THIS WEEK: In the fourth meeting between the two squads, the No. 3 seed Stanford men’s volleyball team (23-8) will take on No. 2 seed BYU (21-8) in the first NCAA semifinal match on Thursday, May 1. First serve between the Cardinal and Cougars 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. NCAA.com will also be live streaming the match.
SCOUTING BYU: Thursday marks the fourth meeting of the season between BYU (21-8) and Stanford. The Cougars have won all three matches this season and five in a row against the Cardinal. BYU is led by AVCA and two-time MPSF Player of the Year Taylor Sander. He averages 4.55 kills, 1.56 digs and 0.49 aces per set while hitting .336.
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 earned its Final Four spot with a 3-0 sweep over No. 6 seed Erskine. The Cardinal, which hit .423, held the Flying Fleet to a .043 clip, the second-lowest by an opponent this season. Senior Brian Cook led the team with 12 kills on a .526 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.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Head coach John Kosty was named the MPSF Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Stanford overcame a rocky 6-7 start to the season by going on a conference-best 13-match winning streak to reach the finals of the MPSF tournament. During that stretch, Stanford defeated nine top-10 teams, including six which were ranked in the top 6.
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. It marks the first NCAA appearance for the Cardinal since 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).
ELITE 89 AWARD: Stanford junior Matt Aiello was the recipient of the NCAA’s Elite 89 Award, given to the student-athlete at the championship site with the highest GPA. Aiello, who studied at Oxford in the fall of 2013, is an English major with a 3.87 GPA.
STATISTICAL RANKINGS: The following is Stanford’s team and individual rankings among the nation’s top-25.
Hitting Percentage: .337, 2nd (Brian Cook .356, 22nd)
Kills per set: 13.59, 4th (Brian Cook 3.81, 13th)
Assists per set: 12.89, 3rd (James Shaw 10.86, 9th)
Digs per set: 9.84, 5th (Grant Delgado 2.50, 9th)
Aces per set: 1.34, 10th
Blocks per set: 2.33, 17th (Conrd Kaminski 1.08, 18th)
Points per set: (Brian Cook 4.30, 16th)
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 144-90 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.