Cardinal Mission: Maintain Momentum
Stanford embarks on final regular-season road trip
April 3, 2009
LONG BEACH, Calif. -
The No. 5 Stanford men's volleyball team embarks on the final road trip
of the regular season, armed with a six-match conference winning streak
and the pull of momentum. The Cardinal (17-8, 10-6) has won six
consecutive matches in the rugged Mountain Pacific Sports Federation,
hauling itself from eighth place to sixth. Now, it faces two more Top
10 opponents, No. 7 Long Beach State (10-12, 7-10) and No. 10 UC San
Diego (10-12, 6-11).
On the Internet
Live stats for the Long Beach State
match will be available live via Gametracker. The link can be found on
gostanford.com by the match listing in the Calendar of Events on the
main page or the men's volleyball page. There are no live stats
available for the UC San Diego match.
Another Record to Fall
Last week, junior opposite
hitter Evan Romero broke the school record for career kills in the
rally-scoring era (since 2001). His total of 1,184 ranks ninth all-time
among all Stanford hitters, no matter the era.
However, expect another record to fall, perhaps this weekend. Freshman
libero Erik Shoji already has the school single-season record for digs
in the rally-scoring era (340), but now is also closing in on the
all-time single-season mark, no matter the era. The record is held by
three-time U.S. Olympian Scott Fortune, who had 379 in 1986. Shoji
could break the mark this weekend, but more likely will do it at home
during its pair of home matches against BYU on April 10-11.
Top liberos square off
Erik Shoji and his Long Beach
State counterpart Dustin Watten lead Divisions I and II in total digs.
Shoji has a commanding lead, with 340. Watten is No. 2 at 273. Though
Shoji has a 67-dig lead over Watten, the 49er also has a 39-dig lead
over third place.
Kawika Shoji, Stanford's junior setter and
the brother of Erik, has 169 digs and ranks No. 33 in the nation in
digs per set (2.11). Together, the Shojis have 498 digs. There are no
official records kept in this category, but it seems possible that the
two have more digs than any brother tandem in a single season in NCAA
history. In fact, no two teammates on any Division I or II team have as
many digs as Stanford's Shoji brothers.
Including all NCAA divisions, Erik Shoji holds a narrow lead in total
digs, just ahead of Leandro Dueck of Division III's Philadelphia
Biblical. Dueck has 338 (3.38). He is listed as an outside hitter.
This is the fifth trip to Southern
California that Stanford will have taken this season. The Cardinal is
3-6 on such trips, including 1-5 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
matches. Stanford actually was 0-5 on MPSF SouCal trips until winning a
five-setter at UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 21 in its most recent such
contest. However, while the previous four trips were taken within a
span of five weeks, this one comes with a six-week gap since the
previous one. It is the last regular-season road trip and represents
the only two road matches in a span of 13 contests that conclude the
regular season for Stanford. The Cardinal has been especially strong at
its part-time home, Maples Pavilion, with a 6-0 record there this
Friday's Opponent: Long Beach State
The No. 7 49ers
(10-12, 7-10) are coached by Alan Knipe, who recently was announced as
the new head coach for the U.S. men's national team. Knipe will finish
the collegiate season and then coach the U.S. through the 2012 London
Olympics before returning to Long Beach for the 2013 collegiate
campaign. The 49ers have lost seven consecutive matches in conference
play, and are seeking their first home MPSF victory since Feb. 13.
The Long Beach State Series
Stanford is 2-0 over Long
Beach State this season, including a dramatic
26-30,24-30,33-31,31-29,15-8 victory on Jan. 30 at Maples Pavilion.
Stanford fought off three match points to pull out the third set and
Brad Lawson had 27 kills and a .438 hitting percentage, as well as 11
digs. The earlier victory came in the semifinals of the season-opening
Saturday's Opponent: UC San Diego
The No. 10 Tritons
(10-12, 6-11) are close to achieving their first winning season in
school history. Before this season, UCSD had never been ranked higher
than No. 13 (achieved in 2004). On March 9, UCSD climbed as high as No.
8 in the Bison/AVCA Division I-II Coaches Poll, an all-time best. The
team's highest final ranking is No. 17 (1986), a mark the Tritons are
certain to improve upon.
The UC San Diego Series
Stanford is 33-2 all-time
against UC San Diego and has a five-match winning streak in the series,
with UCSD's last victory coming April 14, 2006, in La Jolla.
The jockeying for prime MPSF
tournament seeds has begun in earnest with Stanford among a cluster of
four schools within one game in the loss column with three weekends of
conference play remaining. Stanford is sixth and hopes for a top-four
regular-season finish, which would ensure a first-round MPSF tournament
Volleyball World Wide
Since 1994, the oldest, and largest, internet site dedicated to the sport of volleyball.