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Men’s volleyball snaps three-match skid to split road trip

The No. 6 Stanford men’s volleyball team remained on the road this week — after two loses on the road last week — and looked to reverse its struggles with away matches. The Cardinal returned to campus on Sunday with some success, losing its first match against No. 7 BYU but beating Cal Baptist the next day in three sets.

Senior outside hitter Steven Irvin

Senior outside hitter Steven Irvin (above) turned in another great performance in a losing effort against BYU, recording 15 kills and a .370 hitting percentage. (ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily)

The Cougars (6-2, 6-0 MPSF) beat the Cardinal (4-3, 1-3) in four close sets 25-20, 19-25, 25-23, 25-21. The Smith Fieldhouse again provided BYU with a strong home-court advantage thanks to the high-intensity environment of more than 5,000 people.

Senior outside hitter Steven Irvin once again led Stanford, hitting .370 for the night with 15 kills. Senior Eric Mochalski came off the bench and played an impressive match with 10 kills and four digs. Junior middle Spencer Haly also had a perfect hitting night, with 8 kills and no errors on nine swings.

Despite Stanford’s consistent offensive performance, BYU out-hit Stanford .347 to .325 and out-blocked the Cardinal 10.5 to 7. Three BYU players put up double-digit kills, and the Cougars hit a match-high .586 in the fourth and final set.

While Stanford was able to win the second set after losing the first, BYU played a more aggressive match overall and was able to limit Stanford’s offense to 10 kills in the fourth set. The combination of BYU out-hitting Stanford along with BYU’s strong home court advantage that helped elevate their performance in critical moments proved to be too much for Stanford.

The next day, Stanford returned to California and faced Cal Baptist. The team gained a much-needed win in a three-set match, beating Cal Baptist 25-15, 25-18, 25-18. Stanford had a great passing game, with strong communication and consistency.

The service game also helped the Cardinal gain an edge over the Lancers. Stanford hit .408 for the night and held Cal Baptist to a .176 with a strong blocking defense. Sophomore setter James Shaw had a terrific night with 31 assists, five kills and four blocks. The win provided the Cardinal with a confidence boost after a three-match losing streak. Stanford is in a good position to build on the momentum, with its next two matches at home — where they are undefeated.

Head coach John Kosty’s squad will host Long Beach State on Friday at 7 p.m. The Cardinal will also welcome Cal State Northridge to the Farm on Saturday at 7 p.m. Both matches will be at Maples Pavilion.

Contact Eliza Thompson at elizat ‘at’

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