2 UCLA, #2 UC Santa Barbara, #3 UCLA) ... The Cardinal was 4-5 against teams ranked Nos. 1-5 at the time of the match, 1-4 against squads ranked Nos. 6-10, and 5-0 against teams ranked Nos. 11-15.

BRING OUT THE BROOMS: Stanford preferred to keep things brief this season ... The Cardinal posted nine three-game sweeps during the 2001 regular season, compared to just five a year ago ... More impressively, five of those nine sweeps came against nationally-ranked opposition ... The Cardinal blanked #2 UCLA, #12 Pacific, #13 UC Santa Barbara and #14 Cal State Northridge twice ... Overall, 14 of Stanford's 23 matches (.609) have been decided in three games (9-5, .643) ... The Cardinal was also 3-2 (.600) in four game matches and 2-2 (.500) in contests that have gone the distance ... Stanford finished with a 48-34 (.585) game record this season - 15-8 (.652) in game one, 13-10 (.565) in both games two and three, 5-4 (.556) in game four and 2-2 (.500) in game five.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING (NATIONAL): Stanford had five different players finish among the nation's statistical leaders at the end of the season, including three in the top five ... Sophomore opposite Curt Toppel was third in the nation in kills per game at 5.35, after leading the nation last year with an AVCA and Stanford record 8.65 kills per game ... Senior middle blocker Brett Youngberg, who was 17th in the nation in hitting percentage as of March 22, jumped all the way to fourth in the final month of the season at .480 ... Senior setter Josh Lukens (San Diego, CA/Mt. Carmel HS), who led the nation in assists per game in 2000 (20.07 pg), ranked fifth in that category in 2001 with 13.38 ... In addition, junior Marcus Skacel tied for 12th in dig average (1.99 pg) and was 16th in kill average (4.12 pg), while sophomore Seth Ring (Bend, OR/Redmond HS) was 20th in dig average (1.87 pg).

SENIOR SALUTE: The 2001 season was the last for a pair of graduating seniors who were among the nation's best at their respective positions - Josh Lukens and Brett Youngberg ... As a junior in 2000, Lukens led the nation, and set a new Stanford single season assist per game record, with a 20.07 average ... Lukens, who was an Honorable Mention All-MPSF and All-Academic MPSF selection this spring, ranks third on both Stanford's career (4,654) and single season (1,646, 2000) assist lists ... Youngberg enjoyed the best season of his career in 2001 ... He ranked fourth in the nation in hitting percentage (.480), while in MPSF play, he ranked second in the conference in hitting percentage (.483) and tied for eighth in blocking average (1.21 pg) ... He was also named to the All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Third Team and was named to the MPSF All-Academic Team.


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