May 5, 2010
Stanford University Head Coach John Kosty
"It's a great opportunity for us at Stanford University to be hosting and participating in the 2010 Men's Volleyball national championships. We're excited to be here. It's been a long season for us. It started way back in late September when we arrived on campus and it's proved to be a very great season for us. We're looking forward to Thursday, playing Ohio State."
On having decorated All-American athletes on the team
"One is talent. They came in with an understanding of volleyball. When we recruit out of the Hawaiian islands, we understand that's their sport. Throughout their high school career, they have the spotlight on them all the time. In Hawaii, high school sports are treated like college sports and college sports are treated like professional sports, so there's a lot of focus on them. They're interviewed all the time and they're on TV all the time. I think all this prepares them for the college game. With Eric and Kawika, their father was the coach so they spent all their lives breaking down plays, watching matches, and being at matches, so they have a great understanding of the game. Then a guy like Evan Romero, who comes from south Florida, learned volleyball here over the four years. He came from a totally different background and I think the mixture has really helped this team to be where they are now. I think the team is composed of a great group of guys who are very focused and dedicated, both in the classroom and on the volleyball court."
On recruiting players from Hawaii
"In past seasons, we may not have had that many Hawaiian players but we've always had a Hawaiian on the team over the years." So ... "There's always been a piece of Hawaii in our program."
"I've been with the program for over 20 years and our goal is to bring in the best student athletes. We're looking for the best scholar athletes. We'll look in Texas, Florida, Wisconsin to find the best volleyball players who also fit in academically at Stanford. It just so happens that there's a string of a couple of years that there's a hotbed of players from Hawaii and we took full advantage of it."
Kawika Shoji, Senior Setter
On his freshman year of volleyball at Stanford
"Maybe at the end of that year, I would have chosen not to remember it, but now I think it adds to the story. It's helped our team because we've come so far. We know how to handle every situation that we'll face and it has contributed to the maturity of our team."
On east coast teams and California or Hawaiian players
"Penn State usually gathers some of the best guys from the east. I wouldn't say they are less of a team because they don't have guys from California or Hawaii."
"I remember Coach Kosty said a while back that the MPSF tournament is the most difficult tournament to win in college volleyball and I agree. Not only did the tournament prepare us for this week, but the entire season, playing top-notch opponents, has made us ready to face the different types of situations that will come our way. "
On the volleyball community
The volleyball community in the country is very small. There's only a handful of Division 1 men's volleyball programs. Growing up, you go to some of the bigger tournaments and you see all the high level junior volleyball players. A lot of us have come from the USA volleyball pipeline and have made relationships with guys who go to other schools. We keep those relationships as we go on, so I am very familiar with a couple of guys on the Penn State team and friends with a few of them too."
On Hawaiian players
"It's so much part of the culture. Volleyball and football are two of the biggest sports back home. The defensive skills and the ball control - we pride ourselves here."
Brad Lawson, Sophomore Outside Hitter
On being at home for the NCAA Championships
"It's been great to be on the same routine and be at home in front of all our rowdy fans, as they call them. It's awesome to have so much support out there on the court. Just being at home, being able to go to class everyday, and just staying on that routine keeps us focused."
On being Pac-10 Player of the Year
"Volleyball is a quintessential team sport. There's three people who touch the ball every single time the ball comes over the net, so you really can't do it with a single person. It's a great individual honor to be recognized, but it's a reflection of the team, the coaching staff, and the weight training staff who has gotten me to this level. It's also a great team honor as well."