Stanford men’s volleyball (2-8) had a split weekend, taking a loss at UC Irvine on Friday and then coming back to beat UC San Diego on Saturday, breaking a four-game losing streak for the Cardinal.
Both games were on the road, where Stanford will stay for another four games.
Friday night, the Cardinal took a hard loss in Irvine, finishing the match 25-12, 26-24, 25-19. No. 4 Irvine (10-1) held its ground with a .403 clip, while keeping the Cardinal at a low .084 attack percentage. Stanford had 23 hitting errors throughout the match.
Freshman middle blocker Kyler Presho managed a .545 hitting rate, contributing six kills, a block and an ace for the Cardinal. Freshman opposite Jaylen Jasper led the team with seven kills and two digs. Junior setter Russell Dervay also gave the Anteaters a run for their money with 18 assists and a perfect 6-0-6 offensively. Sophomore outside hitter Eric Beatty was able to notch five kills and four digs, but was also the cause of seven hitting errors.
UC Irvine was able to keep at bay some of the Cardinal’s best, with neither senior outside hitter Evan Enriques nor freshman hitter Leo Henken getting any kills.
On the other side of the net, junior opposite Karl Apfelbach led the Anteater offensive, recording 12 kills and a .421 hitting percentage. Three of his teammates were also able to get in nine kills each.
On Saturday night, the Cardinal was out for revenge after a tough match 24 hours prior. The team was able to win in four sets, finishing the night 25-21, 20-25, 25-20, 25-21.
The team came out on top in an extremely close match due to precision – a .339 clip – while holding the Tritons to a .279 hit rate. Stanford came together to hit a season best .339, with several individual players contributing a great deal.
Beatty maintained a .364 hit rate, notching a career-high 18 kills and adding seven digs to his repertoire. Jasper added 14 kills, four digs and two blocks to the win. Dervay also earned a career record with 45 assists and eight digs, while senior outside hitter Jake Stuebner contributed four digs playing libero.
Enriques wrapped the night up with four kills, eight digs and two solo blocks under his belt. Another veteran, fifth-year senior Kevin Rakestraw, hammered in an additional 10 kills with a .381 hitting clip.
The team started out strong in the first half, keeping pace with the Tritons and then gaining an edge on an ace by Beatty and then a kill by Jasper. A tip and a kill there put the team up 21-16, but soon UC San Diego was catching up and the score was 24-21. Soon, though, the Cardinal took the first set.
The second set was a slow beginning for Stanford, and they were soon down 16-9, but they eventually cut the lead to 23-20. Although the Cardinal put up a good fight, the home team eventually took the set, putting the teams even at one set each.
Both teams felt the pressure rise in the third set, but Stanford was able to pull ahead 16-10, maintaining the lead until they were up two sets to one.
At this point, the Cardinal was on fire, but the home team was not ready to give up just yet. A tie of 21-21 raised the question of whether Stanford would be able to take their third set, and soon thereafter they did.
Stanford will take on No. 14 USC in Los Angeles this week. The Trojans have not had the easiest season, sporting a 3-7 record despite their high national ranking. They too lost to UC Irvine, earlier in January. The match will be a good opportunity for the Cardinal to face a challenging opponent and see whether their momentum will keep up. It will take place on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Contact Laura Sussman at laura111 ‘at’ stanford.edu.