SATURDAY: The third-seeded Stanford men’s volleyball team (24-8) will play at No. 1 seed Loyola-Chicago (28-1), Saturday, May 3 for the 2014 NCAA Division I-II Men’s national championship. First serve between the Cardinal and Ramblers is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT from 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. ESPNU will be broadcasting the match live.
SCOUTING LOYOLA-CHICAGO: Top-seeded Loyola-Chicago, which is on a 26-match winning streak, is 28-1 on the year (its lone loss came against USC on Jan. 4). The Ramblers picked up its first NCAA tournament win on Thursday with a five-set victory over No. 5 seed Penn State. Loyola is led by sophomore outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and redshirt senior opposite Joseph Smalzer. Jaeschke averages a team-best 3.77 kills and 2.16 digs per set, while Smalzer adds 3.09 kills, 1.36 digs and a nation-best 0.66 aces per set. Sophomore middle blocker Nicholas Olson is hitting .529 and collecting 1.11 blocks per set. Sophomore setter Peter Hutz directs the offense with 11.40 assists per set.
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 improved to 5-0 in NCAA semifinal matches with a thrilling five-set come-from-behind win over No. 2 seed BYU on Thursday. The Cardinal, which had lost its previous three meetings against the Cougars this season, posted a season-best 69 kills in the match. Seniors Brian Cook, Steven Irvin and Eric Mochalski combined for 61.5 of Stanford’s 88.5 points in the match.
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: .336, 2nd (Brian Cook .355, 22nd)
Kills per set: 13.60, 3rd (Brian Cook 3.81, 13th)
Assists per set: 12.91, 3rd (James Shaw 10.90, 9th)
Digs per set: 9.89, 5th (Grant Delgado 2.56, 7th)
Aces per set: 1.35, 10th
Blocks per set: 2.34, 17th (Conrad Kaminski 1.06, 19th)
Points per set: (Brian Cook 4.29, 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 23 times, while Irvin is hitting a career-best .294.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: 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 weekend with the Gaels.
MORE FAMILY TIES: Senior Brian Cook’s older sister, Karissa, was a setter for the Stanford women’s volleyball team from 2009-12, and is now playing sand volleyb all at Hawai’i. She is also at the AVCA championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. Senior Steven Irvin’s father, Chris, won three national titles at UCLA (‘74, ‘75, ‘76). Senior Eric Mochalski’s father, David, transferred from Ball State to UCLA in 1982, capturing the NCAA title with a 29-0 record.
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 145-90 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.