Feb. 9, 2000
Fri., Feb. 4
vs. Lewis University (at Ball State Tourney) L, 1-3
Sat., Feb. 5
at Ball State (Ball State Tourney) L, 0-3
Fri., Feb. 11
at San Diego State 7:00 pm
Sat., Feb. 12
at UC San Diego 7:00 pm
Weekend Recap: The Stanford men's volleyball team dropped both of its matches at the Ball State Tournament last weekend. The Cardinal opened with a loss against Lewis 15-11, 15-9, 5-15, 15-11 before falling to tournament host Ball State 15-12, 16-14, 15-10. The Cardinal fell to 2-6 for the season and remain 2-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
National Statistics: Freshman middle blocker Curt Toppel (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) leads the nation in kills-per game average through the first month of the season. Toppel is averaging 7.84 kills-per game, ahead of USC's Brook Billings average of 7.10. Cardinal setter Josh Lukens (San Diego, Calif.) ranks No. 5 in assists-per game at 17.16, trailing Stephen Dunne of Loyola Marymount who's at 19.75.
Toppel Reaches 30: Cardinal middle blocker Curt Toppel reached the 30-kill plateau in both of Stanford's matches at the Ball State Tournament. Toppel, who had a previous high of 29 kills (vs. San Diego State), had 32 kills against Lewis University to open the tournament and 30 kills versus Ball State in a three-game match. Toppel recorded 62 kills in seven games on 122 attempts. Toppel is the first Cardinal player to reach 30 kills since Patrick Klein went for 32 kills versus BYU in 1998. For the season, Toppel has amassed 196 kills in 25 games for a 7.84 kills per game average, which is tops on the Stanford singles season records list.
Bocage Records Season-Highs: Freshman middle blocker Paul Bocage (Princeton, NJ) had a career day in the Cardinal 3-1 loss to Lewis. Bocage played in a season-high four games for Stanford, recording his first double-digit kill performance of the season with 10. Bocage had 26 total attacks and added five digs to go along with two assists and eight blocks. He also added a service ace.
Let's Play Four: For the first time this season, the Cardinal played in a match that lasted longer than three games. Stanford lost a four-game match to Lewis in the opening round of the Ball State Tournament. After dropping games one and two, the Cardinal had a 15-5 victory in game three to extend the match. In the third game, Stanford recorded a .424 hitting-percentage, tallying 16 kills on 33 attempts. It had been the first-time under head coach Ruben Nieves that the Cardinal had started the season with six consecutive three-game matches.
Dishing Them Out: Junior Josh Lukens (San Diego, Calif.) is making the most of his time as the Cardinal's lone setter, as he is currently ranked seventh on the Stanford single-season assists per game list. In 25 games, Lukens has assisted on 429 kills for a 17.16 per game average. Entering the season, Lukens had recorded his best per-game average in 1998 when he dished out 16.87 assists per game and ended the season with 1,265 assists.
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 on January 22. 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 dropped out of the USA Today/American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 15 after four consecutive weeks in the poll. After opening the season ranked No. 14, Stanford climbed into a tie with UC Irvine at No. 12 in the Jan. 18 poll. After losses to No. 1 UCLA and then-No. 8 BYU, Stanford fell to No. 13 in the national rankings, where they remained for two weeks before dropping out this week after losses to Lewis and Ball State.
Scouting San Diego State: Stanford and San Diego State met in the Cardinal's second match of the season at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal walked away with the victory 15-11, 15-5, 15-11. Curt Toppel recorded a then, season-high 29 kills versus San Diego State. The Aztecs are 1-5 overall, with their lone victory coming against UC Santa Cruz on Feb. 4. As a team, San Diego State has recorded 347 kills with 107 coming from Mike Szymanski. The Aztecs are hitting .259 as a team and are allowing its opponents a .401 percentage.
Scouting Ball State: The Cardinal opened the season versus UC San Diego with a 15-3, 15-10, 15-3 victory at Maples Pavilion. Stanford hit .432 for the match and Curt Toppel opened his college career with 21 kills. Since facing the Cardinal, UC San Diego has gone on to post a 3-5 record with two victories over UC Santa Cruz and another over La Verne. Donald Chen leads the Tritons with 123 kills in 22 games and Jordan Hove has 292 assists for the year.
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 eight 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.