After an uncharacteristic loss to then-No. 9 Pepperdine on March 12, No. 5 Stanford men’s volleyball (17-3, 15-3 MPSF) returned to form after the finals break, defeating USC (6-16, 4-14) in four sets on Thursday and sweeping No. 15 Cal Baptist (12-14, 4-14) on Friday. With these wins, the Cardinal reclaimed sole possession of the top conference record in the MPSF and are on their way to securing home-court advantage in the upcoming MPSF quarterfinals.
On Thursday night, Stanford showed off its defensive prowess. The Cardinal outdug the Trojans 31 to 27 and recorded 14.0 blocks — one shy of their season high. Senior middle blocker Conrad Kaminski paced the squad with a season-best 10 blocks and 11 kills, notching his first career double-double in the process. He also contributed two of Stanford’s 10 aces on the night.
After the Cardinal easily took the first set with a 25-16 win, the Trojans fought back, keeping the second set close. Despite the Trojans’ best attempts, Stanford was able to eke out a 25-23 victory. The Cardinal then faltered in the third, making 6 service errors and 6 attack errors to give the set to USC, 23-25. Stanford got its revenge in the fourth, never losing the lead to take the set and the match 25-20.
While the Cardinal offense struggled on Friday night, their defense again shined, holding the Cal Baptist Lancers to a mere .052 attack percentage and completing the sweep with a 25-16, 25-20, 25-19 win. Overall, Stanford outblocked Cal Baptist with 13.5 team blocks to the Lancers’ 5.5 while recording 37 digs to the Lancers’ 32.
Senior setter James Shaw registered his third double-double of the season with 20 assists and 10 digs, while hitting 1.000 (5-0-5) with 4 blocks and 1 ace. Kaminski continued to perform well, leading the team with 7 blocks. Senior outside hitter Madison Hayden anchored the offense with a team-leading 8 kills.
Stanford takes on No. 11 Cal State Northridge on Wednesday, March 30, before facing off against conference rival Long Beach State on Saturday. First serve of both matches is at 7 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.
Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.