Jan. 18, 2000
Weekend Sweep: The 14th-ranked Cardinal opened the 2000 season with two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation victories at home over UC San Diego (1/14) and San Diego State (1/16). The Cardinal swept both the Tritons (15-3, 15-10, 15-3) and Aztecs (15-11, 15-5, 15-11) to begin the season with a 2-0 oaverall and MPSF record.
Quick Notes: The Cardinal drew 778 fans for their season opener against UC San Diego last Friday, larger than 1999 home opener that drew 435... Stanford sits tied with the University of the Pacific atop the MPSF Pacific Division standings... After facing BYU and UCLA at home this week, Stanford will embark on a six-match road trip.
Movin' To Maples: The Cardinal will change venues for the 2000 season, playing all 11 home matches at 7,391 seat Maples Pavilion, home of Stanford women's volleyball and men's and women's basketball. The Cardinal played in the much smaller Burhnam Pavilion (1,200 seats) since the 1989 season.
Fri., Jan. 14 UC San Diego W, 15-3, 15-10, 15-3
Sun., Jan. 16 San Diego State W, 15-11, 15-5, 15-11
Wed., Jan. 19 #8 BYU 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 22 #1 UCLA 7:00 p.m.
Is He For Real?: Touted as the top freshman in the country, middle blocker Curt Toppel (Pacific Palisades, CA/Loyola HS) lived up to the billing in his first two collegiate matches as he recorded more than 20 kills in each match. Toppel tallied 21 kills versus UC San Diego in the season opener before compiling a season-high 29 kills in the Cardinal's three game victory over San Diego State. Just as impressive is Toppel's hitting percentage of .568 (50-74), and kills per game average of 8.33. Toppel is tied for the team lead in digs with 14 and service aces with 2.
Freshmen Influence: Curt Toppel isn't the only freshman making an impact on the Cardinal's early success. A total of seven freshmen saw time in at least one game last weekend. In fact three, outside hitter Seth Ring (Bend, OR/Redmond HS), middle blocker Kyle Strache (Malibu, CA/Malibu HS) and Toppel, started both of Stanford's season-opening matches. Freshman outside hitter Jon Palacios (Manhattan Beach, CA/Mira Costa HS) played Libero in both matches.
Assist Milestone: Junior setter Josh Lukens (San Diego, CA/Mt. Carmel HS) surpassed the 2,000 assist mark in Stanford's season-opening victory over UC San Diego (3-0). Lukens entered the season with 1,978 assists and tallied 42 assists against the Tritons and another 58 assists versus San Diego State to push his career mark to 2,078. On Stanford's career assist list, Lukens ranks seventh, trailing sixth-place Steve Madory's (1984-'87) 2,109 and Canyon Ceman's (1991-'94) all-time best 5,912. In two matches this season, Lukens is averaging 16.67 assists per game and 16.49 for his career.
Scouting The Cougars: Stanford will face eighth-ranked and defending NCAA champion BYU on Wednesday, Jan. 19 at Maples Pavilion. The Cougars entered the week with a 3-0 record after sweeping a weekend series with No. 11 Lewis. BYU is led by outside hitter Joaquin Acosta's 54 kills and setter Chris Pitzak's 209 assists. Over the past five season's BYU has a 5-3 record against the Cardinal, including a three-game (15-6, 15-12, 15-3) victory last season in Provo.
Scouting The Bruins:Stanford will take on top-ranked UCLA on Saturday, Jan. 22 at Maples Pavilion. UCLA ended a three-match losing streak to the Cardinal to conclude last season and hold an all-time 46-7 record against Stanford.
Injury Insight: The Cardinal will begin the season without the services of senior outside hitter Josh Palacios (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and junior setter Brad Griffith (Scotts Valley, Calif.). Palacios had been suffering from chronic shoulder separations, which required surgery. As for Griffith, he tore ligaments in his knee during an exhibition match in November versus UC Santa Barbara. Griffith had surgery on the knee in late November and will be sidelined, along with Palacios, for three to six months.
New Rule: Used by international volleyball for the past year, the Libero will make its debut in collegiate menís volleyball in 1999. The rule change allows the coach of each team to designate a player that can substitute in and out of a match, as long as the player is in the back row, without restriction. Freshman Jon Palacios opened the season at the Libero position, playing six games and recording five digs and one assist.
Television Broadcast: Stanford's match versus BYU on Wednesday, Jan. 19 will be broadcast on a tape delayed basis by Palo Alto Cable Co-op. The match, with Kirk Anderson providing the play-by-play and Stanford women's volleyball coach Don Shaw providing color analysis, will air on Friday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 23 at 8:30 p.m.
Head Coach Ruben Nieves: In his 10th season with the Cardinal, Ruben Nieves is Stanford's all-time winningest coach with a 153-70 (.690) record. In 1997, Nieves led the Cardinal to its first NCAA national championship en route to AVCA and Volleyball Magazine National Coach of the Year honors. Nieves has led the Cardinal to three 20-win seasons (1992, '94, '97), including a school-best 27-3 mark in 1997. Against MPSF opponents, Nieves has a combined record of 112-53 (.679) and his teams have captured conference titles in 1993, '95 and '97.