April 11, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 8 Stanford men’s volleyball team completes its home season and the regular season with matches on Friday against No. 5 Cal Baptist and Saturday against No. 1 BYU, each at 7 p.m. at Maples Pavilion. Stanford will honor its lone senior, Jake Kneller, before the Saturday match. Stanford (14-11 overall) has clinched a berth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament, which determines the conference’s automatic NCAA tournament berth. The Cardinal holds the No. 6 seed, but could finish anywhere from the fifth seed to the seventh.
Follow the Action
• Free streaming video will be available for both matches. Look for the “Watch” links on gostanford.com.
• Live stats are available on the Gametracker links on gostanford.com.
• Admission is free to Stanford men’s volleyball home matches.
Week in Review
Stanford went 2-1 last week to complete a stretch of five matches in nine days. Stanford went 2-3 during that stretch and has gone 2-5 since March 3. Three-set victories at Pacific on Tuesday and at UC San Diego on Saturday have helped keep up the optimism as the team heads into the postseason.
In each victory, setter James Shaw led a balanced attack that included three players in double-figure kills, led by Brian Ccook’s 13 against Pacific and Steven Irvin’s 12 against UCSD. Middle blocker Eric Mochalski combined for 20 kills in three matches for a .429 hitting percentage. The Pacific victory ended a four-match losing streak for Stanford, it’s longest since 2007.
Stanford and the MPSF Tournament
Stanford clinched one of the eight spots in the MPSF tournament by beating Pacific on Tuesday, but lost any chance of playing host to a first-round match by losing to UC Irvine on Friday. Though Stanford is seventh in the 13-team MPSF, it holds the No. 6 seed because fifth-place Cal Baptist is in its first season in the conference and therefore is ineligible for the tournament.
If the seedings hold, Stanford would play at No. 3 seed Long Beach State. The first round is Saturday at 7 p.m. The Cardinal can finish as high as the No. 5 seed if it wins its final two matches and Pepperdine (12-11) loses Friday at UC Santa Barbara. Pepperdine holds the tiebreaker over Stanford if they finish in a tie.
Stanford remained at the No. 8 spot in the AVCA rankings, having arrived in that spot on April 1. Stanford’s highest AVCA ranking was No. 2 on Jan. 14. In the Volleyball Magazine rankings, the Cardinal is No. 9, remaining in the same spot as last week.
Jake Kneller will be honored before Saturday’s match on Senior Night. Kneller is the only senior on the roster and the match will be the last at home in his career. Kneller arrived from Westlake High School in Westlake Village, Calif., as a hard hitter, but first made his mark as a serving specialist as a freshman on Stanford’s 2010 NCAA championship team. Kneller has since developed into a starter at outside hitter and a true team leader. Stanford is 79-44 during his four seasons, for a .642 winning percentage. Kneller is the last link to the 2010 national title.
Friday’s Opponent, Cal Baptist
Cal Baptist (16-12, 12-10) is in fifth place in the MPSF and would have clinched a berth in the conference tournament if the Lancers were eligible. But Cal Baptist is not eligible to participate because it is in its first season in the MPSF. The Lancers are ranked No. 5 in the AVCA poll, cracking the Top 5 this week for the first time in school history. The Lancers are No. 7 by Volleyball Magazine.
The Lancers could finish anywhere from fifth to seventh. They have won eight of their past nine, including a four-set road victory at No. 3-ranked UCLA on Thursday. Brazilian outside hitter Levi Cabral is the reigning MPSF Player of the Week after serving eight aces in victories over UC Santa Barbara and UCLA, and breaking the school career record.
The Cal Baptist Series
• Stanford and Cal Baptist are tied in the all-time series 2-2.
• Cal Baptist is 2-1 at Stanford, but this is their first meeting at Maples Pavilion.
• Stanford won their most recent meeting, rallying in its first appearance in Riverside, 21-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-21, on Feb. 25.
• Steven Irvin tied a school record with six service aces in the match, matching a feat done by six others, most recently by Brad Griffith in 1999.
• Denny Falls and Eric Mochalski combined for 17 kills and a .680 hitting percentage.
Stanford-Cal Baptist Connections
• Stanford freshman outside hitter Madison Hayden was a teammate of Cal Baptist sophomore setter Kevin Kustura at Servite High School in Anaheim for two seasons.
Saturday’s Opponent, BYU
The Cougars are ranked No. 1 by the AVCA and Volleyball Magazine and have clinched the No. 1 seed and the regular season title. It marked their first MPSF regular-season or tournament title since sharing the regular-season crown with Long Beach State in 2008. BYU will play host to the No. 8 seed on Saturday, April 20, in the first round. If the Cougars win, they will play host to the MPSF tournament semifinals and final. BYU has had to play 10 of its final 16 matches on the road and is 12-2 so far, including a 12-match winning streak that ended at UCLA in a three-set loss on Saturday. BYU clinched the No. 1 seed on March 30, marking the earliest the No. 1 seed has ever been decided during the rally-scoring era.
The Stanford-BYU Series
• Then-No. 2 BYU won their most recent meeting, on Feb. 23 in Provo, 23-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-21, 15-13.
• The result broke Stanford’s six-match winning streak in the series.
• During that streak, BYU was ranked (in chronological order) No. 5, No. 2, No. 2, No. 1, No. 1, and No. 4.
• Stanford’s highest ranking in those meetings was No. 3.
• The last time Stanford beat BYU when the Cougars were No. 1 was a two-match sweep in Provo on Feb. 3-4, 2012.
• Stanford redshirt sophomore libero Scott Sakaida was teammates with BYU sophomore libero Jaylen Reyes on the 2010 Honolulu-based Outrigger Canoe Club team that placed second in the open division of the USA Volleyball boys junior national championships in Austin, Texas. The team was coached by Jaylen’s father, Tino Reyes.
• Stanford associate head coach Ken Shibuya coached BYU freshman opposite Ben Patch on the 2011 USA Youth National Team that finished 11th at the FIVB Boys’ Youth World Championship in Argentina. Stanford freshman setter James Shaw also played on that team. Shibuya was the head coach.
• Stanford juniors Brian Cook, Eric Mochalski, and Steven Irvin were teammates with BYU junior outside hitter Taylor Sander on the USA team that finished fourth at the 2011 FIVB Junior World Championships in Brazil. The team was managed by former BYU coach Shawn Patchell and earned the highest finish ever for a U.S. team in that event. In 2010, Cook, Mochalski, and Sander played for the winning U.S. team at the NORCECA Junior Continental Championship in Quebec, Canada.
Vs. No. 1
• The last time Stanford played a No. 1 team was on Feb. 8 against UC Irvine at Burnham Pavilion. 25-18, 25-18, 20-25, 25-23.
• Stanford had won its previous two matches against a No. 1 team, Feb. 3-4, 2012, at BYU.
• Before that, Stanford had lost its previous 10 against top-ranked teams, dating back to 2003.
Records in Certain Situations
• Record in three-set matches: 5-6
• Record in four-set matches: 5-2
• Record in five-set matches: 4-3
• Record at home: 9-3
• Record on the road: 5-8
• Record when winning the first set: 11-2
• Record when losing the first set: 3-9
• Record when winning the first two sets: 6-0
• Record when losing the first two sets: 0-8
• Record when splitting the first two sets: 8-3
• Record in three-set matches at home: 3-1
• Record in four-set matches at home: 3-1
• Record in five-set matches at home: 3-1
• 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
In the Pros
Five 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, tying with Halkbank, but winning on a tiebreaker.
• 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 clinched its semifinal best-of-five playoff series against TV Ingersoll Buhl on Wednesday by sweeping the series and awaits their championship opponent.
• 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.
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).