#9 Stanford Clinches MPSF Playoff Berth

  0 volleymob | April 04th, 2017 | College - Men's Indoor, MPSF, News

THIS WEEK: No. 9 Stanford (12-11, 7-9 MPSF) concludes the regular season this week, traveling to No. 5 UC Irvine (17-6, 11-5 MPSF) on Friday at 7 p.m. and UC San Diego (7-17, 3-13 MPSF) on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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 streamed live on ucirvinesports.com, while Saturday’s match can be seen at ucsdtritons.tv for a fee.

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 ANTEATERS: UC Irvine is on a six-match winning streak with its most recent victory coming 3-1 over the Cardinal at Maples Pavilion. The Anteaters remain in fourth place in the conference standings and have already clinched a MPSF Tournament berth. UCI is hitting .317 as a team and rank in the top half of the conference in assists (12.63), kills (13.37), aces (1.43) and opponent hitting percentage (.259). Senior opposite Tamir Hershko leads the team with 3.14 kills and 3.61 points per set. Freshman middle blocker Scott Stadick is fourth in the MPSF with 1.11 blocks per set and fifth with a .445 attack percentage. Senior setter Michael Saeta controls the offense with 9.17 assists per set and is second in the league with 0.61 aces per set.

SCOUTING THE TRITONS: UC San Diego is 3-13 in the MPSF and will host Pepperdine on Friday before facing the Cardinal on Saturday. UCSD is hitting .234 as a team and collects 2.16 blocks per set. Junior Tanner Syftestad paces the team and ranks fourth in the MPSF in kills (4.15) and points (4.87), and is ninth in aces (0.32). Junior setter Milosh Stojcic turns in 9.13 assists per set directing the offense, while freshman libero Ryan Lew anchors the defense with 2.01 digs per set.

IT’S OUR ANNIVERSARY: The 2017 season marks the 20th anniversary of Stanford’s first NCAA championship team. The 1997 squad brought home the title for the Cardinal in its third appearance in the finals. To finish off a 15-7, 15-10, 9-15, 6-15, 15-13 victory over UCLA in the NCAA final, Matt Fuerbringer and Mike Hoefer combined for a block to deliver the championship in Columbus, Ohio. Mike Lambert had 27 kills, Andy Witt 19, and Keenan Whitehurst had 17 kills, nine blocks and a .617 hitting percentage. Lambert was named MVP of the NCAA Final Four and Whitehurst was named to the all-tournament team.

LAST TIME OUT: Stanford split its home matches against UC Irvine (L, 3-1) and UC San Diego (W, 3-2) last week to close out the home portion of its schedule. The win over the Tritons on Senior Night clinched an MPSF playoff spot for Stanford for the ninth time in 11 seasons under head coach John Kosty. Redshirt senior Gabriel Vega led the way, averaging 3.78 kills and 4.00 points per set in the two matches. Moving back to the opposite position, Vega matched his career-high with 21 kills against UCSD as the Cardinal improved to 4-0 in five-set matches this season.

PLAYOFF SCENARIOS: Stanford holds a two-way tie over UCSB (1-0 matches) and USC (137-131 points). In a three-way with Pepperdine and USC, Stanford is No. 2 in line for the highest seed. The Cardinal loses out to Pepperdine on points vs. the group (310-318), but the tiebreaker then reverts back to head-to-head for the remaining tied teams, which Stanford has over USC (1-1 head-on matches, 3-3 sets, 137-131 head-to-head points).

IN THE POLL: Stanford remained at No. 9 in the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Poll this week after splitting its final regular season home matches. The Cardinal is one of nine MPSF squads to appear in the top 15.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Stanford ranks 14th nationally with 12.08 kills per set, while also appearing in the top 20 as a team in digs (8.65), assists (11.39) and blocks (2.18) per set. Individually, Kevin Rakestraw’s .435 hitting percentage is fifth in the nation, while junior Evan Enriques is 10th with 2.43 digs per set.

FILLING THE VOID: Stanford graduated 55 percent of its offensive output from last season, leaving holes that need to be filled. Redshirt senior Gabriel Vega is leading the Cardinal this season with 224 kills (2.91 kps), while sophomore Jordan Ewert has tallied 198 total kills (3.60 kps). Kevin Rakestraw is third on the team with 174 kills (2.15 kps) as a middle.

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 186-126 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.

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