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Men’s volleyball returns home, rebounds with two strong wins
Senior outside hitter Madison Hayden (middle) posted a team-high 17 kills while hitting at a .452 clip in the team's four-set victory against No. 4 UC Irvine over the weekend. (LARRY GE/ The Stanford Daily)

Men’s volleyball returns home, rebounds with two strong wins

After starting its season on the road, No. 8 Stanford men’s volleyball (5-1, MPSF 3-1) returned home and defeated the UC San Diego Tritons (1-5, 0-4) and No. 4 UC Irvine Anteaters (2-4, 1-3) at Burnham Pavilion this weekend.

Despite coming off of a loss to then-No. 1 BYU last weekend, the Cardinal quickly swept UC San Diego, taking the match 25-16, 25-20, 25-19.

The Tritons were plagued by errors in the first set. Their first two serves didn’t clear the net, and the team finished out the set with as many attack errors as kills, resulting in a .000 hitting percentage. Stanford capitalized and pulled ahead with a series of blocks by senior middle blocker Conrad Kaminski. After going up 8-2 on strong service from senior outside hitter Madison Hayden, the Cardinal maintained at least a four-point lead, taking the set 25-16 on an ace from senior Gabriel Vega.

UCSD kept the score close for much of the second set, but Stanford took control in the second half. After San Diego tied the score at 13-13, Stanford went on a 6-1 tear, which proved to be the deciding factor as the teams traded blows for a final score of 25-20.

After jumping out to an early lead in the third, the Tritons faltered. Stanford reclaimed the lead at 16-15 and never looked back. Vega came into his own, leading the team with 8 kills. He finished the night with a match-high 12 kills on 20 attempts.

Senior setter James Shaw tallied 28 assists along with two kills and five service aces on the night.

On Saturday evening, the Cardinal upset No. 4 UC Irvine in four hard-fought sets in front of a full and enthusiastic home crowd.

The Cardinal dominated the first set with a tight, diverse offense. Their 13 kills were shared among six players, and the team registered only a single attacking error compared to the Anteaters’ 5. After jumping ahead at 9-8, Stanford maintained its lead to take the set 25-19.

After the second set was tied at 9, the Anteaters surged ahead and the Cardinal could not recover. The Irvine defense reigned, limiting the Cardinal to 8 kills. UCI junior opposite Tamir Hershko and freshman opposite Karl Apfelbach combined for 12 kills in the set, including a series of five to finish it off at 25-15.

Stanford returned with a vengeance in the third set, jumping ahead 7-6 and never looking back. Despite a late rally from the Anteaters, the Cardinal maintained their lead, taking the set 25-20 and a 2-1 lead in the match.

The fourth set came down to the final points and featured 15 tie scores and four lead changes. Despite an early lead from Stanford, UCI took control when the score was tied at 10, going on a 7-4 tear before Stanford tied it back up. From then on, the teams remained neck and neck with UCI tying the score at 24-24. A pair errors from the Anteaters sealed the deal for the Cardinal, who took the match with a final set score of 26-24.

“It’s felt really good,” said Madison Hayden, regarding the team’s impressive start, “But honestly, these were our expectations for this year. We have a really strong team.”

Hayden led the team with 17 kills. The Cardinal also capitalized on his strong service, as he led the team with .909 percentage on 22 attempts.

James Shaw again demonstrated his control of the offense, registering 41 assists, spreading out the attack and executing several smooth tips at the net.

“We’re playing well as a team right now,” said head coach John Kosty. “From the bench to the starters, we’re one cohesive unit, and that’s what’s bringing us through in tight games.”

The Cardinal will head back out on the road to take on California Baptist and No. 15 USC next weekend, with the latter being broadcast on Pac-12 Networks. Friday’s first serve is at 7 p.m., and the matchup with the Trojans begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

 

Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Olivia Hummer

Olivia Hummer '17 is a managing editor of The Daily's sports section and writes about volleyball, football and baseball. When she's not filling in as an emergency copy editor, she can be found curled up in a ball bemoaning the misfortunes of her beloved Seattle Mariners or cursing the misuse of the Stanford Athletics logo. Olivia is a senior majoring in history from Covina, California, and can be reached at ohummer 'at' stanford.edu.