No. 10 Stanford men’s volleyball (3-2) was edged out in two consecutive matches against No. 1 Ohio State (5-0) this past weekend at Stanford. The defending national champion Buckeyes took both matches in a two-day doubleheader by scores of 3-0, dominating both games.
These two losses broke a relative high for the Cardinal, which had dashed to a three-game winning streak. Stanford will need to quickly regroup on from these losses, however, as the team opens conference play next.
The first of the two matches against the Buckeyes was held at Maples Pavilion on Friday night. Both teams started out strong, with Ohio State keeping itself just a bit ahead in the first set. Down 10-6, sophomore outside hitter Jordan Ewert notched a kill followed by a block, cutting down the Buckeye lead to 10-8 and allowing the Cardinal to seize momentum.
This touch-and-go continued for the two teams, with Ohio State maintaining a close lead, with the Cardinal coming near with a 15-13 score. At this point, the Buckeyes turned on the heat and managed to slide out of the grasp of their opponents, taking five of the next eight points to increase their lead to 20-16 and force Stanford to call a timeout.
A few long rallies ensued, with Ohio State ultimately prevailing to take the first set 25-23.
The Cardinal once again kept the score tight in the second set, frequently trailing by a single point and even tying it at 13-13. Sophomore opposite Matt Klassen delivered a couple strong blocks, while junior Kyle Dagostino, senior middle blocker Kevin Rakestraw and Ewert kept up a high number of kills. Unfortunately for Stanford, this wasn’t enough, and Ohio State once again claimed the victory with a 25-21 win.
The Buckeyes then started the third set strong, taking an early 10-4 lead and coming out on top with a final score of 25-19 to complete the sweep.
Ohio State finished with 44 kills on the evening — as compared to just 26 by Stanford — and hit .403 to the Cardinal’s meager .157.
On Saturday, the teams faced off again, this time in Burnham Pavilion. The Buckeyes started out immediately on a high note with three aces in 10 points, jumping out to a 10-5 lead in the first set. Service would carry the game, as an ace by fifth-year senior Gabriel Vega soon closed the gap to 10-8.
This trend continued as the two teams went to 15-13 and then 17-15. The Cardinal then tied the game at 19 apiece with two aces from Dagostino and one from Klassen. Ewert soon contributed another ace, and the Cardinal found itself leading 23-22. However, Ohio State’s Miles Johnson managed back-to-back kills in the Buckeyes’ final push to win the opening set 25-23.
Ohio State was once again hot out of the gate in the second, quickly garnering a 5-0 advantage. Stanford managed to narrow the gap over the course of the set, and was able to tie the set at 24-24. The teams traded blows, tying again at 26-26, but Buckeye Christy Blough came up with a kill, allowing his team to pull ahead at the last minute and finish off the set 29-27.
Both teams were fired up for the third set, as Ohio started off strong with a 10-6 lead, but Stanford quickly caught up and decreased it to 14-13. Stanford continued to fight back until the very end, finishing yet another tight set — this time with a final score of 26-24 — and losing the second match of the weekend to the reigning national champions.
Next up, Stanford will take on Pepperdine on Friday in Malibu.
Contact Laura Sussman at laura111 ‘at’ stanford.edu.