In front of a home crowd of 1,500 fans on Senior Night, No. 4 Stanford men’s volleyball (19-3, 17-3 MPSF) exacted its revenge over No. 5 Long Beach State (21-6, 15-5), one of only three teams that has beaten the Cardinal this season. Stanford shined in its final regular-season home match, defeating The Beach in four sets, 25-23, 22-25, 29-27, 25-19. With this win, Stanford remains tied with BYU at the top of the MPSF standings.
The first set was hard-fought, and the teams traded blows until the very end. With 10 tie scores and four lead changes, neither team managed to gain more than a 3-point advantage at any time, but Stanford came out on top, winning the first set for its 22nd straight match. Along with a strong defensive performance, the Cardinal capitalized on several net violations by the 49ers. Senior middle blocker Conrad Kaminski kicked off another strong offensive performance with a team-leading 4 kills while hitting .800 in the first set.
Long Beach found its rhythm in the second, and while Stanford kept the score close, the 49ers came away with the 25-22 win. LBSU freshman powerhouse T.J. DeFalco paced the squad with 5 kills in the set as part of a tremendous 20-kill match.
The momentum of the match swung in the third set. While Long Beach was able to take a quick 9-6 lead, Stanford kept itself within striking distance, and after trailing 23-20 out of their final timeout, the Cardinal surged, taking nine of the next 13 points to win the set 29-27 and capture a 2-1 advantage in the match.
Stanford dominated the fourth set. Once they tied the score at 2-2, the Cardinal never looked back, maintaining the lead until the final 25-19 win. As a team, Stanford hit .720 with no attack errors in the fourth.
Senior outside hitter Madison Hayden led the team with 15 kills, followed closely by 12 from Kaminski. Freshman Jordan Ewert came into his own as well, tying his career-high with 11 kills, including the key shot to cap off the first set. The outside hitter also set a career-high in hitting percentage with .429 on the night.
“I think we’re in really good form right now,” Hayden said.
After the match, the team’s four seniors – Hayden, Kaminski, setter James Shaw and middle Alex Stephanus – were honored before an enthusiastic home crowd.
“That was probably the loudest we’ve ever heard it in here,” Hayden said. “That was just huge. At the end of Game 3 when we were up for that last point, it was so loud in here. It was so awesome to win for that crowd and also on Senior Night.”
The Cardinal will finish out the regular season on the road as they take on No. 1 UCLA in a big matchup on Thursday at 5 p.m. and No. 7 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday at 7 p.m. Stanford will then return home to host the quarterfinal round of the MPSF playoffs.
Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.