In sweep, Men's VB grabs 1st title since '97

The prophesy of longtime and beloved late Stanford assistant Al Roderigues became reality as Stanford men's volleyball completed its journey from "Worst to First" in a triumphant fashion, sweeping Penn State 3-0 (30-25, 30-20, 30-18) before a sell-out crowd in Maples Pavilion Saturday. The final point came most fittingly, on an emphatic Brad Lawson spike off a pinpoint set from Kawika Shoji.

Stanford executed its game plan to perfection, keeping the serves away from Penn State's All-American libero Dennis del Valle, and focusing the serves on Penn State's outside hitters. Their less than perfect passing took Penn State out of their offensive game by limiting the sets to three-time All American middle hitter Max Lipsitz, who was held to only 10 kills for the match. This strategy helped Stanford's stout defense limit Penn State to .222 hitting for the match. Stanford also held a commanding 8.0 to 4.5 edge in team blocks for the match.

Stanford's execution also extended to the offensive game, where they hit an astounding .495. Stanford was led by its own All-American and MPSF Player of the Year, Brad Lawson, who hit an otherworldly .821 in registering 24 kills and just one error. Brad's .821 percentage was the second-highest hitting percentage ever in an NCAA championship match.

In addition to Brad Lawson's epic performance, the rest of the starting lineup also had impressive offensive totals, with junior OH Spencer McLachlin registering 12 kills on .391 hitting, and senior OPP Evan Romero with 11 kills. Senior MH Garrett Werner had another strong night at the net with six block assists and sophomore L Erik Shoji had yet another stellar night in the back row with 10 digs.

Penn State kept the first set close. The set was tied at 19-19 before Stanford began to pull away on a series of attack and service errors by Penn State, and Stanford closed out the match on a Romero ace and a kill to win 30-25. The second set started with Penn State pulling out to a 10-5 lead before Stanford clawed its way back on several kills from Brad Lawson and Garrett Werner. Stanford again broke down the Penn State passing game, ending with an ace by Lawson, to win comfortably 30-20.

Stanford came out fast in the third game, jumping to a 10-6 lead. They then kept their foot on the gas behind several kills from McLachlin and Lawson to complete the sweep with a 30-18 win, finishing the match on one last blast from Brad Lawson.

Erik Shoji and Evan Romero were named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team. Kawika Shoji and Brad Lawson were named Co-Most Outstanding Players for the Tournament. Congratulations to the team on its championship -- the Stanford Athletic Department's streak of team championships now extends to 35 consecutive years!

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