STANFORD, Calif. – Three players notched double-digit kills as the No. 6 Stanford men’s volleyball team defeated No. 7 USC, 25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 25-20, Thursday, at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. The Cardinal, which has won six matches in a row, moves to 15-7 overall and 12-7 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Trojans drop to 14-9 on the year and to 13-9 in the conference.
“USC is a good team. We had spurts of doing each individual skill well, but we weren’t consistent at any of them,” said head coach John Kosty. “It is a tribute to our guys for staying focused. When we had opportunites to take care of them, which USC didn’t give us many, we were efficient enough to get the job done.”
Stanford hit .311 in the match and improved to 14-4 on the season when outhitting its opponents. USC finished with a .240 attack percentage. The Cardinal registered 11 blocks and 11 aces, marking the fourth match of the year with double-digit aces.
Senior outside hitter Brian Cook paced Stanford with 14 kills, four digs and four blocks. Senior opposite Eric Mochalski added 13 kills, five digs and four aces, while senior outside hitter Steven Irvin finished with 10 kills on a .438 hitting percentage and eight digs.
Sophomore setter James Shaw directed the Cardinal offense with 42 assists. He also racked up five blocks, three digs and a career high six service aces. Sophomore middle Conrad Kaminski was 8-0-10 for an .800 hitting percentage and a match-best seven blocks.
“I think we have the ability to score points in a lot of different ways, and from the service line is one of them,” added Kosty. “I was happy with our overall play and we need to just keep improving.”
USC scored the first point in all four sets Thursday night, but the Cardinal found a way to rally. In total, there were 39 tie scores and 13 lead changes in the match.
USC was led by freshman outside hitter Lucas Yoder’s 13 kills on a .440 attack percentage. Redshirt senior Tanner Jansen added 12 kills, while junior setter Micah Christenson totaled 37 assists and nine digs.
Stanford will close out the week on Friday, March 28 against No. 3 Pepperdine. The Cardinal and Waves will meet at 5 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Bay Area and Los Angeles.
“Pepperdine is big and physical, but so are we,” said Kosty. “They are going to be a different type of team than we saw tonight. They are going to try and slow the ball down at the net instead of dig you. They are going to bring it from the service line with a lot of guys. I think it is going to be two powerful teams battling tomorrow night.”