Feb. 5, 2010
STANFORD, Calif. -
Redshirt sophomore Garrett Dobbs came off the bench to pound 20 kills to lead No. 5 Stanford to a 30-23, 29-31, 30-22, 30-18 nonconference men's volleyball victory over a stubborn UC Santa Cruz team at Maples Pavilion on Friday.
Dobbs had only three errors in 28 attacks for a team season-best .607 hitting percentage for Stanford (5-3), which used 16 players. Eleven recorded kills, including five with collegiate career highs - Dobbs, Myles Muagututia (12), Ian Connolly (seven) and Max Halvorson (four), and Dylan Kordic (one).
That list doesn't include sophomore Jake Vandermeer, the player called "Vandersmash" by former Dallas high school rival Dobbs. Vandermeer played for the Stanford club team last year, tried out and made the team as an unrecruited walk-on. He entered and played in serving situations.
And then there was Evan Barry. The sophomore setter had a collegiate-best 58 assists in his first action of the season in place of resting All-American Kawika Shoji.
Barry didn't look comfortable at first, wearing injured teammate Spencer McLachlin's extra-large No. 7 jersey because his assigned No. 10 medium is too tight. But baggy Barry looked just plain sharp by the end, as he settled into a rhythm that usually ended up with a Dobbs hammer for a point.
"I'm really excited about our team," said Barry, who played the full match in his third collegiate start. "We've got a lot of seniors, but we also have a lot of great young players who got a chance to show what they could do."
Dobbs certainly did.
"I'm not a guy who that sees a lot of playing time," Dobbs said. "So, when you get in there with guys just like you, it's easy to get fired up.
Playing opposite hitter, Dobbs attacked at will with a velocity and intensity that the Banana Slugs seemed powerless to stop.
For Dobbs, who suffered a rough stretch during a pair of starts during an 0-2 lost weekend at home last week, the UCSC match was cathartic. As was the Cardinal's four-set victory over visiting Pacific on Wednesday.
"The entire team last week was down after a couple of tough losses, and tough calls," Dobbs said. "We were feeling it. But it was good it happened early in the season because it's become motivation for us, to work harder and not let that happen again.
"I feel like the entire team got its' confidence back."
Though most of Stanford's starters played only the first set, UCSC (5-4), the No. 2-ranked team in NCAA Division III, tied the match at a set apiece by becoming the first Banana Slug team to win a set from the Cardinal in their annual series since 1998.
Despite the second-set loss, Stanford coach John Kosty stuck with his backups in the third set and the team responded, especially Connolly, to pull away early. Connolly helped ignite an 11-4 run with a service ace, block and two kills.
Stanford resumes Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action with a crucial homestand against No. 4 UCLA on Friday at Maples Pavilion and defending national champion UC Irvine on Saturday at Burnham Pavilion. First serve for both is set for 7 p.m.