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Men’s volleyball gets back on track in Pennsylvania
Freshman outside hitter Eric Beatty led the Stanford offense with 10 kills in a 3-1 victory against Lees-McRae. (BILL DALLY/isiphotos.com)

Men’s volleyball gets back on track in Pennsylvania

No. 8 Stanford men’s volleyball (10-7, 6-5 MPSF) broke its unlucky spell, coming up with a 3-1 win against Lees-McRae (5-11, 3-6 Conference Carolinas) on Friday night in Pennsylvania. The Cardinal came in clutch as they outdid the Bobcats 25-16, 25-21, 22-25, 25-15, manifesting the depth of their roster by utilizing both an accurate offense and a powerful defense to quell their opponents.

The Cardinal had been experiencing a bit of a drought, losing to unranked underdog USC mid-February and then twice to No. 3 BYU later in the month. Thus, a win was exactly what the team needed to put them back into gear, especially before a tight matchup against No.15 Penn State on Saturday.

Junior setter Kyle Dagostino was first up to serve, winning a point for the Cardinal and beginning the night with positive energy and momentum. Although the Bulldogs notched the second point of the set, the Cardinal were not willing to give up easy. The two teams kept neck and neck, trading points until reaching a 10-9 lead for the Cardinal. As freshman standout middle blocker Stephen Moye came up to serve, his team seemed to finally push it into high gear, winning consecutive points and putting themselves in the lead, 15-9.

Here, Lees-McRae was able to reestablish itself and gain a couple points before Stanford once again took control of the match with senior middle Kevin Rakestraw serving. A kill by senior outside hitter Clay Jones won the set.

The Bulldogs came back with a vengeance in the second set, quickly notching the first point and keeping a slight lead over the top-ten ranked Cardinal. The underdogs kept the lead, staying up by as much as four, until Stanford managed to tie the game 11-11. The home team maintained a close lead, but the Cardinal were ultimately able to surpass and surmount their opponents, winning the set off of a kill by sophomore middle Chris Moore.

Like the previous two sets, the third started with point swapping that kept both teams on edge in a close and unpredictable matchup. This time, Lees-McRae not only stole the lead, but succeeded in retaining it, putting a significant margin between themselves and the star Cardinal lineup. Bulldog Hector Serviat took the set, and the match became two sets to one in favor of Stanford.

The Cardinal started the final set off right with a kill by Jones, who was playing in his third match of the season after an unfortunate injury in the season opener. The Bulldogs didn’t take long to retaliate, and the two teams once again exchanged points, with the Cardinal keeping a tight but indefinite lead. After a set by Dagostino led to a kill by Rakestraw, the Cardinal gained a 6-3 lead. This was followed up by four attack errors by the opposing team and topped with an ace, putting the Stanford squad up 11-3 in the first set.

This upward trend continued for the Cardinal, who managed to get to 20-10 before giving up a couple points to the Bulldogs. Multiple kills by freshman middle blocker Jacob Thoenen and a final strike by Dagostino won the match for the Cardinal, putting them en route for a possible renewed winning streak.

The Stanford defense held their foe’s offense to a meager .069 attack percentage, racking up 12.0 blocks. Both the usual starters and the deep bench played, as 13 of the 18 Cardinal team members were put onto the court, conveying the bandwidth of the team.

Stanford men’s volleyball will press to build on Friday night’s win in a tough matchup against Penn State on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Like Friday’s game, it will be played at Penn State’s home court in State College, Pennsylvania.

 

Contact Laura Sussman at laura111 ‘at’ stanford.edu.