Stanford Volleyball No. 4 in National Rankings
Cardinal hosts weekend exhibitions
Jan. 5, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford men's volleyball team will open its season ranked No. 4 in the both the AVCA coaches' poll and Volleyball Magazine rankings.
Stanford (19-9 in 2011) unveils its team by playing host to Thompson Rivers of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, on Friday at Maples Pavilion and Saturday at Burnham Pavilion in exhibition matches beginning at 7 p.m.
The consensus top two choices among both national polls and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation coaches' poll, is BYU at No. 1 and UC Irvine at No. 2.
The national polls both have UCLA No. 3 and Stanford No. 4, though the MPSF coaches predicted a third-place Stanford finish, with the Bruins just behind.
Stanford returns six of its seven starters, including three-time AVCA first-team All-America libero Erik Shoji and two-time first-team outside hitter Brad Lawson, the co-MVP of the 2011 NCAA tournament.
BYU (20-8 in 2011) returns three All-Americans, while UCI is led by U.S. national-teamer Carson Clark, at opposite. UCLA coach Al Scates returns for his 50th and final season, and will make his final appearance at Stanford in the regular-season finale on April 14 at Maples Pavilion.
In the 15-deep AVCA poll, the top six are from the MPSF and 11 of the 12 conference teams are ranked. The 10-team Volleyball Magazine rankings include seven MPSF teams, including its top four.
Of Stanford's 26 regular-season matches, 23 are against teams in the AVCA poll. Stanford plays every ranked team except No. 13 Lewis. Twelve of the Cardinal's 13 home matches are against ranked teams, though Stanford plays No. 1 BYU only in a pair of road matches, Feb. 3-4 in Provo, Utah.
Stanford (No. 7 in the final 2011 AVCA ranking) opens the season officially at No. 15 Pacific on Jan. 11. Opening night is Jan. 13 against Juniata, an NCAA Division III team, at Maples Pavilion at 7 p.m.
Among other key dates: Jan. 28 at defending NCAA champion Ohio State (No. 8 by the AVCA), Feb. 25 at Maples Pavilion against defending MPSF regular-season champion USC (No. 5), and March 3 at Maples Pavilion against UC Irvine (No. 2).
This weekend's opponent, Thompson Rivers: The former Cariboo College is the home of the WolfPack, which competes in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport, Canada's version of the NCAA.
The WolfPack is in its midseason break after opening with a 2-10 record in Canada West competition. The team will enjoy the sights while in the U.S. to play Pacific on Thursday, and the two matches against the Cardinal.
The WolfPack arrived in Los Angeles on Monday, watched a Los Angeles Clippers game and toured Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach. The team then headed north through Sequoia National Park. While in the Bay Area, it will tour Alcatraz, and see Seattle on its trip back north.
Follow the Action: Both matches against Thompson Rivers can be followed via Gametracker. Follow the links for the live stats site on gostanford.com.
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