CHICAGO – The No. 3 seed Stanford men’s volleyball team wasted little time punching its ticket to the NCAA semifinals with a 25-14, 25-16, 25-15 sweep over No. 6 seed Erskine, Tuesday, in the NCAA play-in match at Gentile Arena in Chicago, Ill.
“We are excited to earn the right to play in the Final Four,” said head coach John Kosty after the match. “Erskine is a solid team. They run their program well and they fought hard. Their conference is getting better and better, and we are happy that we had the opportunity to play them tonight.”
The Cardinal (23-8) hit .423 and registered 13.0 team blocks, while holding the undersized Flying Fleet (21-7) to a .043 clip.
“I thought our team did a really nice job of staying focused and playing at a high level the entire match,” added Kosty.
Sophomore setter James Shaw guided the Cardinal offense with 32 assists. The Woodside, Calif., native also registered five digs and five blocks in the win. Redshirt junior libero Grant Delgado notched a match-high 11 digs.
Senior outside hitter Brian Cook led the team with 12 kills on a .526 hitting percentage. Senior Steven Irvin added nine kills, six digs and three blocks, while senior opposite Eric Mochalski pitched in with seven kills on a .429 attack percentage and seven digs.
“We just wanted to play Stanford volleyball tonight,” said Irvin. “We had to serve and pass well and the offense would take care of itself.”
Stanford also got strong contributions from its middles. Sophomore Conrad Kaminski tallied four kills on six errorless swings to go with a match-best six blocks. Junior Spencer Haly finished with two kills and three blocks in two sets, while senior Denny Falls had two kills and three blocks in the third set.
Roberto Perez Vargas led Erskine with nine kills and four digs, while Michael Michelau added eight kills and eight digs. The Flying Fleet captured the Conference Carolinas championship to earn the automatic berth to the tournament in just its second season of men’s volleyball.
Stanford reaches the NCAA Final Four for the first time since 2010, when it won the program’s second NCAA title. The Cardinal will meet No. 2 seed BYU in the national semifinal on Thursday, May 1 at 4 p.m. PT in Chicago.