Iolani alum Lawson leads Stanford to NCAA volleyball title
STANFORD, Calif. — Brad Lawson, an 'Iolani School alum from Honolulu, carried Stanford to the NCAA volleyball championship, finishing with 23 kills as the Cardinal beat Penn State in three sets today.
Spencer McLachlin, a Punahou alum, added 12 kills and Evan Romero had 11 as the Cardinal (24-6) won their first title since 1997 with the 30-25, 30-20, 30-18 victory.
National player of the year Kawika Shoji, an 'Iolani alum, added 47 assists and 10 digs for Stanford, which hit .495 as a team — with Lawson hitting an impressive .821.
"You talk about being in a zone, which Brad was, you don't say anything to him, you let him be," Stanford coach John Kosty said. "This whole team was in the moment. We were just playing volleyball. It was special to have it on our home court, where special things can happen. Brad did special things."
Will Price had 15 kills to lead the Nittany Lions (24-8), the defending national champions who played in their 14th NCAA final. Joe Sunder added 12 kills and Max Lipsitz 10.
Stanford's Erik Shoji, a Punahou alum, had 10 digs, including several that kept rallies alive. His Penn State counterpart Dave Del Valle was equally efficient with 12 digs.
"It's been a fairy tale," Romero said. "We wanted to end this the right way. Coach Kosty did an amazing job and was extremely patient with us. We couldn't want anything else."
Edgardo Goas had 38 assists for the Nittany Lions, who have reached the national semifinals in 12 consecutive years.
"I'm not sure there was a team in the country that would have stopped them tonight," Penn State coach Mark Pavlik said. "I've never seen such a dominating force from an outside hitter. Kawika was putting the ball on the tee for him and Brad wasn't interested in giving us any long rallies."
Stanford never trailed in the third set.
"Brad was unconscious," Price said. "I can't describe how well they played. It was unreal. We didn't end up on the right side of things as far as we're concerned but it was intense and got the adrenaline going. It was fun playing that match."
Other players from Hawaii on the Cardinal roster are Jordan Inafuku (Kamehameha), Max Halvorson (Punahou) and Chandler Ka'a'a (Kamehameha-Hawai'i).