April 12, 2008
Stanford, Calif. -
Stanford men's volleyball has enjoyed a rebirth this season in many ways, and the hard work has been showing, especially at this late point in the season. The Cardinal defeated No. 7 and defending national champion UC Irvine on Saturday night in Burnham Pavilion to earn the six seed in the MPSF conference tournament. What awaits is a first round matchup against Cal State Northridge, who finished third in league.
The match was also a farewell to seniors Matt Ceran and Jesse Meredith, both having contributed mightily to the Stanford success this year. Meredith was the hero on Friday, and Ceran came through with 11 kills on the evening tonight in a game that featured lots of balance for the Cardinal. Four players recorded 11 kills or more and junior Brandon Williams finished with 11 kills as well on only 13 attempts. That left him with a .769 attack percentage on the evening, which was tops on the team.
In a game that probably wasn't their prettiest this season, the Cardinal persevered through lots of long rallies and back and forth games. The boisterous crowd helped the Cardinal all night, and gave the team a winning record in league at 12-10.
Sophomore Evan Romero led the team with 14 kills and freshman Spencer McLachlin finished the evening with 11 kills. Sophomore Kawika Shoji tallied 45 assists and freshman Jordan Inafuku led the team again with 11 digs. Sophomore Garrett Werner also put forth seven kills in only 10 attempts for the match.
Stanford only hit .071 in the first game, but improved to .244 in the second game, .382 in the third and .387 in the fourth. In the first game the Cardinal took a 9-9 score tie and turned it into a 21-15 lead en route to the first game victory. The third game was also close throughout until the Cardinal went on a 4-0 run late and took a 28-21 lead. Stanford finished the game with a 30-23 and held a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth game.
The Cardinal overwhelmed the Anteaters in the fourth and final game. In a game that was filled with sloppily play at times, the match ended on a set error by UC Irvine. The win gives Stanford a 17-10 regular season record, which is a 14 game improvement on last year's win total.
Stanford will now travel to Cal State Northridge to face off against the Matadors in a game on Saturday, Apr. 19. Gametimes have not been announced yet by the MPSF.