Jan. 21, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford and UCLA, who share a No. 4 ranking in the AVCA Coaches' men's volleyball poll, meet in a pivotal Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match for both teams. Stanford (4-2, 1-2), after losing a pair in Southern California over the weekend, is in danger of losing touch with the MPSF leaders. And UCLA (6-3, 2-1) needs a victory to remain among those six top teams, who have one loss or less in conference play.
Tuesday's Stanford-UCLA match marks the men's volleyball home debut for the Cardinal on the Pac-12 Networks. This is the second of four matches Stanford will appear on this season. Kevin Barnett and Kevin Wong will call the action.
Follow the Action
• The match will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.
• Live stats can be found through the Gametracker links on gostanford.com.
• The match can be heard live on KZSU-2 online radio (kzsulive.stanford.edu) with Alec Winograd on the call.
Back at Home
After a pair of road losses, Stanford returns home where it has won its past 10 matches. The Cardinal's last home loss was a four-set upset to Hawai'i at Maples Pavilion on March 7, 2012. Stanford went on to win its final six home matches last season, including a first-round victory over Pepperdine in the MPSF tournament. This season, Stanford went undefeated through four home matches, though two were at smaller Burnham Pavilion.
Rare Back to Back Losses
Stanford suffered back-to-back losses in its most recent matches, at USC on Friday and Pepperdine on Sunday. It marked the first time that had happened to Stanford since its national championship season of 2010, when the Cardinal lost at home to UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge on Jan. 27-28. Stanford played 85 matches without two in a row until last weekend.
Three in a Row?
Three consecutive losses? That's rarer still for Stanford. The last time the Cardinal lost that many in a row was when it closed the 2007 season with six consecutive losses. That was during a 3-25 season for first-year head coach John Kosty and his first-year assistant Ken Shibuya. That team featured a number of freshman starters who would become the backbone of the "Worst to First" NCAA championship team of 2010 -- players such as setter Kawika Shoji, the national player of the year, and opposite hitter Evan Romero, who graduated as Stanford's all-time kills leader.
Stanford dropped two spots in the AVCA Coaches' Poll after its two losses last weekend, from No. 2 into a tie at No. 4 with UCLA.
Tuesday's Opponent, UCLA
The No. 4 Bruins (6-3, 2-1) are opening the season with a stretch where nine of their first 11 matches are on the road. The Stanford-Pacific trip, which concludes in Stockton on Jan. 27, marks the end of that stretch. UCLA split its matches last week, falling at home to Long Beach State in four, and winning at UC Santa Barbara in four on Friday. The Long Beach loss marked the first time this season -- in the Bruins' eighth match -- that they didn't play a five-set match. UCLA is under first-year coach John Speraw, who coached UC Irvine to three consecutive NCAA titles, including last season, after Al Scates retired after 50 seasons as the Bruins' coach.
The UCLA Series
UCLA holds a 62-18 all-time series lead. Stanford won their most recent meeting 25-18, 25-21, 25-18, on April 14, 2012 at Maples Pavilion in a regular-season finale. Some addtional facts about the series:
• Over the past five seasons, Stanford holds a 6-4 series edge.
• Stanford has won the past five matches in the series at Maples Pavilion.
• Stanford hasn't lost to UCLA at Maples Pavilion since 2005 (UCLA won at Burnham Pavilion in 2006-07).
Most Recent Meeting
For Stanford, the unequivocal highlight of its 22-7 season of 2012 was its sweep of UCLA in the regular-season finale at Maples Pavilion. First, Stanford honored seven seniors -- including multiple first-team All-Americans Erik Shoji and Brad Lawson -- who made up the winningest class in Stanford history (86-33). The 25-18, 25-21, 25-18 victory was Stanford's most complete of the season and vaulted the Cardinal from a No. 5 seed to No. 2 for the MPSF tournament. The main highlights were provided by Shoji, who dug two overpass free shots by the Bruins, including one diving save that is regarded as one of the signature moments of a spectacular career, earning him notice as "the greatest libero in collegiate volleyball history," said coach John Kosty.
• Stanford juniors Steven Irvin and Eric Mochalski both have fathers who played on UCLA national championship teams.
• Steven Irvin's father, Chris Irvin, started on UCLA title teams in 1974 and 1975, where he was teammates with future Stanford men's coach Fred Sturm and assistant coach John Bekins.
• Irvin's uncle, Richard Irvin, played on three UCLA title teams, in 1970, 1971, and 1972.
• Eric Mochalski's father, David Mochalski, played on UCLA's 1982 NCAA championship team. Mochalski won all-tournament honors on a team captained by Karch Kiraly.
• UCLA volunteer assistant coach Matt Fuerbringer is one of Stanford's all-time great players. He was a three-time first-team All-America during his career (1994-97) and led Stanford to the 1997 NCAA championship. Fuerbringer remains Stanford's all-time kills leader, with 2,221.
High School Teammates
Five sets of players from UCLA and Stanford were high school teammates:
• Stanford redshirt sophomore libero Grant Delgado was in the same class as UCLA redshirt sophomore middle blocker Clayton Paullin at Palos Verdes in Palos Verdes Estates.
• Stanford junior outside hitter Steven Irvin was two years ahead of UCLA freshman outside hitter Nick Porterfield at Loyola of Los Angeles.
• Stanford sophomore middle blocker Spencer Haly was two years behind UCLA redshirt junior setter Connor Bannan at Corona del Mar of Newport Beach.
• Stanford freshman middle blocker Madison Hayden was in the same class at UCLA freshman middle blocker Kyle Palmer at Servite of Anaheim.
• Stanford junior middle blocker Eric Mochalski was in the same class as UCLA redshirt sophomore middle blocker Michael Beals at Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach. They played one year together, in 2010.
Stanford coach John Kosty has started five different lineups in six matches as he tries to find the right combinations. The only time Stanford has started the same six players came in back-to-back victories over UC Santa Cruz and Pacific on Jan. 11-12. The starters in those matches were: James Shaw at setter, Eric Mochalski and Spencer Haly at middle blockers, Jake Kneller and Steven Irvin at outside hitters, Brian Cook at opposite, and Scott Sakaida at libero.