Feb. 1, 2000
Fri., Feb. 4
vs. Lewis University (at Ball State Tourney) 5:00 pm
Sat., Feb. 5
at Ball State (Ball State Tourney) 7:30 pm
Fri., Jan. 28
at #2 Long Beach State L, 0-3
Sat., Jan. 29
at #5 USC L, 0-3
Weekend Recap: The 13th-ranked Cardinal slipped to 2-4 (2-4 MPSF) this season after falling 3-0 to both No. 2 Long Beach State and No. 5 USC. Against the 49ers last Friday, freshman middle blocker Curt Toppel (Pacific Palisades, CA) continued his streak of 20-kill matches by recording a match-high 27 kills on 47 attempts. The Cardinal finished the game hitting .266 as a team in their second highest attack total of the season (124 TA). In its second Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match of the week, Stanford hit a season-low .177, tallying 44 kills on 96 attempts and 27 errors. Junior middle blocker Brett Youngberg (Surrey, B.C.) and sophomore outside hitter Seth Ring (Bend, OR) led the Cardinal with 10 kills apiece.
Toppel Talk: Cardinal middle blocker Curt Toppel (Pacific Palisades, CA) had a streak of five matches where he compiled 20 or more kills before USC held him to a season-low eight kills. Despite his low kill total against USC, Toppel has recorded 134 kills in 18 games to give him an impressive 7.44 kills per game. Toppel had a season-high 29 kills versus UC San Diego and added a 28 kill performance against BYU on January 19. Although it's only four matches into the season, Toppel's kills-per game average ranks first on Stanford's season list. Toppel ranks second behind David Goss' record 7.52 kills per game which he accomplished in 1992.
Palacios Records Season-Highs: After beginning the season at the libero position, freshman outside hitter Jon Palacios (Manhattan Beach, CA) made his biggest impact of the season against Southern California. Palacios recorded four kills on four attempts for a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage.
Let's Play Three: Under head coach Ruben Nieves, the Cardinal has never started a season with six consecutive three-game matches. Stanford has played a minimum 18 games to begin the 2000 season, posting a 2-4 record in those matches. Stanford opened the season with victories over UC San Diego and San Diego State, before falling to No. 8 BYU, No. 1 UCLA at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal is 0-2 on the road with loses to No. 2 Long Beach State and No. 5 USC.
Attendance Increase: The Cardinal averaged 654 fans for the season-opening four-match home stand at Maples Pavilion which marks a seven year high for the first four matches of the season. Stanford drew 778 people against UC San Diego on opening night and a season-high 1,016 people versus UCLA last weekend. The highest four-match attendance mark to begin a season in the 1990s came in '92 when Stanford drew 895 fans per match. Stanford averaged 603 fans for the first four matches of 1989, the last season the Cardinal played in Maples Pavilion. Stanford played in Burhnam Pavilion from 1990-99.
Ranking Report: Stanford has remained in the USA Today/American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 15 for four consecutive weeks. After opening the season ranked No. 14, Stanford climbed into a tie with UC Irvine at No. 13 in the Jan. 18 poll. After loses to No. 1 UCLA and then-No. 8 BYU, Stanford fell to No. 13 in the national rankings last week and remains in that spot for the second consecutive week.
Scouting Lewis: Stanford's first opponent at the Ball State Tournament on February 4 will be No. 12 Lewis. The Flyers will enter the match with a 2-3 record after splitting last weeks two matches with a loss to Ball State, 3-2, and a 3-0 win over Rutgers. Eduardo Quinones leads the team with 97 kills in 17 games and four other players have tallied more than 30 kills for the season.
Scouting Ball State: Stanford will face Ball State in the second match of the Ball State Tournament held February 4-5. Ball State, currently 4-2, has defeated No. 12 Lewis, 3-2 and No. 15 Loyola (Ill.), 3-2, after dropping a 3-0 decision to No. 6 Ohio State. Brian Hughes leads the team with 120 kills in 25 games and the Cardinals are out-hitting their opponents .315-to-.261 percent. Ball State has also out-blocked its opponents by a margin of 17.5 for the season. The last meeting between the two teams came at the 1997 NCAA Final Four when Stanford defeated Ball State 15-6, 15-9, 15-10 in the first round.
Quick Notes: Freshman outside hitter Curt Toppel opened the UCLA match with back-to-back service aces, giving Stanford an early 2-0 lead in game one... Toppel leads the team with six service aces... The Cardinal have yet to play a match longer than three games and matches have averaged 1 hour and 28 minutes in length... Sophomore Marcus Skacel recorded his 100th career kill versus UC San Diego (1/14)... Junior setter Josh Lukens (San Diego, CA) reached the 2,000 assist milestone against San Diego State on January 16.
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. Entering the 2000 season, Nieves ranked fifth on the AVCA all-time win percentage list (.714) and 13th all-time in career victories with 145.