Feb. 21, 2013
PROVO, Utah - Stanford has historically done well against BYU, even against Cougar teams with lofty rankings. This year, the No. 5 Cardinal must do so while also trying to get back on track -- Stanford has gone 2-3 over its past five matches and is fifth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. On Saturday, the Cardinal will attempt to extend its winning streak over No. 2 BYU (9-3, 8-2) to seven. Then, Stanford (9-5, 6-5) will travel to Riverside on Monday for the first time to play at new MPSF member Cal Baptist (6-7, 3-5).
THE LAST MEETING
April 26, 2012
Los Angeles, Calif.
Stanford Outlasts BYU in MPSF Semi
Stanford outlasted BYU in a marathon fourth set to win the MPSF men's volleyball semifinal and advance within one victory of an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
THE LAST MEETING
March 19, 2011
Stanford Falls to NAIA Champs
Spencer McLachlin had a big match, but was unable to prevent No. 3 Stanford from losing to Cal Baptist in a matchup of defending national men's volleyball champions.
Follow the Action
• The BYU match can be seen live for free on BYUtv. Look for the “Watch” links on gostanford.com or go to www.BYUtvsports.com.
• The Cal Baptist match also is streamed, for a $2.95 one-time charge. Look for the “Premium Webcast” link on gostanford.com or go to cbulancers.com.
• Live State links can be found on gostanford.com for both matches.
Week in Review
Stanford may have played its best and worst matches of the season within a 24-hour span. That was certainly true in the hitting percentage category -- the Cardinal hit a season-high .456 (60-12-103) in a four-set victory at Cal State Northridge on Friday, followed by a season-low .152 in a three-set loss at Long Beach State. Brian Cook had a 21-kill, .459 performance at Northridge, but no player had more than 10 kills against Long Beach, as Stanford dropped to 2-4 on the road.
• Stanford dropped two spots in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll to No. 5, and two spots in the Volleyball Magazine rankings to No. 6. Stanford’s highest AVCA ranking was No. 2 on Jan. 14.
• BYU is No. 2 in the AVCA poll, down from a tie for No. 1 with UC Irvine, which now has sole possession of that spot. The Cougars are No. 3 by Volleyball Magazine, for a one-spot drop from last week.
• Cal Baptist is No. 13, having dropped two spots in the AVCA poll, and is not ranked in the Volleyball Magazine Top 10.
Nearing the halfway point of the conference season, BYU (8-2) leads, but UC Irvine (11-3), on a 10-match win streak, is threatening. BYU will have played 10 of its 12 matches at home by the end of the weekend. This will leave the Cougars with only two left at home over the final half of the 24-match MPSF season. Stanford is 7-1 at home overall, and will play six of its final 11 at home. For the Cardinal (6-5), the BYU match marks the halfway point to its conference campaign.
Saturday’s Opponent, BYU
After holding the top ranking in the AVCA poll for four consecutive weeks, the Cougars dropped a spot to No. 2 after splitting matches on the road against then-No. 5 Pepperdine and then-No. 10 USC. BYU remains atop the MPSF standings. The Cougars lead the conference in hitting percentage (.326) -- though Stanford leads in opponents’ hitting percentage (.232) -- and feature one of the most dangerous hitters in the country in junior Taylor Sander.
The BYU Series
Stanford has won the past six matches in the series, which is surprising given that BYU was ranked (in chronological order) No. 5, No. 2, No. 2, No. 1, No. 1, and No. 4 in those meetings. Stanford rankings were No. 3, No. 4, No. 4, No. 7, No. 7, and No. 3, respectively, meaning the Cardinal was the underdog in four of them. Going back to 2008, Stanford has won four of its past six in Provo, including three of four when BYU was ranked No. 1. BYU’s rankings for each of those two-match series were No. 1 (split in 2008), No. 5 (split in 2010), and No. 1 (Stanford sweep in 2012). Stanford’s rankings for those series were No. 9, No. 3, and No. 7.
Monday’s Opponent, California Baptist
The Lancers of Riverside, Calif., are transitioning into NCAA Division II from the NAIA and are in their first season in the MPSF. The program has performed respectably, pulling out a conference-opening victory over current No. 1 UC Irvine, and beating Cal State Northridge and UCLA. The Lancers are 3-1 at home and have won their past two there, but are coming off an 0-2 trip to Pepperdine and USC. Cal Baptist’s Levi Cabral leads the MPSF in kills per set at 4.33 and in points, at 5.06. Though the Lancers are hitting .313, they are last in opponents’ percentage (.306).
The Cal Baptist Series
Stanford played host to Cal Baptist in 2010 and 2011 in the Cardinal’s first matches after spring break. By playing an NAIA school, Stanford could shake the rust off from three-week layoffs by playing matches that wouldn’t count against it in the NCAA tournament selection process. Stanford split those matches, sweeping the Lancers in 2010 and losing in five sets in 2011.
• Stanford redshirt sophomore libero Scott Sakaida was teammates with BYU sophomore libero Jaylen Reyes on the 2010 Honolulu-based Outrigger Canoe Club team that placed second in the open division of the USA Volleyball boys junior national championships in Austin, Texas. The team was coached by Jaylen’s father, Tino Reyes.
• Stanford associate head coach Ken Shibuya coached BYU freshman opposite Ben Patch on the 2011 USA Youth National Team that finished 11th at the FIVB Boys’ Youth World Championship in Argentina. Stanford freshman setter James Shaw also played on that team. Shibuya was the head coach.
• Stanford juniors Brian Cook, Eric Mochalski, and Steven Irvin were teammates with BYU junior outside hitter Taylor Sander on the USA team that finished fourth at the 2011 FIVB Junior World Championships in Brazil. The team was managed by former BYU coach Shawn Patchell and earned the highest finish ever for a U.S. team in that event. In 2010, Cook, Mochalski, and Sander played for the winning U.S. team at the NORCECA Junior Continental Championship in Quebec, Canada.
Stanford-Cal Baptist Connections
• Stanford freshman outside hitter Madison Hayden was a teammate of Cal Baptist sophomore setter Kevin Kustura at Servite High School in Anaheim for two seasons.
Stanford has been a varsity program since 1976 and has won two NCAA championships (1997, 2010), reached four NCAA finals, and won eight conference championships. Stanford has had two AVCA players of the year, both setters -- Canyon Ceman in 1993 and Kawika Shoji in 2010. Libero Erik Shoji graduated in 2012 as the first four-time first-team All-America selection since the AVCA began selecting All-America teams. Another 2012 graduate, outside hitter Brad Lawson, was a three-time first-team choice.
Among the other greats who have played for Stanford were Olympic team gold medalists Scott Fortune and Jon Root in 1988, and Kevin Hansen and Gabe Gardner in 2008. Future beach standouts Andy Fishburn, Matt Fuerbringer, Mike Lambert, and Kent Steffes also played for the Cardinal. Ceman, Fortune, Lambert, Root, and Dan Hanan are members of the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame.
Irvin on Fire
Steven Irvin has been one of Stanford’s hottest hitters. In the first three matches of February, he had matches of 27, 22, and 21 kills -- against Hawai’i (twice) and UC Irvine. His previous collegiate career high had been 18. For the season, Irvin has a .307 hitting percentage, but if you remove his first four matches, when he was playing with an injury, that percentage grows to .356.
The Cardinal leads the MPSF in opponents’ hitting percentage, at .232, and in digs (9.84 per set), and is third in services aces (1.24). Brian Cook is third in the conference in kills (4.21) and points (4.84) per set.
Freshman Starts at Setter
True freshman James Shaw has taken the reins of this Stanford team as the starting setter from the opening match. Shaw, 6-foot-7, was the prize of a strong six-player freshman class. Shaw was a member of the U.S. youth national team at the world championships in 2011 and was selected to the U.S. junior national training team in 2012.
Shaw, who grew up in nearby Woodside, Calif., and attended St. Francis High School in Mountain View, is the son of Stanford volleyball coaching great Don Shaw. Don coached the Stanford women’s team to four NCAA titles in 16 seasons (440-70, .863), and was the Cardinal men’s head coach for seven seasons. He is a member of the AVCA Coaching Hall of Fame and coached Kerri Walsh, Kim Oden, and Logan Tom.
Switch at Libero
Scott Sakaida started the first seven matches at libero, but Grant Delgado has started Stanford’s past seven. They are best friends, members of the same class (2014), and spent much of their collegiate careers waiting patiently behind the same legend (Erik Shoji).
Using a two-libero system, Stanford now gets to take advantage of both players. Sakaida, a strong passer in addition to his defense, often comes in when the opponent is serving. Delgado, with his vocal approach, most often makes the calls when the Cardinal is serving. On Saturday, Delgado had seven digs and Sakaida five.
In the Pros
Five former Stanford All-Americans are playing professionally in Europe:
• Kevin Hansen ‘05 is a setter for Arkas Izmir of Turkey, which advanced to the European Champions League Playoffs 6 against Poland’s Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle. Arkas Izmir lost in five sets in the first leg of their matchup and fell in the return leg in four on Feb. 12, finishing just short of advancing to Final Four.
• Kawika Shoji ‘10 is a setter for the Berlin Recycling Volleys of Germany, who won the first 17 matches of the Bundesliga season before losing in five to TV Buhl on Feb. 2. BRV is 18-1 going into its regular-season final against TV Rottenburg on Saturday. BRV had advanced to the Champions League Playoffs 12 round before losing to defending Euro champs Zenit Kazan.
• Erik Shoji ‘12, at libero, and Brad Lawson ‘12, at outside hitter, play for CV Mitteldeutschland of Merseburg, Germany. The team is 9-10 and in seventh place in the 11-team Bundesliga going into its regular-season finale Saturday against evivo Duren.
• Evan Barry ‘12 is a setter for Sweden’s Orkelljunga Volleybollklubb. Orkelljunga is fifth of 10 teams in the Elitserien at 11-4 going into Thursday’s match with Hylte.
The lone senior on the Stanford team is 6-foot-4 outside hitter Jake Kneller, who becomes the last link to the Cardinal’s 2010 NCAA Championship team. Kneller played in 25 matches that season, mostly as a serving specialist, and had four kills and nine aces. Kneller has become a regular starter this season.