Stanford men’s volleyball looked impressive this weekend during its first two home matches of the season. The No. 4 Cardinal defeated No. 8 Lewis University in four sets (25-16, 21-25, 25-19, 25-23) and Grand Canyon University in three sets (25-20, 25-17, 25-18). Stanford has had a successful start to the season and currently is undefeated with a record of 3-0.
While the Cardinal was outhit Friday night by Lewis .306 to .294 for the match, it was able to defeat Lewis by playing consistently and aggressively on offense. After dropping the second set and struggling to maintain a lead in the third, the Cardinal was able to take control of the set and demonstrated its ability to pull through and win at home.
When Stanford found itself losing 20-15 in the fourth set, it went on an 8-3 run to tie the set at 23-23. With a critical kill from sophomore setter James Shaw and an attack error by Lewis, Stanford was able to secure the win.
Senior outside hitter Steven Irvin led Stanford with 20 kills. Shaw also contributed to the offense with 44 assists and five kills to help strengthen the Cardinal’s lead.
It was Stanford’s powerful service game that truly gave the Cardinal an edge against Lewis, with an impressive eight service aces in the first set alone. Irvin had three service aces in the match and senior outside hitter Daniel Tublin had four. Both players demonstrated their ability to serve under pressure and use the service game to their advantage.
Stanford’s only match of the season at Burnham Pavilion was also a success, with the team defeating Grand Canyon in three straight sets. The Cardinal held Grand Canyon to 20 or fewer points each set thanks to a very striking and dominate defensive performance. Leading the defense was senior Grant Delgado, who had a solid passing night and finished with eight digs for the match.
Stanford’s offensive performance was not quite as impressive, hitting below .100 in the first set. However, the offense was able to warm up, and the Cardinal finished with a .354 hitting percentage for the match.
Tublin, Irvin and senior outside hitter Brian Cook led the offense with nine kills apiece for the match. Some of the younger players helped keep the Cardinal undefeated, with sophomore middle Conrad Kaminski recording a .750 hitting percentage and contributing six kills to the match.
Grand Canyon’s offense also got off to a slow start, but it was not able to recover like Stanford’s. The team ended the match with a .147 attack percentage and no player had more than seven kills. But more than its hitting percentage, Grand Canyon’s service game was its biggest weakness. With 15 service errors and only one ace in the match, Grand Canyon struggled from the service line.
Stanford will play its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) conference game next week, traveling to UCLA on Friday, Jan. 17, and then to UC-Santa Barbara on Saturday, Jan. 18. The road trip will be an early test for the Cardinal to see if it can win without its strong home-court advantage.
Contact Eliza Thompson at elizat ‘at’ stanford.edu.