Feb. 11, 2012
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Stanford men's volleyball team has worked out a successful routine these few weeks - travel, sleep, win.
On Saturday, Stanford earned its fifth consecutive victory - beating Cal State Northridge, 25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 25-19 - all on the road and all against teams ranked among the nation's top 11.
Sophomore Brian Cook had a career-high 26 kills, the most by a Stanford player this season, to lead the No. 4 Cardinal over the No. 11 Matadors (4-7, 2-5) in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action.
Stanford (9-2, 6-1) earned its second consecutive weekend sweep during the fourth of five consecutive weekends away from home. The Cardinal has compiled a 6-2 record during a 10-match, 40-day road stretch that concludes next weekend at UC Irvine and UC San Diego.
"We see the light at the end of the tunnel," Stanford coach John Kosty said.
After that, Stanford has only two MPSF road matches remaining, and all 11at home. All other teams in the 12-team MPSF have played at least three home conference matches. Stanford has played none, and yet finds itself in second place in the rugged MPSF.
"We're learning how to win on the road," Kosty said. "That's the lesson here. Those are how conference champions are made. You make it a routine, you get in a groove. It's consistency."
The Cardinal, which also got 19 kills from All-America Brad Lawson, remained in second place in the MPSF. The Cardinal, which plays its first nine conference matches on the road, is 6-2 on the trip.
Cook, from Santa Cruz, destroyed his previous best of 20 kills. The Soquel High School graduate had only eight hitting errors in 40 attacks for a .450 hitting percentage.
Cook's eight kills helped turn the momentum-changing third set Stanford's way.