THIS WEEK: No. 9 Stanford begins the 2017 season on the road at the UCSB Tournament. The Cardinal will face Mount Olive and Quincy on Friday, Jan. 6 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. Stanford will also take on McKendree on Jan. 7 at 1:30 p.m. in Santa Barbara.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Fans have access to unique behind-the-scenes content on the team by liking Stanford Men’s Volleyball on Facebook or following the team on Twitter (@StanfordMVB) and Instagram (@therealstanfordmvb).
IN THE POLL: Stanford begins 2017 ranked No. 9 in the preseason AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Poll after landing at No. 6 in the final poll of 2016. It marks the 10th straight season Stanford is ranked in the preseason poll. The Cardinal was one of nine MPSF squads to appear in the top 15.
TOP-RANKED CLASS: Freshmen Eric Beatty (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Paul Bischoff (Wheaton, Ill.) were named AVCA First Team High School All-Americans. Stanford was one of three teams nationally with two selections to the first team. Jacob Thoenen (St. Charles, Mo.) and Eli Wopat (Santa Barbara, Calif.) earned second team honors, while Stephen Moye (El Segundo, Calif.) and Mason Tufuga (Costa Mesa, Calif.) round out the Cardinal’s freshman class, which was rated No. 1 in the nation by VolleyballMag.com.
Welcome to the Farm! pic.twitter.com/DvALbPspkD
— Men’s Volleyball (@StanfordMVB) September 20, 2016
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION: Mount Olive, out of the Conference Carolinas, finished 11-7 in league play and 12-12 overall. The Trojans are an experienced team with nine upperclassmen on their roster of 15. Quincy, which plays in the MIVA, was 18-23 in 2016 and 4-12 in the conference. The Hawks are led by senior middle blocker Jarrod Kelso, who averaged 2.56 kills and 1.07 blocks per set while hitting .406 in 2016. McKendree, which was picked to finish fifth in the MIVA, opened the season on Wednesday with a tough 3-2 loss at No. 5 Pepperdine. The Bearcats are in just their fourth season of men’s volleyball, return all of their starters from 2016 and boast eight seniors on its roster.
ALL-AMERICANS: Stanford led the nation with three AVCA first-team All-Americans, and totaled four overall in 2016. Seniors Conrad Kaminski and James Shaw, and libero Evan Enriques were placed on the first team, while senior Madison Hayden collected honorable mention honors. The selections brought Stanford’s total AVCA All-America award count to 55 honors spread over 25 players. It marked the second time in the past three seasons in which the Cardinal had produced four All-Americans. However, only Enriques returns to the roster this season.
ALL-MPSF: Last season, senior James Shaw was named the MPSF Player of the Year, just the third in program history, and was joined on the All-MPSF first team by Conrad Kaminski. Senior Madison Hayden and Evan Enriques garnered second-team accolades, while Kevin Rakestraw secured honorable mention recognition.
COACHES POLL: Stanford was picked to finish seventh in the MPSF by the league’s coaches. BYU garnered nine-first place votes and was picked to be the champion. UCLA, which collected three first-place votes, came in second followed by Long Beach State.
MPSF coaches pick the Cardinal 7th in the preseason poll. Season begins Jan. 6 » https://t.co/25IJUErtBO
— Men’s Volleyball (@StanfordMVB) December 13, 2016
2016 RECAP: Stanford (19-6, 17-5 MPSF) may have surprised some people at the start of the 2016 season, winning seven of its first eight matches (including five on the road). However, with a healthy James Shaw quarterbacking the offense and veteran players in key positions, the Cardinal had high expectations for the season. After being picked to finish eighth by the MPSF coaches, Stanford tied for second in the league and produced five All-MPSF selections, including Shaw being tabbed the Player of the Year. The Cardinal also led the nation in 2016 with three AVCA first-team All-Americans.
OFF THE BLOCK PRESEASON RECOGNITION: Evan Enriques was the first winner of the Erik Shoji Award, given to the nation’s top libero by Off The Block. The junior was named a first team preseason All-American by the site, which collected votes from head coaches around the nation. Jordan Ewert, Kevin Rakestraw, Gabriel Vega and Paul Bischoff all received votes.
GETTING IT DONE IN THE CLASSROOM: Senior Conrad Kaminski was named to the CoSIDA Men’s At-large Academic All-America first team, boasting a 3.58 GPA in mechanical engineering. He was joined on the on the MPSF All-Academic team by Madison Hayden, Kevin Rakestraw, James Shaw, Alex Stephanus and Gabriel Vega.
Congrats to all 6 of our MPSF All-Academic Team selection » https://t.co/tbarFwOTWe
— Men’s Volleyball (@StanfordMVB) May 26, 2016
OPPORTUNITY AHEAD: Stanford’s four seniors in 2016 – Madison Hayden, Conrad Kaminski, James Shaw and Alex Stephanus – accounted for 55 percent of the team’s kills. That gives the 2017 Cardinal plenty of opportunity to step up and have an impact on this season’s team.
DEFENSIVE-MINDED: Last season, Stanford ranked second in the MPSF with 9.05 digs per set. Libero Evan Enriques led the conference with 2.53 digs per set and is back for his junior campaign. The Cardinal also ranked third in blocks per set as a team (2.71), led by senior Conrad Kaminski who paced the nation with 1.45 blocks per set.
FOREIGN TOUR: In late August, Stanford embarked on a tour which spanned two weeks and five countries. It began in Italy, where the Cardinal faced off against recent alum James Shaw and his Padova team, and took the squad to Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and the Czech Republic. The trip was a mixture of competition, sightseeing and cultural experiences for the team.
HEAD COACH JOHN KOSTY: Stanford head coach John Kosty is in his 11th season at the helm of the Cardinal program and his 27th overall on staff. He is 174-115 in his career and has guided Stanford to the 2010 NCAA national championship and the 2014 NCAA finals. The Cardinal has produced a first team AVCA All-America selection in eight of the past nine seasons under Kosty.