THIS WEEK: The No. 3 seed Stanford men’s volleyball team (22-8) will take on No. 6 seed Erskine (21-6) in one of two NCAA play-in matches, Tuesday, April 29. First serve between the Cardinal and Flying Fleet is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT at Gentile Arena in Chicago, Ill.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Live stats for the match can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page on GoStanford.com. A link to an online webstream by Loyola-Chicago will also be on the men’s volleyball schedule page.
SCOUTING ERSKINE: Erskine, which is in its second season of men’s volleyball, is 21-6 and won the Conference Carolinas championship with a sweep over Mount Olive on April 16. The Flying Fleet has won six in a row and 17 of its last 18 matches. Erskine is led by sophomore outside hitter Michael Michelau’s 4.19 kills and 1.79 digs per set. Rookie outside hitter Roberto Perez Vargas adds 3.72 kills on a .304 hitting percentage. Sophomore setter Corey Marks controls the offense with 11.51 assists per set. As a team, the Flying Fleet is outhitting its opponents .271 to .212.
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).
LAST TIME OUT: For the first time in 2014, Stanford was swept in a match, falling the MPSF finals at No. 1 seed BYU on April 26. The loss snapped a 13-match winning streak by the Cardinal, its longest since 1997 when it won the first NCAA championship in program history. Senior outside hitter Brian Cook continued to shine, totaling 17 kills, five digs and two blocks on a .483 hitting percentage.
IN THE POLL: Stanford remained at No. 3 in the latest AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Poll, its highest ranking since claiming the top spot on Jan. 13. The Cardinal is one of nine MPSF teams ranked in the top 15.
POSTSEASON BERTH: Stanford’s win over Cal Baptist on April 4 clinched an MPSF Tournament berth for the Cardinal. Stanford has now appeared in the postseason for seven consecutive years. Should the Cardinal advance to the NCAA semifinals, it would be its first NCAA appearance since it won the title in 2010.
20-WIN SEASONS: Stanford has reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth time under eighth-year head coach John Kosty. It marks the 11th 20-win season in program history.
AVCA ALL-AMERICANS: Headlined by two-time first team selection Brian Cook, Stanford had four players earn AVCA All-America honors this season. Senior Steven Irvin and sophomore James Shaw were second team picks, while sophomore Conrad Kaminski was tabbed honorable mention. For the first time in school history, the Cardinal has had three or more All-Americans in a season for five straight years.
OF NOTE: Stanford has had four All-Americans in the same season on five different occasions. The last two times the Cardinal has accomplished that feat it has won the NCAA title (1997 & 2010).
MPSF HONORS: Stanford had a program-record three players earn first team all-conference honors, and a total of six earned recognition overall. Brian Cook, Steven Irvin and James Shaw were the only trio from the same team to pick up first team accolades this season. Senior Eric Mochalski (2nd team), redshirt junior Grant Delgado (honorable mention) and sophomore Conrad Kaminski (2nd team) were the other Cardinal honorees.
STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The following is Stanford’s team and individual rankings among the nation’s top-25.
Hitting Percentage: .335, 3rd (Brian Cook .353, 23rd)
Kills per set: 13.63, 4th (Brian Cook 3.81, 13th)
Assists per set: 12.92, 3rd (James Shaw 10.87, 9th)
Digs per set: 9.77,6th (Grant Delgado 2.46, 11th)
Aces per set: 1.36, 9th
Blocks per set: 2.28, 18th (Conrd Kaminski 1.06, 19th)
Points per set: (Brian Cook 4.30, 17th)
SENIOR STATEMENTS: Senior outside hitters Brian Cook and Steven Irvin pace the Cardinal this season with 3.81 and 3.26 kills per set, respectively. Cook has led the Cardinal in the kill column 21 times, while Irvin is hitting a career-best .295.
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 and is at the Sand Volleyball championships this week with the Gaels.
HEAD COACH JOHN KOSTY: Stanford head coach John Kosty is in his eighth season at the helm of the Cardinal program and his 24th overall on staff. He is 143-90 in his career and guided Stanford to the 2010 NCAA national championship. The Cardinal has produced a first team AVCA All-America selection in each of the past seven seasons under Kosty.