By Cybele Zhang
This Saturday, Stanford men’s volleyball (14-10, MPSF 5-6) will travel to Phoenix, Arizona for their final regular season game of the year, where they will play Grand Canyon University (12-14, MPSF 2-8). This will be the Cardinal’s final chance to boost their Mountain Pacific Sports Federation record before postseason play kicks off.
Stanford is currently ranked fifth in the MPSF, and Grand Canyon is ranked seventh out of the conference’s seven teams. No.4 Pepperdine (18-6, MPSF 7-3) and No. 5 University of California, Los Angeles (17-7, MPSF 7-3) lead the conference, and No. 6 University of Southern California (15-8, MPSF 6-4) is a close second.
The Cardinal enter the season’s final game on a two-game losing streak after coming up short against both USC and No. 14 Concordia University (14-16, MPSF 3-7) over Spring Break. The ‘Lopes also enter the match up on a two game losing streak after losing to Pepperdine and UCLA.
Stanford has already played GCU once this season on Feb. 13; the Cardinal swept — 25-11, 25-19, 25-15. The game was dominated by junior middle blocker Stephen Moye, who hit 0.889 and registered six blocks.
The two teams have met five times ever, and Stanford has won them all. Their first-ever matchup was on Jan. 4, 2013.
Despite the odds, Grand Canyon still shows strength on their roster. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter David Kisiel leads the team in kills per set with 3.23 on hitting 0.212. Christian Janke is also an offensive player to watch; he averages 2.98 kills per set on hitting 0.218.
Defensively, keep an eye out for GCU’s Cole Udall and Avery Enriques who average 2.06 and 1.86 digs per set, respectively. Enriques’ elder brother Evan Enriques played for the Cardinal from 2015 to 2018.
Although Stanford should easily win the game on paper, the ‘Lopes will not go down too easily. Both teams must win in their last chance to improve their conference rankings, so look forward to a closely contested game.
First serve will be at 6 p.m. PST at Antelope Gymnasium in Arizona.
Contact Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu.