By Cybele Zhang
In preparation for the first round of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Men’s Volleyball Tournament (MPSF), which will begin on Saturday, the conference released its All-MPSF Volleyball Selections yesterday, April 11. No. 8 Stanford (15-10, 6-6 MPSF) and No. 12 Brigham Young (12-11, 6-6 MPSF) both have five selections and are tied for the most.
Stanford will play BYU this Saturday in Maples Pavilion in the MPSF Quarterfinals.
Four Cardinal players — senior libero Kyle Dagostino, senior outside hitter Jordan Ewert, sophomore opposite Jaylen Jasper and sophomore middle blocker Kyler Presho —were selected to the second team. Junior setter Paul Bischoff was an honorable mention, awarding nearly the entire starting lineup. Stanford now has 102 all-conference selections all-time.
This comes as Dagostino’s first career All-MPSF honor, and he is the only libero selected to the top three 2019 teams. The Tampa native leads the Cardinal in digs per set with 2.02 and is an integral part of Stanford’s defense, reliably delivering playable balls. Earlier this season, he was twice named MPSF Defensive Player of the Week.
The honor is Ewert’s second All-MPSF selection after earning an honorable mention as a sophomore. This season, the Antioch native put up double-digit kills in 19 matches and had 20 plus kills four times. The 6-foot-4 senior leads the Cardinal in kills with 322 on the season and averages 3.54 kills per set on hitting 0.306. He also has an impressive 17 aces on the season. Ewert earned MPSF Offensive Player of the Week honors on Jan. 21.
Jasper won first-team honors as a freshman and is back for more, having played as both an opposite and outside hitter this season. He registered a career-high whopping 29 kills on Feb. 14 in a five-set victory over No. 3 Southern California (16-9, 7-5 MPSF). It was the most kills by an MPSF player in two years. Jasper leads the Cardinal in kills per set with 3.73 and in aces with 20. He has had double-digit kills in 17 matches this year, including three games with 20 plus kills. This season, the Annapolis, Maryland native was twice named MPSF Offensive Player of the Week.
Presho is also a repeat pick, having won an honorable mention for the 2018 season. The San Clemente native led the MPSF in hitting percentage in the regular season with 0.468 and performed even better in league matches, hitting 0.07. He also has 150 kills on the season. Despite his reliable performance, the 6-foot-8 middle was not named as a MPSF Player of the Week this year.
Bischoff has been a key component in Stanford’s offense this year after missing the majority of last season due to injury, and his first career All-MPSF selection is well earned. The Wheaton, Illinois native is second in the conference with 10.27 assists per set and is tied with Ewert for a team-high four double-doubles on the season. Bischoff has grown enormously this season and has registered career-highs in kills, digs and blocks in 2019. On Jan. 14, he earned MPSF Defensive Player of the Week.
Pepperdine redshirt senior outside hitter David Wieczorek won the highest honor: MPSF Player of the Year, becoming the fourth all-time back-to-back winner. Most recently the Cougars’ Taylor Sander won in both 2012 and 2013 before going on to become an Olympics medalist with Team USA in 2016.
Despite Stanford’s numerous honors, one glaring omission is junior middle blocker Stephen Moye, who has consistently started for the Cardinal. The 6-foot-9 El Segundo native averaged 2.19 kills per set on hitting 0.437 and has 13 service aces. On the defensive side, Moye is essential for Stanford and leads the Cardinal in blocks (80) and blocks per set (0.90).
Stanford cannot celebrate these honors too early, however, as they will face a powerful Brigham Young team at home on Saturday. BYU also picked up five awards including the coveted MPSF Freshman for the Year for outsider hitter Davide Gardini’s impressive performance this season. Gardini will be one to watch is weekend and may potentially spoil the Cardinal’s hope of making it to the MPSF Semifinal.
First serve will be at 7:00 p.m. PST on April 13 in Maples.