Jan. 29, 2010
STANFORD, Calif. -
The No. 2 Stanford men's volleyball team fought back to force a fifth set, but still dropped its second home match in as many days, this to No. 3 Cal State Northridge on Friday at Maples Pavilion.
Brad Lawson had 26 kills and All-American setter Kawika Shoji had 61 assists and 15 digs in the 25-30, 30-21, 30-25, 32-34, 15-13 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation loss.
Stanford (3-3, 3-3), which lost to No. 10 UC Santa Barbara Thursday, rallied from a 24-17 deficit to win the fourth set on a kill from freshman Myles Muagututia, playing in the first extensive action for the Cardinal.
Stanford took an initial 2-0 lead in the fifth set before CSUN scored five consecutive points to take command. The Cardinal never did catch up, closing within one point eight times before CSUN (7-1, 4-1) finally pulled out the victory on a kill by Kevin McKniff.
"I was pleased to see us battle back from behind," Stanford coach John Kosty said. "We grabbed some momentum, but they were just too good. This shows we've got a little ways to go. But I definitely think we can get there."
Stanford is early into a six-match homestand, but falls two games out in the lost column from first place and could be in danger of losing touch with conference leaders CSUN (7-1, 4-1) and USC (4-1). However, the conference seems more balanced than ever, as evidenced by No. 1 USC's five-set loss at Pepperdine on Friday.
"In this league, I don't think anybody's going to run away with it," Kosty said. "But do I want to be 3-3? No. But we've had some big wins and we have to look at the big picture and not the small microcosm of things."
That big picture could include Muagututia and redshirt sophomore middle blocker Charley Henrikson, both of whom received extensive action in reserve roles and performed well. Coach John Kosty used both in the later sets, and Garrett Dobbs in his first start, as the Cardinal tried to compensate for the loss of outside hitter Spencer McLachlin, who missed the weekend's matches with a shoulder injury.
"We've built this depth at outside hitter and middle blocker," Kosty said. "If we're going to be a successful team, we've got to feel confident in making those subs and knowing they're going to go out and perform."
Henrikson had three kills and three blocks at middle blocker and Muagututia had two kills, two digs and an assist, and played well defensively despite being picked on by Northridge servers who noticed the new face.
Stanford resumes play Wednesday against local MPSF rival Pacific, Wednesday at Maples Pavilion (at 7 p.m.).