THIS WEEK: The No. 10 Stanford men’s volleyball team (10-7, 7-7 MPSF) continues MPSF play on the road at No. 4 Pepperdine (9-4, 9-4 MPSF) on Friday, March 7 at 7 p.m. and at No. 6 USC (10-6, 9-6 MPSF) on Sunday, March 9 at 5 p.m. PT.
SCOUTING PEPPERDINE: Pepperdine is 9-4 in the MPSF, currently a half a game back behind Long Beach State for second place in the conference. The Waves are coached by Marv Dunphy who is in his 31st season at the helm of the program. Pepperdine is second in the MPSF in blocks (2.94) and fifth in hitting percentage (.292). The Waves are led by a trio of juniors this season. Outside hitter Josh Taylor is third in the MPSF in kills per set (4.20) and points per set (4.80). Opposite/middle blocker Parker Kalmbach is sixth in the conference with 4.55 points per set, while ranking eighth in kills (3.86) and 10th in blocks (1.12). Setter Matt West controls the offense with 11.22 assists per set and is eighth in the MPSF with 2.22 digs per set.
SCOUTING USC: The Trojans are 10-6 on the season and 9-6 in the MPSF heading into this weekend’s matches. USC leads the conference in kills (14.15) and assists (13.35) and ranks second in opponent hitting percentage (.235). The Trojans have a mix of veteran leaders and talented freshmen who are contributing to the squad this season. Senior libero Henry Cassiday leads the nation with 2.95 digs per set, while freshman middle blocker Andy Benesh paces the MPSF with a .507 hitting percentage. Junior setter Micah Christenson is second in the conference with 11.75 assists per set and fourth with 2.46 digs per set. Freshman outside hitter Lucas Yoder leads USC’s offense with 3.87 kills per set, ranking sixth in the league.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Live stats for the matches can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page on GoStanford.com. Sunday’s match at USC will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.
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: Stanford split its matches last weekend, falling in four sets at then-No. 5 Long Beach State before sweeping Cal State Northridge on the road. Senior outside hitter Brian Cook averaged 5.57 kills and 2.29 digs per set in the two matches to lead the Cardinal.
IN THE POLL: Stanford moved slipped to No. 10 in the latest AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Poll after splitting its road matches at then-No. 5 Long Beach State (1-3) and Cal State Northridge (3-0) last week. The Cardinal is one of nine MPSF teams ranked in the top 15 with all nine appearing in the top 10.
STATISTICAL RANKINGS: As a team, Stanford ranks among the top-10 in the nation in hitting percentage (.321 - 4th), kills per set (13.51 - 5th), digs per set (9.92 - 3rd), aces per set (1.48 - 5th) and assists per set (12.75 - 3rd). Individually, setter James Shaw is ninth nationally with 10.78 assists per set. Senior Steven Irvin comes in at No. 11 with 0.40 aces per set, while redshirt junior Daniel Tublin is 16th with 0.36 aces per set. Redshirt junior Grant Delgado is eighth with 2.50 digs per set, while senior Brian Cook is 19th with 3.57 kills per set.
SENIOR STATEMENTS: Senior outside hitters Brian Cook and Steven Irvin pace the Cardinal this season with 3.57 and 3.42 kills per set, respectively. Cook while Irvin has led the team in kills in five matches and is hitting above .300 for the first time in his career.
BLOCK PARTY: Stanford’s 21.5 blocks against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 21 set a rally-scoring era school record. The Cardinal had five players register at least five blocks, and three that tallied at least seven. Sophomore middle Conrad Kaminski led the way with eight, while sophomore setter James Shaw finished with seven, including three solo. Stanford’s solid defense at the net forced the Gauchos into a .011 attack percentage for the match, the second-lowest by an opponent in program history.
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 131-89 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 six seasons under Kosty.