April 19, 2013
LONG BEACH, Calif. - For the first time since 2008, Stanford will not play at home during the postseason. The No. 6-ranked Cardinal (15-12) landed the No. 6 seed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament and plays at No. 3 seed Long Beach State (22-7), ranked No. 2, in the first round on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Walter The winner of the eight-team MPSF event earns an automatic berth into the four-team NCAA tournament. That appears to be the Cardinal’s only path, with the NCAA’s lone at-large bid seemingly out of reach.
Follow the Action
• There will be no streaming video, but there will be audio and live stats available. Look for the “Listen” and “Live Stats” links on the men’s volleyball schedule page on gostanford.com.
MPSF Playoff Schedule
Here is the playoff field for the MPSF tournament:
Quarterfinals at Campus Sites
Match 1: No. 8 Hawai’i (10-14) at No. 1 BYU (22-4), 6 p.m. PT
Match 2: No. 5 Pepperdine (14-11) at No. 4 UCLA (20-10), 7 p.m. PT
Match 3: No. 6 Stanford (15-12) at No. 3 Long Beach State (22-7), 7 p.m. PT
Match 4: No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (15-15) at No. 2 UC Irvine (22-6), 7 p.m. PT
Thursday, April 25
Semifinals at Highest Seed
Match 5: Winners of Match 1 and 2
Match 6: Winners of Match 3 and 4
Saturday, April 27
Championship at Semifinal Site
Match 7: Semifinal Winners of Match 5 and 6
Stanford’s Playoff History
Stanford has won two national championships, in 1997 and 2010, and has reached the NCAA final four times. In 20 years of the MPSF tournament, Stanford has won twice and reached three finals, including last season when the Cardinal lost to eventual champion UC Irvine in five sets. Stanford has advanced to the eight-team MPSF tournament for the sixth consecutive season, but is playing on the road in the first round for the first time since 2008.
Three Stanford players received All-MPSF recognition:
First Team: Brian Cook, jr., opposite hitter
Second Team: Steven Irvin, jr., outside hitter
Honorable Mention and All-Freshman Team: James Shaw, fr., setter
Week in Review
Stanford completed the regular season by splitting a weekend homestand against California Baptist and No. 1 BYU. The Cardinal finished with a 12-12 MPSF record and a sixth-place tie with Cal Baptist in the 13-team conference. Against Cal Baptist on Saturday, Stanford trailed 7-4 in the final set before Jake Kneller served five consecutive points as the Cardinal took control to win the decisive set 15-10. In the regular-season and season home finale on Saturday, Stanford got 15 kills from Steven Irvin, who had 22 digs over the weekend, but was swept by BYU. Stanford challenged in the first set, holding set point three times, but was unable to maintain the pace in a 30-28, 25-18, 25-21 loss.
Saturday’s Opponent, Long Beach State
The 49ers (22-7) finished third in the MPSF and are playing host to a first round conference tournament match for the first time since 2006, though they drew a bye as the No. 1 seed in 2008. Long Beach enters the tournament matching UC Irvine as the hottest teams in the conference, with a five-match winning streak. The 49ers haven’t lost to a team ranked outside the Top Five since Jan. 9 and haven’t lost to a Top Five team at home all season. Taylor Crabb ranks third in the MPSF with 4.15 kills per set, and is statistically the top non-middle hitter in the MPSF with a .353 clip. Taylor Gregory ranks second with a 1.42 block average.
The Stanford-Long Beach State Series
• Long Beach won both matches this season, winning at home on Feb. 16 in a 25-20, 25-18, 25-11 rout, and beating the Cardinal at Maples Pavilion on March 30, 25-10, 25-23, 18-25, 21-25, 15-6.
• The 49ers own a 43-28 all-time series lead.
• Long Beach has won both postseason matches between the two, both in first-round MPSF tournament action, in 1993 and 2011.
• Stanford has lost its past three matches at Long Beach State, by a combined set count of 9-2.
• Stanford’s most recent victory in the Walter Pyramid was March 27, 2010, when Brad Lawson and Evan Romero had 18 kills apiece and Stanford moved into first.
• Stanford libero Scott Sakaida went to Punahou School in Honolulu with 49er outside hitters Trevor and Taylor Crabb.
• Stanford junior middle Eric Mochalski went to Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach, Calif., with Long Beach junior opposite Ian Satterfield.
Records in Certain Situations
• Record in three-set matches: 5-7
• Record in four-set matches: 5-2
• Record in five-set matches: 5-3
• Record at home: 10-4
• Record on the road: 5-8
• Record when winning the first set: 12-2
• Record when losing the first set: 3-10
• Record when winning the first two sets: 6-0
• Record when losing the first two sets: 0-9
• Record when splitting the first two sets: 9-3
• Record in three-set matches at home: 3-2
• Record in four-set matches at home: 3-1
• Record in five-set matches at home: 4-1
• Record in three-set matches on the road: 2-6
• Record in four-set matches on the road: 2-1
• Record in five-set matches on the road: 1-2
The lone senior on the Stanford team is 6-foot-4 outside hitter Jake Kneller, who becomes the last link to the Cardinal’s 2010 NCAA Championship team. Kneller has started 16 matches this season. He first established himself as a serving specialist on the 2010 NCAA title team and has a 80-45 record over his career. Jake has played in 107 matches and 366 sets, and totaled 99 kills, 140 digs, and 38 service aces. Graduating in June with a degree in science, technology, and society, Kneller begins his career at Makena Capital Management in Palo Alto on July 15.
Freshman Starts at Setter
True freshman James Shaw, who grew up in nearby Woodside, Calif., is the son of Stanford volleyball coaching great Don Shaw. Don 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 Coaching Hall of Fame and coached Kerri Walsh, Kim Oden, and Logan Tom at Stanford.
Here is how Stanford stands among the leaders in the MPSF statistical rankings.
Opponent Hitting Percentage: 5th, .256.
Kills: Brian Cook, 4th, 3.99 per set
Points: Brian Cook, 5th, 4.55 per set
Steven Irvin, 13th, 3.73 per set
Hitting Percentage: Denny Falls, 5th, .452
Eric Mochalski, 12th, .379
Assists: James Shaw, 6th, 10.44 per set
Digs: Steven Irvin, 13th, 1.74 per set
Blocks: Denny Falls, 13th, 1.00 per set
Service Aces: Steven Irvin, 14th, 0.25
In the Pros
Six former Stanford All-Americans are playing professionally in Europe:
• Kevin Hansen ‘05 is a setter for Arkas Spor Izmir of Turkey, which advanced to the European Champions League Playoffs 6, but was eliminated by Poland’s Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle on Feb. 12 in the return leg of a two-match playoff. Arkas won the regular-season title in Turkey’s Erkekler 1 by sweeping last-place Yenisehir on Saturday to finish with an 18-4 record, and has advanced to the best-of-three championship round against Halk Bankasi. The series begins Sunday in Izmir.
• Kawika Shoji ‘10 is a setter for the Berlin Recycling Volleys of Germany, who won the Bundesliga regular-season title with a 19-1 record. The team has advanced to the best-of-three championship round against Friedrichshaefen. The series begins Sunday in Berlin.
• Erik Shoji ‘12, at libero, and Brad Lawson ‘12, at outside hitter, play for CV Mitteldeutschland of Merseburg, Germany. The Pirates finished seventh at 9-11 and lost a home-and-away pre-playoff round against 10th place VC Dresden.
• Evan Barry ‘12 is a setter for Sweden’s Orkelljunga Volleybollklubb. Orkelljunga finished fourth of 10 teams in the Elitserien at 14-4, but lost in the quarterfinal playoff round.
• Spencer McLachlin ‘11 is an outside hitter for Mas Niki Aiginio of Greece. The club is playing in a three-team home-and-away relegation round, but is 3-0 and appears out of danger of dropping out of the A1 division.
Stanford has been a varsity program since 1976 and has won two NCAA championships (1997, 2010), reached four NCAA finals, and won eight conference championships. Stanford has had two AVCA players of the year, both setters -- Canyon Ceman in 1993 and Kawika Shoji in 2010. Libero Erik Shoji graduated in 2012 as the first four-time first-team All-America selection since the AVCA began selecting All-America teams. Other greats who have played for Stanford were Olympic team gold medalists Scott Fortune and Jon Root (1988 in Seoul), and Kevin Hansen and Gabe Gardner (2008 in Beijing).
Mike Lambert and Matt Fuerbringer were the catalysts on the 1997 NCAA title team. The Shoji brothers and Lawson starred on the 2010 title-winning side, with Lawson hitting .821 with 24 kills in 28 attacks in the final against Penn State at Maples. Ceman, Fortune, Lambert, Root, and Dan Hanan are members of the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame.
Winningest Senior Classes
With Stanford’s victory over Cal Baptist on Saturday, the Cardinal class of 2013, consisting of only Jake Kneller, became the fifth in program history to reach the 80-victory pleateau.
Here are the top three Stanford volleyball classes, by number of victories:
Class of 2012: 86-33 (.723), top seniors: Evan Barry, Gus Ellis, Brad Lawson, Erik Shoji.
Class of 2011: 81-36 (.692), top senior: Spencer McLachlin.
Class of 1995: 80-26 (.755), only senior, Brian Garrett.
Class of 1997: 80-28 (.741), top four-year seniors: Matt Fuerbringer, Stewart Chong.
Class of 2013: 80-45 (.640), only senior, Jake Kneller.