Stanford men’s volleyball (6-17, 3-7 MPSF) concluded their home matches for the season on a high note, claiming wins over No. 13 Grand Canyon (16-10, 3-7) and No. 14 Concordia (13-14, 4-7) on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Despite struggles throughout the season, the team’s spring break and seven-game homestand ended successfully, culminating in an impressive senior night victory.
Thursday night’s win over Grand Canyon came in an incredibly close five-set back-and-forth. Despite losing the first set, the Cardinal kept a cool head and rallied behind freshman opposite Jaylen Jasper to take the second and the third sets over the Antelopes, including a dominating 16-25 win in the third. Jasper tied a career-high 27 kills in the match, hitting .409 on the day. He also contributed four service aces, two blocks and nine digs to the Cardinal victory, supporting his teammates from all over the court.
Returning to the court for the first time since January were sophomore setter Paul Bischoff and junior wing Jordan Ewert. The impact of their return was felt immediately, as Bischoff set a career-high in assists, dishing out 62 assists to his attackers. Ewert knocked down 10 kills and added six digs, brushing off the rust from his extended absence.
The Cardinal dropped the fourth set but worked their way to match point at 14-12 in the fifth-set tiebreaker. The Antelopes were not finished, however, as they extended the game, bringing the score to 15-14 and keeping it within one. Eventually, Jasper and senior middle blocker Kevin Rakestraw recorded consecutive kills to break the deuce and the tension, and give Stanford the match, 23-21.
Saturday’s match versus Concordia was senior night, and the team celebrated the accomplishments of Rakestraw, senior libero Evan Enriques and senior outside hitter Jake Stuebner as they played their final regular season match in Maples Pavilion. Stanford took down the Cavaliers in four sets, claiming the match 3-1.
Rakestraw had a solid night in the middle, knocking down 16 kills on a .387 hitting percentage, and Enriques had five digs and six assists from the floor, but the performance of the night was stolen by Ewert, who dominated Concordia in all phases of the game. Ewert clocked a team-high 22 kills with .395 hitting percentage, in addition to two assists, one block and a team-high 14 digs.
Bischoff and Jasper helped seal the Cardinal victory as the team held strong in a long deuce to win the second set 36-34. Bischoff recorded another solid performance in his second game back, putting up 59 total assists, in addition to five blocks, eight digs and two kills. Jasper continued to solidify himself as a focal point of the team’s offense, blasting the Cavaliers with 19 kills, seven digs and a team-high four service aces.
The Cardinal will finish up their season this Thursday when they travel to Southern California to take on UCLA, followed by a match at Pepperdine on Saturday. The game against the Bruins begins at 7 p.m. PST.
Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada ‘at’ stanford.edu.