March 22, 2000
Fri., March 24 at Hawaii 9:00 p.m. PST
Sat., March 25 at Hawaii 9:00 p.m. PST
Back In Action: After a two week layoff, the Stanford men's volleyball team jumped back into action with a 3-1 victory over California. The match, which was played in Berkeley, did not count towards Stanford's season record because California is a club team. Up next for the Cardinal will be the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Hawaii sits at 10-8 overall and 5-6 in the MPSF, coming off two losses to UCLA last week. Hawaii received 162 points in the latest USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 15 for a No. 6 ranking. Over the past three seasons, Stanford has won three of six matches against Hawaii, but was swept 3-0 in two matches in Hawaii in 1998. The Cardinal (8-7, 7-5 MPSF) currently holds an edge over Hawaii in the Pacific Division for the final automatic bid into the MPSF Tournament.
National Statistics: Freshman middle blocker Curt Toppel (Pacific Palisades, CA) leads the nation in kills-per game average at 8.39. Toppel, who has led the nation for five weeks, has compiled 369 kills in 44 games for the Cardinal. After reaching the top 10 last week, sophomore outside hitter Marcus Skacel (Laguna Niguel, CA) dropped to No. 12 in digs-per game average at 2.57. Skacel has recorded 121 digs in 47 games. Junior setter Josh Lukens (San Diego, CA) is ranked No. 2 in assists-per game with an 18.75 average on 994 assists in 53 games. Lukens trails Chris Pitzak of BYU , who has a 19.35 average.
Ranking Report: Stanford moved up in the USA Today/AVCA Top 15 as the American Volleyball Coaches Association voters selected the Cardinal No. 13. Stanford received 47 votes in the March 21 poll, moving the Cardinal up from last week's No. 15 ranking. Stanford had opened the season ranked No. 14, climbed to a season-high No. 12 on Jan. 18., before dropping out of the rankings over a three week period. Long Beach State received 240 points and 16 first place votes to remain the No. 1 team in the country.
Down The Stretch: After Hawaii, Stanford will return home for its final two home matches of the season against No. 3 USC (3/31) and No. 1 Long Beach State (4/1) before closing out the season on the road at Pacific (4/8), CS Northridge (4/14) and UC Santa Barbara (4/15). Long Beach State currently leads the Pacific Division with a 10-1 record, while USC is second with an 11-2 mark. Stanford was swept 3-0 by both USC and Long Beach State earlier in the season.
Quick Notes: Junior setter Josh Lukens is 80 assists shy of becoming just the third Cardinal to reach the 3,000 career assist plateau... Lukens has moved into third on the all-time assist list with 2,920 assists, trailing Canyon Ceman's (1991-94) 5,912... If the season ended today, Curt Toppel would set a new Cardinal single-season record for kills-per game (8.39), breaking David Goss' 1992 record of 7.52.
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.