THIS WEEK: Stanford (1-7) continues a seven-match road trip on at No. 4 UC Irvine (9-1) on Friday at 7 p.m.and at UC San Diego (6-2) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Friday’s match will be streamed online via BigWest.TV, while Saturday’s contest can be viewed at UCSDtritons.tv. The live stream and live stats links for the matches can be found on the men’s volleyball schedule page on GoStanford.com.
ABOUT UC IRVINE: UC Irvine moved up to No. 4 in the AVCA poll this week, having won seven straight including a pair of victories over then-No. 5 BYU last week. The Anteaters are hitting .338 as a team and posting 2.42 blocks per set. Junior opposite Karl Apfelbach leads the squad with 3.95 kills per set on .318 hitting, while freshman outside hitter Joel Schneidmiller adds 2.78 kills per set on a .436 attack percentage. Junior setter Dante Chakravorti controls the offense with 10.24 assists per set, while sophomore middle blocker Scott Stadick is third in the nation with 1.35 blocks per set. UC Irvine assistant coach Mark Presho, who is in his 14th season with the Anteaters, is the father of Stanford freshman middle blocker Kyler Presho.
ABOUT UC SAN DIEGO: UC San Diego has started the season 6-2 overall with both losses coming at the hands of ranked opponents. The Tritons are hitting .300 as a team and are led by redshirt senior Tanner Syftestad. The opposite paces the country with 5.39 kills per set on a .363 hitting and 1.07 blocks per set. Senior setter Milosh Stojcic runs the offense with 9.73 assists per set, while senior middle blocker Alec Flowers is ninth nationally with 1.19 blocks per set.
LAST TIME OUT: Stanford fell 3-0 at No. 1 Long Beach State last week, falling to 1-7 overall. Freshman Jaylen Jasper led all players with 12 kills, while sophomore Eric Beatty returned to the lineup with six kills and two digs. The Beach out hit the Cardinal .500 to .060, holding Stanford to its lowest output of the season.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Stanford ranks 18th as a team nationally with 8.54 digs per set (2nd – MPSF) and 22nd with 11.64 kills per set. Individually, senior Evan Enriques is eighth in the nation with 2.57 digs per set, while Kevin Rakestraw is 12th with a .413 attack percentage.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Senior libero Evan Enriques is one of four in his immediate family to currently be playing collegiate men’s volleyball. His younger brother, Emmett, is a junior libero at CSUN, while twins Addison and Avery are freshmen at Concordia and Grand Canyon, respectively.
COACHES POLL: Stanford, along with Pepperdine, was picked to finish third in the MPSF by the league’s coaches. BYU, which received four first-place votes, was picked to win the MPSF for the third straight season, while UCLA collected two first-place votes and came in second.
NEW-LOOK MPSF: Each MPSF team will play 12 conference matches this season, featuring a home and away against each opponent. The 2018 MPSF Tournament begins with seed two, three and four hosting a quarterfinal match on April 14. The conference semifinals will be played on April 19 at the No. 1 seed. Semifinal winners will meet on April 21 for the championship with an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament on the line.
NEWCOMERS: Freshmen JP Reilly (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Leo Henken (Webster Grove, Mo.) were named AVCA First and Second Team High School All-Americans, respectively. Jaylen Jasper (Annapolis, Md.), whose high school did not offer boys’ volleyball, was the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2017, as voted on for VolleyballMag.com, while Kyler Presho (San Clemente, Calif.) rounds out the Cardinal’s freshman class.
OFF THE BLOCK PRESEASON RECOGNITION: Stanford was one of three teams to land two players on the Off The Block/Springbak Preseason All-America teams. Senior Evan Enriques, who was the first winner of the Erik Shoji Award (2016), given to the nation’s top libero by Off The Block and a finalist for the award in 2017, was named to the first team. Fifth-year senior Kevin Rakestraw landed on the second team. Additionally, outside hitter Jordan Ewert received votes, which were collected from coaches around the nation.
HEAD COACH JOHN KOSTY: Stanford head coach John Kosty is in his 12th season at the helm of the Cardinal program and his 28th overall on staff. He is 188-135 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 10 seasons under Kosty. Stanford has appeared in the MPSF Tournament in nine of Kosty’s 11 seasons (missing out in 2007 and 2015).