STANFORD, Calif. – Behind its senior class, the fourth-ranked Stanford men’s volleyball team swept Cal Baptist, 25-13, 25-14, 25-15, Friday, at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. The Cardinal, which is on a nine match winning streak, improves to 18-7 overall and 15-7 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while the Lancers drop to 4-21 and 2-19 in conference.
The win clinched a playoff berth for the Cardinal in the MPSF Tournament. Stanford, which is tied for third, could finish as high as second in the conference. It marks the seventh straight season Stanford has qualified for the postseason.
“I think we are one of the hottest teams in the country right now. We just notched our ninth straight win,” said senior outside hitter Steven Irvin. “Confidence has been a huge part of that. Looking back to the beginning of the year when we had some rough patches, where we felt we could have or should have had some wins, it is nice that we have put together this run so those ‘should haves’ don’t matter.
“At this point we control our own destiny to hold third place [in the MPSF], and could possibly finish second. The difference between second and third really isn’t a big deal. Our confidence is through the roof right now.”
Stanford left no doubt on the court Friday night. Playing with confidence and extra energy for its seniors, the Cardinal hit .383 as a team while holding Cal Baptist to the second-lowest hitting percentage by an opponent this season (.090). Stanford racked up 10 service aces and seven team blocks.
“I still don’t really know how to put words on what tonight has meant,” said Irvin. “I think I did get a little more caught up on it then I thought I would. I thought it was just going to be another night, but it is emotional. We are one of the closest classes ever. It was nice when we were sophomores to have that senior class to look up to in Brad [Lawson], Erik [Shoji] and Evan [Barry].”
Senior outside hitter Brian Cook tallied eight kills and five digs to lead the team, while Irvin finished with four kills on a .444 attack percentage and five digs. Senior opposite Eric Mochalski posted four kills and a team-best eight digs and three aces. Senior libero Scott Sakaida made his first start of the season and tallied three digs.
Sophomore middle Conrad Kaminski also shined, tallying eight kills on 10 errorless swings to go with three blocks and an ace. Sophomore setter James Shaw finished with 20 assists, four blocks, three kills and two aces. Junior Matt Aiello and sophomore Madison Hayden both came off the bench and registered aces.
Cal Baptist was led by Joel Blocksom who recorded 11 kills on a .421 attack percentage. Setter Brett Anderson finished with 26 assists.
Up next, Stanford hits the road for its final regular season matches at No. 7 UC Irvine on Friday, April 11 and at UC San Diego on Saturday, April 12. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. PT.