By James Hemker
No. 8 men’s volleyball recovered from their worst beatdown of the season to earn their first road win of the season after defeating UC San Diego on Saturday night. The Cardinal returned to form in the 25-18, 25-19, 25-20 sweep while playing 12 different players, the most variety the lineup has seen all season.
Senior outside hitter Jordan Ewert shined, tying a match-high 11 kills on .588 hitting. Ewert added three blocks and as many digs to his performance. As a whole, Stanford hit .387 with notable performances from sophomore opposite Jaylen Jasper (eight kills) and junior opposite Eli Wopat (seven kills on .462 hitting).
Setter duties were split between junior Paul Bischoff in the first two sets and senior Russell Dervay in the final frame. Bischoff recorded 19 assists along with five digs and three kills on three attempts, while Dervay had 11 assists and three digs in his single set.
Defensively, the Cardinal held the Tritons to just .128 hitting with three members hitting negative. Stanford out-blocked UCSD 10-5 with senior middle blocker Chris Moore’s four blocks pacing the court. Moore was subbed in for sophomore middle blocker Kyler Presho after the first set. Junior middle blocker Stephen Moye contributed three more stuffs over two sets.
The Cardinal also out-dug UCSD to the tune of 29-23. The effort was led by senior libero Kyle Dagostino and his seven digs. Overall, the defense by Stanford was suffocating, as the Tritons struggled to hit over .075 in two of the three sets.
This match was a much needed bounce-back victory for the Cardinal, who have been prone to falling down the mental rabbit hole. The game also marked the first road win after six tough road losses to highly-ranked teams. The Stanford team will need this momentum and clear heads to emerge victorious this coming week.
The final two home games of the season will feature revenge matches against No. 6 Pepperdine and No. 5 UCLA. Stanford suffered back-to-back losses against the Southern California schools in early February. UCLA’s win was especially crushing after the Cardinal squandered an opportunity to put the match away in the fourth set.
Catch both games in Maples, with the Waves on Thursday and the Bruins on Saturday, which will also be Senior Day.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.