April 18, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
Playoff volleyball returns to Stanford on Saturday when the Cardinal men open the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament with a first-round match against Pepperdine at 7 p.m. at Maples Pavilion.
No. 3 Stanford (20-6) won the right to host on the final night of the regular season when the Cardinal swept then-No. 3 UCLA to vault to the No. 2 seed for the eight-team event. A loss would have dropped Stanford to No. 5 and a road match.
A Cardinal victory over the Waves, combined with a loss by No. 1 USC, would allow Stanford to play host to the MPSF semifinals and final. A USC victory over Cal State Northridge would ensure the rest of the tournament will be played at the Galen Center.
Saturday, 7 p.m.: No. 9-ranked Pepperdine (14-14) at No. 3 Stanford (20-6), at Maples Pavilion.
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Tickets: Tickets go on sale outside Maples Pavilion at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. There are no advance sales. Prices are $10 for adults, $5 for youths. There are a limited number of free tickets available to Stanford students.
Stanford’s Playoff History: Stanford has won two national championships, in 1997 and 2010, and has reached the NCAA championship four times. Also, in 19 years of the MPSF tournament, Stanford has won twice. However, in the past 14 years, the Cardinal’s MPSF tournament record has not been favorable. Other than winning the title in 2010, Stanford has not won a single tournament match in that span, losing in the first round in seven of its past eight appearances. Stanford has played first-round matches at home the past four years and gone 1-3 in that span, including a five-set loss to Long Beach State last year.
Saturday’s Opponent, Pepperdine:
The Waves have lost three of their past four matches, and three of their past five if you go back to their five-set loss to Stanford in Malibu on March 30. Pepperdine has suffered injuries of late, particularly to Maurice Torres, but the junior opposite could be back in the lineup for Saturday’s match.
The Postseason Series: Stanford and Pepperdine have met in the postseason six times, but not since 2000 when the Waves edged the Cardinal 15-13 in the fifth set of the MPSF first-round match. Pepperdine leads the postseason series (including conference and NCAA matches), 4-2. That includes a Pepperdine sweep in the 1992 NCAA championship final in Muncie, Ind. Stanford’s most recent postseason victory over the Waves was a sweep in the first round of the 1997 MPSF tournament.
Stanford vs. Pepperdine: Stanford beat the visiting Waves on Feb. 24 in the Cardinal’s conference home opener, at Maples Pavilion, 25-21, 24-26, 25-19, 25-18, with Brad Lawson leading a balanced attack with 14 kills. On March 30, Stanford returned to action after a 22-day break from competition for winter break by beating Pepperdine, 25-17, 22-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12, in Malibu, with 19 kills from Lawson.
Pepperdine leads the all-time series against Stanford, 48-20. However, the Cardinal has won six of their past seven meetings, including four consecutive.
Lawson Nears Record: Senior outside hitter Brad Lawson, a two-time AVCA first-team All-America, is 15 kills away from matching Evan Romero’s school record for career kills in the rally-scoring era (since 2001). Lawson has 1,766, to the 1,781 for Romero, who played at Stanford from 2007-10.
Winningest Senior Class: This match most likely will be the last at home for Stanford’s seven-member senior class of Evan Barry, Gus Ellis, Charley Henrikson, Dylan Kordic, Brad Lawson, Erik Shoji, and Jake Vandermeer. Over the past four years, Stanford has compiled an 84-32 record, eclipsing the 81 victories won by the class of 2011 as the most in school history.
The MPSF Playoff Field: Here is the playoff field for the MPSF tournament, with each quarterfinal match at a campus site:
Match 1: No. 8 Cal State Northridge (12-17) at No. 1 USC (22-4), 7 p.m. PT
Match 2: No. 5 UCLA (22-7) at No. 4 UC Irvine (21-5), 7 p.m. PT
Match 3: No. 6 Long Beach State (15-14) at No. 3 BYU (23-6), 6 p.m. PT
Match 4: No. 7 Pepperdine (14-14) at No. 2 Stanford (20-6), 7 p.m. PT
Stanford Statistics: Senior setter Evan Barry leads the nation in assists per set at 12.02, just ahead of Pepperdine’s Matt West at 11.37. Senior libero Erik Shoji is third in digs per set at 2.68. Brad Lawson is tied for sixth in kills per set (4.01).
As a team, The Cardinal is first in assists per set (13.24) and kills per set (13.92), and second in hitting percentage (.340).