After a tough start of the season for Stanford men’s volleyball (9-7, 6-5 Pac-12), the Cardinal will look to turn the tide with a few victories as they travel to Pennsylvania to play unranked Lees-McRae College (5-10) on Friday and No. 15 Penn State (11-6) on Saturday.
The Cardinal have been through a series of ups and downs over the course of the season. The team currently sits ranked at No. 8 with a respectable record of 9-7 on the season. However, this win ratio belies the deeper troubles that have plagued the Cardinal throughout the past few weeks.
Over the last two weeks the team has a record of 1-3, losing two matches to No. 3 BYU (14-2), getting swept by No 14. USC (6-10), and barely scraping by with a 3-2 victory over the unranked California Baptist Lancers (3-13). This disappointing stretch revealed serious holes in the roster that will need to be corrected if the team hopes to compete against top talent.
In the back to back losses to BYU, the Stanford hitters failed to hit over .175 accuracy in either game. Despite playing strong defense and out-digging BYU in both matches, the Cougars made fewer unforced errors on offense and made stronger blocks at the net.
Stanford players like veteran fifth-year senior, outside hitter Gabriel Vega, up-and-coming freshman opposite hitter Eric Beatty, and junior libero Evan Enriques performed well despite the loss. The Cardinal will look to build on these performances to find renewed success over the weekend.
The Stanford players will take to the court on Friday, March 3 at 2 p.m. versus Lees-McRae college, and then once again on Saturday, March 4 at 4:30 p.m. versus Penn State.
Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada ‘at’ stanford.edu.