May 2, 2010
STANFORD, Calif. -
Stanford received the No. 1 seed and will face No. 4 seed Ohio State in semifinals of the NCAA men's volleyball tournament on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Maples Pavilion, in a match to be televised on ESPNU.
Cal State Northridge, which lost to Stanford in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation final on Saturday night, was awarded the only at-large slot and received the No. 2 seed. The Matadors (23-9) will play No. 3 seed Penn State (23-7) in the 6 p.m. semifinal on ESPN2.
The championship final will be played Saturday at 4 p.m., on ESPN2.
Stanford (22-6), the top-ranked team in the country, faces an Ohio State team that it beat in 2009 in three close games in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes (22-7) advanced by rallying to a 30-28, 25-30, 26-30, 30-20, 15-11 victory over Loyola-Chicago in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament final Saturday.
"It's exciting to be in the final four," Stanford coach John Kosty said. "We know all our opponents are going to be strong and we're going to have to battle."
Ohio State has won 12 consecutive matches and is making its 17th final four appearance, having qualified the past three years. The Buckeyes are led by two second-team All-Americans, junior setter Steven Kehoe - the younger brother of graduated Stanford women's volleyball first-team All-American setter Bryn Kehoe -- and sophomore opposite hitter Shawn Sangrey.
Ohio State has the NCAA experience, but Stanford has the homecourt.
"We're going to feel confident heading into the match," Kosty said. "Being at home, we'll be able to do our normal routine, which is nice. It can help us get into the right frame of mind as we're heading into the final four."
Stanford is 13-1 at Maples Pavilion - its only loss was to Northridge on Jan. 29 - and is 8-0 all-time against Ohio State. Stanford has been ranked No. 1 since the rankings of March 8 and has accumulated the most victories, and first conference title and NCAA berth, since winning the 1997 national championship at, ironically, Ohio State.
Stanford features three first-team All-Americans: senior setter Kawika Shoji
, sophomore outside hitter Brad Lawson
(the MPSF Player of the Year), and sophomore libero Erik Shoji
. Kawika Shoji
and Lawson are regarded as prime candidates for the AVCA National Player of the Year, which will be announced Wednesday at the championship banquet.
NCAA Championships at Stanford's Maples Pavilion
Thursday, May 6
No. 2 Cal State Northridge (23-9) vs. No. 3 Penn State (23-7), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 1 Stanford (22-6) vs. No. 4 Ohio State (22-7), 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Saturday, May 8
Semifinals winners, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)