Widgets Magazine

Men’s volleyball stops skid with win against Cal State Northridge

The No. 12 Stanford men’s volleyball team (3-4, 2-2 MPSF) returned home to Maples Pavilion on Friday to play against California State University, Northridge (3-4, 1-2 MPSF). Despite some major ups and downs on both sides of the court, the Card ultimately came out on top by the end of the fifth set (26-24, 25-19, 19-25, 22-25, 15-3).

The Cardinal started off the match in strong fashion, winning the first three points of the first set thanks to strong corner kills from senior middle blocker Spencer Haly and fifth year senior outside hitter Daniel Tublin. Cal State Northridge quickly caught up, due to its front row hitters putting the ball in open holes and taking advantage of some confusion in Stanford’s defense.

Senior middle Spencer Haly (14)

Senior middle Spencer Haly (14) tallied four kills on seven total attempts in the Cardinal’s five-set win over MPSF foe Cal State Northridge on Friday at Maples Pavilion. Haly, who played in all five sets, also recorded a service ace and a dig. (ROGER CHEN/The Stanford Daily)

The teams went point-for-point, leaving no room for even small errors on both sides. But an ace from junior setter James Shaw and a service error from the Matadors’ Travis Magorien gave Stanford an advantage it would hold for the remainder of the set, which the Card took 26-24.

In the second set, Cal State Northridge seemed to reorganize its front row defense and Stanford struggled to react to the opposing team’s change in tactics, allowing the Matadors to reel off a 6-2 run before head coach John Kosty called timeout. Out of the timeout, Stanford seemed to fix those struggles with the Cal State Northridge defense, and its passers took greater advantage of the court and got to the ball more quickly and efficiently. In addition, sophomore outside hitter Clay Jones and fifth-year senior Daniel Tublin scored deep kills, narrowing CSUN’s lead to 11-9.

More errors by the Matadors and strong blocks by Stanford led to the only tie of the set at 12-12. However, Cal State Northridge’s front row hitters continued to find the opening gaps in Stanford’s court, which led to its 25-19 second set win, knotting the match at one apiece.

The third set saw a major turnaround for the Cardinal. The defense grew stingier, which diminished the ability of Cal State Northridge to utilize its same playing patterns in the previous set. Stanford asserted its dominance on the court with strategic kills from Madison Hayden, Conrad Kaminski and Tublin. The Matadors attempted to stop the Cardinal’s surging momentum, but its approach was not enough to keep Stanford from taking the set 25-19, putting the Card back in the lead 2-1.

The fourth set was extremely tight, with Stanford looking to finish off their opponent as quickly as possible and Cal State Northridge desiring to stay alive and push the set to five. The teams went kill-for-kill and block-for-block until consecutive kills from Jones and Tublin put Stanford in the lead 11-8, forcing the Matadors to call timeout. Out of the break, Stanford reverted back to its second set woes, with Cal State Northridge going on a 5-1 run before the Cardinal called a timeout.

The timeout allowed the Cardinal to breathe and return back to their aggressive and efficient performance seen in the third set. The set remained tight until the Matadors gained an edge in the last few points, winning the set 25-22.

The last set saw the Cardinal explode from the start, with the team playing solid defense and developing a show-no-mercy attitude towards the Matadors. Kaminski dominated the net with block after block, forcing Cal State Northridge to call two timeouts within the first five points in order to regroup and position its hitters around Kaminski. However, those timeouts did little to stop the critical 8-0 run by the Cardinal.

“In the fifth set, I think we just played volleyball,” head coach John Kosty told Gostanford.com. “We played smart volleyball. Yes, Conrad Kaminski got a ton of blocks, but he was just being smart. He was playing within himself. We came out with determination and did a nice job.”

Cal State Northridge got in a minuscule three points before Stanford sealed its fate, winning the set 15-3 and improving its record to 3-4 and 2-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

Daniel Tublin led the team with 14 kills, and Madison Hayden came close behind with 10 kills. Spencer Haly’s hitting percentage of .571 was tops on the team, and he also tallied seven blocks. Conrad Kaminski recorded a hitting percentage of .500 to go along with six blocks.

This week, the Cardinal will head to Southern California and face No. 9 UCLA and No. 8 UC Santa Barbara on Thursday and Saturday night, respectively. The matches can be seen live on the Pac-12 Network.

Contact Divine Edem at dedem ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Divine Edem

Divine Edem '18 is currently a staff writer for the sports section of the Stanford Daily. She is originally from Chino Hills, a small town in Southern California and enjoys playing volleyball, watching movies, and listening to most genres of music. She plans to major in Political Science and can be contacted at dedem@stanford.edu.