The No. 4 Stanford men’s volleyball team (2-0) started off its season with two wins this weekend against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack of Canada (0-2).
With six of seven starters returning—including first-team All-American seniors Erik Shoji and Brad Lawson—the Cardinal went into the weekend poised to win its two exhibition matches.
The two teams met for the first match at Maples Pavilion. As the heavy favorites it was no surprise that the Cardinal won the match, but it was a surprise when the Cardinal lost the first set to the WolfPack.
In the first set of the match, Thompson Rivers went nearly point-for-point with Stanford and took advantage of the Cardinal’s five service errors and eight attack errors. A kill from Thompson Rivers’ Krzysztof Orman ended the set and resulted in a 25-23 Cardinal loss.
With the first set of the season going down as a disappointing loss, the team came back to win the following three sets convincingly.
The Cardinal came out swinging in the second set, easily trouncing the WolfPack 25-13. The Cardinal had 15 kills in the set to Thompson Rivers’ four. Sophomores Brian Cook, outside hitter, and Denny Falls, middle blocker, each had four kills in the set. The Cardinal also managed to hold the WolfPack to a .000 hitting percentage.
The third set was also dominated by Stanford with a 25-18 score and only one Cardinal service error.
The final set of the match was another 25-18 victory to net the Cardinal its first win of the season, three sets to one.
Even with the rocky start, the match was a strong showing of Stanford’s skill. The Cardinal was led by Cook’s 16 kills and Lawson’s 12.
On Saturday the teams met again at Burnham Pavilion for their second exhibition match. The Cardinal swept the match with wins of 25-21, 25-16 and 25-20.
In the first set the Cardinal and the WolfPack stayed even for quite a while. Then when Stanford trailed 21-20, the team rallied for five straight points, with two key blocks from sophomores Denny Falls and Steven Irvin to win the set.
The Cardinal never let its opponent win points on serve. Irvin led the team with seven kills in the 25-16 set. Stanford finished off the WolfPack with a 25-20 win in the third set.
After the early non-conference matches, Stanford will open MPSF play with a road match at Pacific on Wednesday at 7 p.m.