Complete Release in PDF Format March 26, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. -
The No. 7 Stanford men's volleyball team returns to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action when it plays host to to No. 2 Cal State Northridge (19-3) and No. 12 UC Santa Barbara (7-13) in weekend back-to-back matches. This will be Stanford's first MPSF match in 27 days and first conference home match in 41 days. Stanford stands in sixth place in the 12-team MPSF, but has the most favorable remaining schedule in the conference, with seven of its remaining nine matches at home.
On the Internet
Both matches can be viewed live via streaming video. The free webcasts can be found on gostanford.com. On the home page, look for the All-Access button on the tool bar, or click on the "Watch" link at the bottom of the page, under Calendar of Events.
Romero Approaches Record
Junior opposite hitter Evan Romero is within five kills of the school record for career kills in the rally-scoring era (since 2001) and should break it Friday against Cal State Northridge. Romero has 1,138 kills and trails only Curt Toppel's 1,143. Romero has led Stanford in kills in each of his three seasons and is averaging 4.49 kills per set.
Return to Conference Play
Stanford plays its first MPSF match this month, following four nonconference matches, and two weeks off to accomodate Dead Week and winter quarter finals. The Cardinal has a three-match conference winning streak -- its longest of the season -- since losing to Cal State Northridge on Feb. 20. After that weekend, Stanford was in seventh place and three games out of fourth in the standings. Today, Stanford is in sixth, but only 1 1/2 games out of fourth. The Cardinal had a pre-season goal of finishing among the top four in the MPSF and receiving a first-round home match in the MPSF tournament. The last time Stanford played a home conference match was Feb. 14, when the Cardinal to USC in four sets at Burnham Pavilion.
Stanford is undefeated at Maples Pavilion this season and has not lost there since 2007. Stanford carries a seven-match winning streak at Maples since its last loss, 30-27, 30-26, 30-25, to No. 1 Pepperdine on April 6, 2007. This season, Stanford is 3-0 at its part-time home (the Cardinal played five home matches at Burnham Pavilion) with each victory coming against a team ranked in the top 10 of the Bison/AVCA Coaches Poll at the time. The highlight was a four-set victory Feb. 13 over Pepperdine, which arrived undefeated and ranked No. 2. The Cardinal beat Long Beach State (then No. 7) and Lewis (No. 9) at Maples. Stanford has seven home matches remaining in the regular season and all are at Maples.
Stanford resumed play after Dead Week and winter quarter finals with a 30-27, 30-26, 30-28 loss to Cal Baptist, the NAIA's top-ranked team, in a nonconference match Saturday at Burnham Pavilion. Stanford was led by Spencer McLachlin's 10 kills, but couldn't prevent the team's six-match winning streak from being snapped. It matched the longest winning streak for the program since the Cardinal won 25 straight in 1997-98.
Friday's Opponent: Cal State Northridge
The No. 2 Matadors (19-3, 12-3) held the No. 1 spot in the Bison/AVCA Div. I-II Coaches Poll for two weeks, until a five-set loss to UC Irvine on March 13. Northridge stands third in the MPSF, but only a half-game behind co-leaders Pepperdine and UC Irvine. Northridge leads the nation in three team categories: kills per game (16.47), aces per game (2.11) and assists per game (15.15). In addition, freshman setter Matt Stork is the national leader in assists per game at 13.78.
The Cal State Northridge Series
Stanford has lost five consecutive matches to Cal State Northridge, two this season and three last year, including an MPSF first-round tournament road loss. Stanford's last victory over the Matadors came in the 2008 season opener, at the UCSB tournament. Stanford leads the series, 31-23.
Saturday's Opponent: UC Santa Barbara
The No. 12 Gauchos (7-13, 3-12) are coming off a 20-30, 30-27, 26-30, 30-27, 15-13, victory on Tuesday over Cal Baptist, the team that beat Stanford last week. UCSB sits in 11th place in the 12-team MPSF and three games out of eighth and the final conference tournament spot. Sophomore Jeff Menzel is second in the MPSF in kills per set at 5.59.
The UC Santa Barbara Series
Stanford has won the past three matches, including a hard-fought 30-26, 26-30, 24-30, 30-21, 15-13 in Santa Barbara on Feb. 21. Stanford trails in the all-time series 41-25.
Erik Shoji Leads Nation
Freshman libero Erik Shoji leads the nation in digs and digs per set by commanding margins. Shoji has 293 digs for a 3.91 per set average. No one else is within 40 digs of Shoji, who already holds the school record for total digs during the rally-scoring era (since 2001), and is closing in on Scott Fortune's all-time mark of 379 (1986).