Cardinal Completes Weekend Sweep
- Cardinal Completes Weekend Sweep
Stanford holds off UC San Diego
Jan. 31, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford's men's volleyball victory over UC San
Diego on Saturday night was an exhibit of the good and the bad of the season so
On one hand, No. 6 Stanford hurt itself with hitting and serving errors that
helped the visitors force a fourth-set scramble that the Cardinal narrowly won
to avoid an unpredictable fifth set.
On the other hand, as fitful as the uneven play was, there may have been a
positive element to it too for the Cardinal.
"That's a good sign, I guess," Stanford junior opposite hitter Evan Romero said. "It means
we haven't peaked yet."
In the end, Stanford earned a 30-25, 30-23, 28-30, 30-28 victory at Burnham
Pavilion to complete a weekend two-match sweep of Mountain Pacific Sports
Stanford jumped on the Tritons early, hitting a torrid .456 over the first
two sets, with only six hitting errors. But the Cardinal attack dissolved in the
third with eight hitting errors, and then suffered further with four fourth-set
service errors in a six-serve span.
"We kind of cruised through the first two games and got complacent," setter
Kawika Shoji said.
Shoji finished with a season-high 52 assists and had six blocks. And, if
there was a saving skill for Stanford on Saturday, blocking was it.
Though he was getting good offensive games from middle blockers Garrett Werner (nine
kills) and Brandon
Williams (seven kills), Kosty brought in freshman Gus Ellis in the fourth set to
provide a defensive spark.
Ellis responded with a pivotal kill to tie it at 19-19 and followed
immediately by teaming with Brad Lawson on a go-ahead
Down the stretch, more big blocks came from Shoji, who finished with a career-high. In
all, five of the team's 12.5 blocks came in the fourth set. Even when Stanford
didn't directly stop the Triton attacks, the Cardinal seemed to alter them.
"When you get stuff-blocked, you think about it the next time," Kosty said.
The victories were much-needed for Stanford (7-3, 3-2), which regains some of
the momentum it had before a pair of uncompetitive losses at the hands of USC
and Pepperdine last weekend.
Of course, the momentum again shifted, in dramatic fashion, on Friday when
Stanford fell behind by two sets and fought off three match points before
rallying past No. 7 Long Beach State, 26-30, 24-30, 33-31, 31-29, 15-8 at Maples
The inconsistency on offense has plagued Stanford at times, even though the
Cardinal can still manage to rise above it.
"On offense, we still haven't hit our rhythm," said Kosty, whose team
finished with a.361 hitting percentage. "We're not smooth yet."
UCSD (3-5, 1-4) got four players into doubles figures in kills, but Stanford
felt it was responsible, because of its own errors. In its eyes of the Cardinal
players, the match shouldn't have gotten so close.
"We're a good team, but we're not consistent enough to be a great team,"
Shoji said. "But we're still improving and continuing to learn the game.
"The best is certainly yet to come."
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