Over the weekend, the No. 12 Stanford Cardinal (2-3, 1-1 MPSF) traveled down to Southern California to face off against California Baptist and No. 5 USC. The Card won on Friday night against Cal Baptist 25-16, 15-25, 28-30, 25-15, 15-11. On Monday night, Stanford entered Trojan territory to play against USC at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, with the Trojans winning the match in a 3 set sweep (25-16, 27-25, 25-19).
In the first set on Friday, the Cardinal remained extremely tight with the Lancers, going point for point until a powerful block from junior setter James Shaw and junior middle blocker Conrad Kaminski gave Stanford the edge over its opponent. Stanford earned three unanswered points before Cal Baptist called the first timeout of the match. After the timeout, the Cardinal scored three more points, turning the errors of the Lancers in its favor. The Lancers were able to score some kills against Stanford, but despite small service errors from the Cardinal, the team maintained a solid 6 point lead the rest of the way to finish off the Lancers 25-16.
The beginning of the second set replicated the trends of the first set, with both teams going head to head earning points. However, unlike the first set, the Lancers took note of the Cardinal’s strategy and rearranged its defense, building a lead over Stanford. Cal Baptist continued on a 5-1 run until it became Stanford’s turn to call its first timeout.
Ultimately, the Cardinal narrowed the lead until Cal Baptist scored a kill, which propelled the Lancers to a 7-3 run en route to tying the match at one set apiece.
During the third set, Stanford remained determined to not let the outcome of the second set define their play. The Cardinal kept it close with the Lancers thanks to strategic kills from Kaminski and fifth year senior Daniel Tublin. However, with the Lancers still in the lead, Stanford called a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, libero Evan Enriques and Kaminski collected more points for the Cardinal, giving Stanford its first lead of the set at 22-21 until Cal Baptist called a timeout, which helped Lancers win the third set.
The fourth and fifth sets saw the Card return back to its extremely aggressive form from the first set. Another tactical kill from Tublin propelled Stanford to pull away from the Lancers, with Stanford stretching out the score to an astounding 22-13 before ultimately winning the set 25-15. The Cardinal would win the final set 15-11 to clinch the match.
Tublin led the team with an impressive 15 kills and 10 digs. Kaminski trailed close behind with 11 kills and totaled a spectacular hitting percentage of .625. Shaw rounded out the team with 5 kills, 5 digs, 7 blocks and a whopping 37 assists.
The match against USC was a different story for the Cardinal. Stanford experienced its first loss of conference play in a straight-set sweep for the Trojans. The three sets featured a similar pattern, with the Cardinal and the Trojans battling kill for kill and dig for dig to keep the sets tight until, around the tenth point, the front row hitters of USC spotted the holes in Stanford’s defense to gain a decisive edge over the Cardinal. Despite the phenomenal efforts in the form of deep kills from Tublin, Kaminski and Shaw, the Cardinal ultimately could not overcome the constant attacks by the Trojans, and the Card’s own offensive and defensive errors helped lead to a Southern California sweep.
Tublin once again led the team with 11 kills and senior middle blocker Spencer Haly earned a hitting percentage of .600. Shaw recorded a total of 26 assists.
This upcoming Wednesday and Friday night, Stanford volleyball will return to Maples Pavilion to play against No. 10 Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge. The matches can also be seen on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Divine Edem at dedem ‘at’ stanford.edu.