THIS WEEK: No. 10 Stanford (3-0) hosts defending national champion and top-ranked Ohio State (3-0) for its home openers, Jan. 13-14 at 7 p.m. Friday’s match will be played in Maples Pavilion, while Saturday’s match will take place in Burnham Pavilion. Admission is free.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Live stats for the matches can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page on GoStanford.com. Friday’s match will be televised on Pac-12 Bay Area, while Saturday’s competition will be live streamed for free on pac-12.com (link on GoStanford.com).
POSTMATCH AUTOGRAPHS: Fans can stick around after Friday’s match against Ohio State to receive a free men’s volleyball poster and get autographs from the team.
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).
SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES: The 2016 NCAA champions, the Buckeyes have opened 2017 with a 3-0 record with wins over USC, No. 2 UCLA and No. 11 George Mason. Outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen was tabbed the AVCA National Player of the Week and the MIVA Offensive Player of the Week. The junior is averaging 4.00 kills on .395 hitting this season. Senior setter Christy Blough directs the offense with 10.55 assists per set. Heading into Friday’s match, Stanford is 10-0 alltime against Ohio State.
IN THE POLL: Stanford is ranked No. 10 in this week’s AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Poll after opening the season at No. 9. The Cardinal is one of nine MPSF squads to appear in the top 15.
LAST TIME OUT: Stanford opened the 2017 season with three wins at the UCSB Asics Invitational over Mount Olive (3-0), Quincy (3-1) and McKendree (3-0). As a team, Stanford hit .381 in the three matches, while holding its opponents to a .176 clip. The Cardinal also served well, notching 2.60 aces per set. Redshirt senior Gabriel Vega paced the team with 3.67 kills per set on . 342 hitting, while sophomore Jordan Ewert added 3.33 kills, 1.67 digs and 0.89 aces. Redshirt junior middle blocker Kevin Rakestraw added 2.80 kills on a .615 attack percentage and 0.90 blocks per set.
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.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: After the first weekend of play, Stanford is second in the MPSF in aces per set (2.60) and fourth in hitting percentage (.381) and opponent hitting percentage (.176). The Cardinal also ranks in the top half of the conference in kills (13.00) and assists per set (11.80).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 177-115 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.