Jan. 10, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 3 Stanford (2-0) plays host to No. 15 Pacific (1-0) in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men’s volleyball opener on Saturday, completing a home weekend that begins Friday with a nonconference match against UC Santa Cruz (0-2), ranked No. 4 in NCAA Division III. Both are 7 p.m. matches at Burnham Pavilion. Stanford is coming off a pair of victories, over Grand Canyon and then-No. 14 George Mason, to open the season.
Follow the Action
• Both matches can be heard online on KZSU-2 with Alec Winograd on the call
• For live stats, look for the Gametracker links on gostanford.com.
• Stanford has won its past four Mountain Pacific Sports Federation openers, including last year’s sweep over Pacific at Maples Pavilion. Stanford’s last conference-opening loss came at UCLA in 2008.
• Stanford has won its past five MPSF home openers. Its most recent loss was to Cal State Northridge in 2007.
• Stanford has won its past three home conference openers played at Burnham Pavilion. Stanford’s most recent MPSF home opener at Burnham was in 2006, with a sweep of UC San Diego. It was the last of four consecutive Burnham openers, from 2003-07. Stanford’s last loss in such matches was in 2003 to BYU in five.
The Burnham Advantage?: Stanford has an eight-match winning streak at home, and a four-match winning streak at Burnham Pavilion, dating back to 2011. However, Stanford’s homecourt advantage doesn’t necessarily apply to Burnham, the Cardinal’s homecourt when Maples Pavilion is unavailable. Since 2008, Stanford is 48-11 (.814) at Maples Pavilion, but only 12-8 (.600) at Burnham Pavilion. Stanford’s winning percentage is even lower at Burnham than it is on the road (45-25, .643) in that same span.
2012 In Review : Stanford had its best non-championship season since 1994 by going 22-7 overall and reaching the MPSF tournament final. The Cardinal’s 17-5 conference record was its best since 1997 and good enough for a second-place tie. The Cardinal led the nation in kills per set (14.04) and ended the season with a No. 3 ranking.
Three Stanford players earned All-America honors, including libero Erik Shoji, who became the first player since the AVCA began selecting All-America teams to earn four first-team selections. Outside hitter Brad Lawson earned his third first-team All-America honor and setter Evan Barry was a third-team choice.
Friday’s Opponent, UC Santa Cruz: The Banana Slugs (0-2) are ranked No. 4 in the AVCA Division III preseason coaches’ poll, after finishing at No. 3 last season. UCSC opened its season with a pair of losses at Concordia of Irvine, 3-0 and 3-2. In the latter match, senior Salvatore LaCavera III, a first-team All-America, had 16 kills and six digs, and Jake Landel had 15 kills.
The UCSC Series: The series resumes after a one-year hiatus. UCSC is looking for its first victory over the Cardinal since Feb. 17, 1981. Stanford holds an 18-1 lead in the series since 1977. In their most recent meetings, Stanford swept the Banana Slugs twice in 2011. Stanford has won the past 11 sets in the series, since UCSC took the second set on Feb. 5, 2010.
Saturday’s Opponent, Pacific: The Tigers moved into the AVCA rankings this week at No. 15, after sweeping then-No. 14 George Mason in a season-opener in Stockton on Friday. Pacific (1-0) got 16 kills from Taylor Hughes, who hit .387 and had seven blocks and five digs. Javier Caceres, a second-team All-MPSF libero last season, had 12 digs. UOP finished 8-20 overall and 5-17 in the MPSF, finishing out of the cellar for the first time since 2007. The Tigers are seeking their first MPSF tournament berth since 2003.
The Pacific Series: Stanford leads the all-time series 33-10 and has won the past nine meetings with the Tigers, including two in three sets last season. Pacific’s last victory against the Cardinal was a sweep on Jan. 30, 2008 at Burnham Pavilion. Stanford has won the past eight sets in the series.
Last Week: Stanford opened its season on Friday, Jan. 4, with its sixth consecutive season-opening victory, a 25-23, 25-17, 18-25, 25-17 victory over Grand Canyon at Maples Pavilion. On Saturday, the Cardinal beat No. 14 George Mason, also at Maples, by a 25-18, 23-25, 25-16, 25-18 score. Brian Cook had 19 kills and hit .500 against Mason and Daniel Tublin, in his first start, had 14 kills, nearly equaling his career total of 15 coming into the season.