Jan. 3, 2008
Stanford Men's Volleyball will open its 2008 season, once again, in the UCSB/Elephant Bar Classic, with a first round match against the Cal State Northridge Matadors, ranked seventh in the country. The match will begin at 1:00 PM on Friday, Jan. 4 at the Thunderdome on the campus of UCSB. The tournament once again boasts a strong field of opponents, with six teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Poll.
These teams include #5 UC Irvine, #7 CSU Northridge, #8 USC, #10 Long Beach State, and #14 UCSB, along with Stanford. The University of Alberta also comes into the tournament as the best team in Canada. The Cardinal has experience against Alberta as they broke Alberta's 24-game MPSF winning streak with a thrilling 3-2 victory at the Dino Cup in October. Stanford also defeated University of the Pacific in the Dino Cup, the eight seed in the Elephant Bar Classic.
The Cardinal will only return only one senior for the second straight season and will rely on the experience that many of the younger players received last year, combined with the solid recruiting class brought in this season.
Head Coach John Kosty begins his second year at the helm after taking over for Don Shaw, who left the program after a 26-year tenure at Stanford. Kosty spent 16 years as an associate head coach at Stanford before taking over the program in 2007. Assistant Coach Ken Shibuya is also in his second season after coming to The Farm from Juanita College.
Matt Ceran is the sole senior on the team as Jesse Meredith received a medical redshirt last season and will return to the squad as a redshirt junior. Ceran, a Los Angeles, Calif. native, recorded 340 kills last season and will be counted on to continue his presence on the court as both a strong hitter and blocker up the middle. He will look to improve on his breakout season in 2007 and produce another strong year in 2008.
The five man junior class includes Miki Groppi
, who finished second on the team last season with 458 assists. Groppi, the first Italian player to participate in Division I men's volleyball, will be counted on for leadership and to continue putting up his strong assist numbers. Jarod Keller
comes in as the most experienced libero on the team and Cameron Christoffers
will provide much needed blocking depth on the front line. Brandon Williams
returns after leading the team in blocks last season. He also produced a hitting percentage of .333, the second highest on the team. After starting last year strong and finishing with a .297 hitting percentage, Jesse Meredith
will look to rebound from his season-ending injury in 2007.
The sophomore class returns after producing immediate dividends in their freshman year and expect to continue improving in 2007. Highly touted Kawika Shoji led the team with 634 assists en route to being named All-MPSF Honorable Mention in his rookie campaign. Evan Romero led the team in kills with 371 recorded, and finished third on the team with 18 service aces. Garrett Werner finished second on the team in blocks with 72 and will be looked upon to provide continued production in the front line. Jason Palacios and Ed Howell will continue to improve and provide depth in the opposite and outside hitter positions.
Kosty welcomes a six-man recruiting class that hopes to continue the previous freshman class experience by providing an immediate impact on the court.
Jordan Inafuku should provide help at the libero position and Max Halvorson expects to provide depth at the middle blocker position. Both players are from Honolulu, HI, as is Spencer McLachlin, who should provide production at outside hitter. Ian Connolly, out of Newport Beach, Calif., will provide immediate help at outside hitter and Charley Henrikson, from Lafayette, Calif., will help at the middle blocker position.
The Cardinal will play a second game on Friday, January 4th at 7:00 p.m., which will be determined by the outcome of the first match.
Stanford's home opener will be Jan. 15 against UC Santa Cruz at Burnham Pavilion.
Stay tuned to www.gostanford.com for details on the tournament.