THIS WEEK: No. 8 Stanford (11-9, 6-7 MPSF) returns home for the first time in three weeks to play host to ninth-ranked Pepperdine (7-9, 5-8 MPSF) on Saturday, March 18 at 5 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Live stats for the match can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page on GoStanford.com. Saturday’s match will also be live streamed via pac-12.com.
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).
LAST TIME OUT: Stanford dropped a pair of straight-set decisions last week at No. 4 Hawai’i. The Cardinal hit well in the first match, posting a .311 team hitting percentage, but it marked the first time Stanford hit over .300 and lost a match this season. Hawai’i natives Gabriel Vega (11 kills, .421 hitting %) and Evan Enriques (10 digs, 8 assists) led Stanford in the first outing. In the rematch, Kevin Rakestraw hit .700 (7-0-10) and Clay Jones tallied 10 kills, but Stanford hit just .149 as a team.
SCOUTING THE WAVES: Ranked ninth nationally, Pepperdine snapped a five-match losing streak with a 3-2 win at No. 14 CSUN on Wednesday. The Waves are second in the MPSF with 9.10 digs per set, fifth with 2.29 blocks per set and seventh with a .275 hitting percentage. Senior Mitchell Penning leads the team with a .425 attack percentage and 1.11 blocks per set. Setter Joshua Stewart controls the offense with 9.65 assists per set, while sophomore David Wieczorek paces the team with 3.56 kills per set.
IN THE POLL: Stanford remained at No. 8 for the fourth straight week in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Poll despite dropping a pair of staight-set losses at No.4 Hawaii. The Cardinal is one of 10 MPSF squads to appear in the top 15.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Stanford ranks 15th nationally with 8.79 digs per set, while also appearing in the top 20 as a team in kills (12.13), assists (11.37) and blocks (2.21) per set. Individually, Kevin Rakestraw’s .444 hitting percentage is sixth in the nation, while junior Evan Enriques is 13th with 2.37 digs per set. Sophomore Jordan Ewert’s 3.60 kills per set and 4.15 points per set are 15th and 17th nationally, respectively.
FILLING THE VOID: Stanford graduated 55 percent of its offensive output from last season, leaving holes that need to be filled. Jordan Ewert is leading the Cardinal this season with 198 total kills (3.60 kps), while redshirt senior Gabriel Vega has tallied 174 kills (2.72 kps). Kevin Rakestraw is third on the team with 144 kills (2.12 kps) as a middle.
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.
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 after the 2016 season. The junior was named a first team preseason All-American by the site, which collected votes from head coaches around the nation. Additionally, 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.
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 185-124 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.
News courtesy of Stanford Athletics.