Conference Opener At Stanford

Alex Da Pron, Otavio Souza, RYan Boyce, Kevin Sagers, Joe Kauliakamoa and Futi Tavana of the 2011 BYU men's volleyball team. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

The No. 2 BYU men's volleyball team will begin its conference season this weekend against the defending 2010 national champions, No. 4 Stanford, on Jan. 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. PT in California.

Traveling with a 3-0 record to start the season after winning the annual Gaucho Invitational on UC Santa Barbara campus, the Cougars will play matches four and five of their 7-game road streak to kick off the 2011 season.

True freshman Taylor Sander currently leads the team with 40 kills and 16 digs on 11 sets. Sander was named All-Tournament MVP at the Invitational and MPSF Player of the Week after his first showing in a BYU jersey.

Teammates Robb Stowell, Futi Tavana, Steve Rindfleisch and Otavio Souza are also in double-figure kills with 27, 18, 12 and 12, respectively. The Cougars are thus far out-hitting their opponents 127-44.

Stanford (1-0) was picked to finish third in the MPSF and is returning three starters, including All-America libero Erik Shoji, and 13 letterwinners overall.

Stanford enters the conference season having won seven consecutive matches and 17 consecutive sets. The last time they lost a match at UCLA in its penultimate 2010 regular season contest of 2010. Last season, the Cougars and Cardinal split the two-game series on BYU's home court.

Live stats for both games can be followed on Gametracker through the Stanford athletics schedule page. Click HERE for a link.

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