Jan. 26, 2010
STANFORD, Calif. -
Complete Release in PDF Format
The Stanford men’s volleyball team suffered its first loss last week, but still moved up one spot in the AVCA Coaches’ Top 15, to No. 2. It’s the program’s highest ranking since Jan. 29, 2002. After splitting a pair at current No. 4 BYU last weekend, the Cardinal (3-1, 3-1) begins a stretch of six consecutive home matches on Thursday when it takes on No. 10 UC Santa Barbara (2-5, 2-2) at Burnham Pavilion. On Friday, Stanford plays No. 3 Cal State Northridge (6-1, 3-1), the Cardinal’s highest-ranked opponent of the season so far. Stanford, Northridge and BYU are tied for second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation at 3-1, just behind USC (4-0).
Follow the Action
Live Internet radio and streaming video is available for both matches, and live stats are available on Friday only.
The premium CardCam webcasts can be found through “All-Access,” “Multimedia” and “Watch” links on gostanford.com. Tim Swartz will provide the call.
Internet radio broadcasts are available through KZSU-2, Stanford’s Internet-only radio station. A “Listen” link can be found by clicking the match on the men’s volleyball schedule page on gostanford.com. From the KZSU Live page, go to the KZSU-2 section and click “play” on the tool bar.
The Gametracker live stats are available just for the Cal State Northridge match.
Thursday’s Opponent: UC Santa Barbara
Stanford fought off four BYU set points to win a pivotal second set and used the momentum to beat the then-No. 5 Cougars, 20-30, 35-33, 30-28, 30-27 in a hard-fought match Saturday to earn a weekend split. Stanford had lost in four on Friday night. Brad Lawson had 22 kills and only four errors in 41 attacks (.439), and a crucial big serve at 32-32 that led to an Evan Romero kill that pushed the Cardinal into the lead in the second set.
The Gauchos delivered an early-season shocker with a 32-30, 30-32, 30-28, 30-25 victory over defending NCAA champion UC Irvine in Santa Barbara on Friday. UCSB got 22 kills (.375) and 10 digs from junior opposite Cullen Irons to vault into a four-way tie for fifth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation at 2-2. UCSB already is halfway to its conference victory total of last year when the Gauchos went 4-18 (8-19 overall) to finish 11th of 12 teams and fail to make the MPSF Tournament. Junior outside hitter Jeff Menzel leads the MPSF in kills per set at 5.42, and points, at 5.98. Senior opposite Jake Rosener, a product from Homestead High School in Cupertino, had a season-high 15 kills against UCI.
The UCSB Series
Stanford trails in the all-time series, 41-26, but has won the past four matches, sweeping two matches last year. In the first, in Santa Barbara, Kawika Shoji served an ace and four consecutive points late in the fifth set to help Stanford rally to a 30-26, 26-30, 24-30, 30-21, 15-13 victory on Feb. 21. Stanford trailed 12-9 in the decisive set until Evan Romero forced sideout with a kill, and Shoji’s serving aided a run of five consecutive points to give Stanford a 14-12 lead. Spencer McLachlin won it with a kill off Shoji’s assist.
Friday’s Opponent: Cal State Northridge
The Stanford-CSUN match offers a great example of strength against strength. Stanford’s offense leads the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in hitting percentage (.347) and the Northridge defense leads the conference in lowest hitting percentage allowed (.227). The No. 3 Matadors opened the season with a six-match winning streak before UCLA snapped it with a 30-21, 30-24, 30-21 upset victory in Northridge on Friday. Coming after a four-set home victory over defending national champion UC Irvine on Wednesday, CSUN dropped one spot in the rankings from No. 2. Cal State Northridge finished third in the MPSF last season, going 16-6 in conference play and 24-7 overall after losing in the semifinals of the MPSF Tournament to Pepperdine, 3-1. CSUN returns five starters and its libero, and graduated only one player (first-team All-America outside hitter Eric Vance) from last year’s team. Top players include 2009 second-team All-America middle blocker Jacek Ratajczak and third-team All-America setter Jeff Stork.
The Cal State Northridge Series
Stanford leads the all-time series, 32-23, after earning a huge victory in their most recent meeting, March 27, 2009, at Maples Pavilion. Evan Romero set a school-record for career kills in the rally-scoring era while leading Stanford to a 30-27, 34-32, 30-32, 30-22 victory over then-No. 2 Cal State Northridge. The victory ended a streak of five consecutive Stanford losses in the series.
Stanford leads the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in four individual and three team categories. Stanford’s leading individuals are:
Kawika Shoji, assists per game (14.26)
Brad Lawson, service aces pg (0.64)
Gus Ellis, blocks pg (2.00)
Erik Shoji, digs pg (3.21)
As a team, Stanford leads in assists pg (16.14), kills pg (16.71), and blocks pg (3.59).
Stanford boasts seven players from Hawaii -- including four starters -- and two coaches. Kawika (senior setter) and Erik Shoji (sophomore libero) are the sons of longtime UH women’s volleyball coach Dave Shoji. They join Spencer McLachlin (junior outside hitter) and Brad Lawson (sophomore outside hitter) in the regular starting lineup. Jordan Inafuku (junior libero) is a defensive and serving specialist, Max Halvorson (junior middle) provides depth in the middle, and freshman Chandler Kaaa is the newest Hawaiian, as a setter off the bench. In addition, longtime Punahou School volleyball and basketball coach Chris McLachlin is a Cardinal assistant coach, and former UH setter Daniel Rasay is a volunteer assistant.
2009 Season in Review
The Cardinal (21-11) won more matches than in any season since 1997 and earned its highest season-ending ranking (No. 6) since 2003. In addition, the team had its first first-team All-Americans for the first time since 1993, with brothers Erik and Kawika Shoji. Erik, the national Newcomer of the Year, set an unofficial national record for season digs.
Stanford won 11 of 12 matches during one stretch and 16 consecutive sets, its longest such streak since 1995. Along the way, Stanford twice beat teams ranked No. 2 in the country, Pepperdine and Cal State Northridge, and beat 11 teams ranked in the nation’s final Top 15.
Stanford finished fourth in the rugged Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, with a 14-8 record., and earned the right to host a first-round match in the conference tournament for the first time in six years. The Cardinal lost a five-set heartbreaker to USC at Maples Pavilion to end the season, but increased its victory total by 18 in just two seasons, since going 3-25 in 2007.
Head Coach John Kosty
Entering his 20th season on the Stanford men’s volleyball staff and fourth as the head coach, John Kosty has led a resurgence in the program -- an 18-victory improvement in two years. Kosty has seen what the program can accomplish and knows what it takes to get there, having served an assistant under Ruben Nieves on the 1997 squad that won the national championship. Kosty helped coach three conference championship teams and was on the staff of 13 teams that finished among the nation’s Top 10.
Ken Shibuya is in his fourth season as Kosty’s lead assistant, having established himself as a head coach in the small college ranks as as part of the U.S. youth coaching staff. Chris McLachlin, father of junior hitter Spencer McLachlin, joins the staff this year after once serving as Stanford’s player-coach in the program’s infancy in the late 1960s.