The No. 5 Stanford men’s volleyball team (20-6, 17-5 MPSF) dominated the third-ranked UCLA Bruins (22-7, 16-6) in straight sets, 25-18, 25-21, 25-18, to lay claim to the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament and, in the process, complete the team’s best conference record since the national championship season of 1997.
The emotions promise to run high in Maples Pavilion this weekend, as the seniors on the Stanford men’s volleyball team will play their final two matches at home and have a chance to end their storied careers in style. The fifth-ranked Cardinal (18-6, 15-5 MPSF) will take on the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos (7-17, 5-15) on Friday night before squaring off against No. 3 UCLA (21-6, 15-5) on Saturday in a match that has major conference tournament seeding ramifications.
Much to the relief of the raucous home crowd, the No. 5 Cardinal (18-6, 15-5 MPSF) prevailed against the ever-resilient No. 12 Cal State-Northridge Matadors (11-16, 7-13) in five epic sets, 25-19, 25-21, 22-25, 22-25, 19-17.
Despite a 9-2 conference road record that includes wins over No. 4 BYU and No. 2 UC-Irvine, the Cardinal (16-6, 13-5) finds itself in fifth place in the conference standings as a result of its home struggles. The team is just 4-3 at home in league play. To complete the task at hand, the team will have to defeat the Long Beach State 49ers, a team Stanford has struggled with in recent memory. Despite outlasting the 49ers in five sets the last time these two squads met, Stanford had lost the previous three meetings with LBSU.
The Cardinal certainly came out of the break fighting, pulling out a tough road split against No. 7 Pepperdine (13-11, 8-10 MPSF) and No. 2 USC (18-4, 14-4). Stanford (15-6, 12-5) tamed the Waves in five sets, 25-17, 22-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12, before falling to the Trojans in four, 25-22, 25-20, 15-25, 25-20.
The month of March has proven unkind to the No. 3 Stanford men’s volleyball team. After winning 12 of its first 15 matches, the Cardinal has gone 2-2 in the past week, entering a 22-day break after last night’s loss to No. 14 Hawaii in Maples Pavilion.
The No. 3 Stanford men’s volleyball team was once again confronted with this uncomfortable feeling following a split at home this weekend against UC-San Diego and No. 2 UC-Irvine