March 12, 1998
STANFORD, Calif. - The sixth-ranked Stanford men's volleyball team defeated No. 15 UC Irvine 3-0 (15-1, 15-8, 15-7) in a season-low time of 1:07 to improve to 11-4 overall and 10-3 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The win moved the Cardinal just one-half-match behind idle Hawai`i (10-4) in the MPSF Pacific Division title race. UC Irvine fell to 9-8 overall and 5-7 in the MPSF.
It was a near-perfect night hitting wise for the Cardinal as five of the six starters (all but the setter), which played the entire match with the exception of limited serving and defensive substitutions, hit .563 or better. As a team, the Cardinal hit a season-high .654, committing just six errors in the contest. The .654 (59-6-81) clip easily surpassed the team's previous best of .496 (82-16-133) in a 3-0 win over San Diego State on March 7. Stanford hit better than .600 as a team in all three games.
Senior swing hitter Devin Poolman (Goleta, CA/Dos Pueblos HS) posted a match-high 21 kills, his second-best total of the season. Sophomore outside hitter Andy Witt (Santa Ynez, CA/Santa Ynez HS) hit a season-high .737 registering 16 kills and just two errors on 19 attacks. Stanford dominated at the net as well, out-blocking UC Irvine 10-2. Senior middle blockers Keenan Whitehurst (Fresno, CA/San Joaquin Memorial HS) and Tad Hoffman (Hanford, CA/Hanford HS) led the way with five blocks apiece.
Stanford returns to action tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion when it hosts top-ranked UCLA (17-1 overall) in a rematch of the 1997 NCAA championship match, won by the Cardinal 3-2. This will mark the first meeting between the two teams since last season's thrilling finale. The match will be televised locally by Fox Sports Bay Area.