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Men’s volleyball faces first road test at USC, Pepperdine

On Friday night, No. 2 Stanford Men’s Volleyball (4-0, 1-0 MPSF) heads to southern California to take on No. 7 USC (1-1, 1-1 MPSF) in its first road test of the season.

Memories of 2012 are fresh in Stanford’s mind, when the Cardinal fell to the Trojans in both of last season’s contests, extending the series losing streak to four. USC made it all the way to the NCAA championship game before falling to UC Irvine in three sets.

The Cardinal is coming off its most exciting win of the season on Saturday against Pacific. The Cardinal faced three match points at 14-11 in the fifth and final set before finally prevailing, 19-17.

Juniors Brian Cook and Eric Mochalski have been stalwarts for Stanford — Cook leads the team with 4.21 kills per set and Mochalski leads the Card with 1.50 blocks per set — but perhaps the biggest story of the season is the play of freshman James Shaw. Shaw, a 6-foot7 setter from Woodside, Calif., has been thrown into the MPSF fire, and the Cardinal is excited to see how he progresses with experience.

Don’t think that Stanford’s No. 2 ranking will intimidate the Trojans. Its last time out, USC swept No. 1 UC Irvine, the defending NCAA Champions. The Trojans dominated the Anteaters on their own court, holding UC Irvine to .183 hitting.

Sophomore middle blocker Robert Feathers hit .526 with six blocks to lead USC. Feathers’ performances against UC-Irvine and UC-San Diego earned him AVCA National Player of the Week honors.

With both teams coming into the game on an emotional high, excitement around the matchup is growing. Friday night’s game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, the first ever appearance for either team on the newly created platform.

Stanford will stay down in the Los Angeles area for the rest of the weekend, taking on the No. 4 Pepperdine Waves (1-1, 1-1 MPSF) in Malibu on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. Pepperdine has lost six straight to Stanford, and will look to break the streak on its home court, where the Waves have a winning percentage of .769. Junior middle blocker Parker Kalmbach, who is coming off a 10-block performance against UC-San Diego, will look to wreak havoc on the Cardinal attack.

Tip against the Trojans will be at 6 p.m. on Friday, with the match against Pepperdine going live at 5 p.m. on Sunday evening.

Contact Sam Fisher at safisher@stanford.edu. 

About Sam Fisher

Sam Fisher is the managing editor of sports for The Stanford Daily's Vol. 244. Sam also does play-by-play for KZSU's coverage of Stanford football, Stanford baseball and Stanford women's basketball. In 2013, Sam co-authored "Rags to Roses: The Rise of Stanford Football," with Joseph Beyda and George Chen.