Men’s volleyball hits the road to face Tritons, Anteaters

Feb. 24, 2016, 12:26 a.m.

No. 3 Stanford men’s volleyball (12-2, 10-2 MPSF) will look to extend its five-game winning streak with a trip to UC San Diego Tritons (4-13, 0-12) on Thursday and No. 13 UC Irvine Anteaters (4-9, 3-8) on Friday.

(RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)
Senior middle Conrad Kaminski (above) has been influential at the net for the Cardinal, recording an average of 1.44 blocks per set that puts him at third in the nation in the category. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

The Cardinal dispatched both the Tritons and Anteaters when the teams met at the end of January, and, after a string of games against top-10 opponents, these match-ups should be a somewhat lighter load for the Cardinal.

Although they swept the Tritons in their last meeting, the Cardinal cannot get complacent. San Diego is coming off a non-conference sweep of Holy Names and is searching for its first conference win. Despite the Tritons’ struggles, their defense has performed well, having barely outdug the Cardinal with 8.6 digs per set to Stanford’s 8.5. The team has garnered 25 solo blocks to the Cardinal’s 15, but Stanford has a significant advantage in total blocks – 135.0 to 91.5. 

In order to counteract UCSD’s defense, Stanford must maintain the team-oriented style and rely on its dominant attack. The Cardinal has accrued 687 kills and a conference-leading .351 hitting percentage, while ranking third nationally in kills per set (13.21).

“We’re a great passing team,” said senior middle blocker Conrad Kaminski. “We’re confident in sending it back and front and to the sides.”

The All-American middle has been one of the greatest contributors to Stanford’s defense, and is ranked third nationally in blocks per set with 1.44. The Cardinal defense is strong overall, as evidenced by its 6.63 digs per set, the third most in the MPSF. Sophomore libero Evan Enriques leads the squad with 2.62 digs per set.

The Cardinal have also been working to improve their service, which faltered at the start of the season. According to Kaminski, players have taken time to individually improve their strokes, allowing the team to rely on clean serves and cut down on errors in this area. Senior setter James Shaw leads the team with 52 aces on the season, three of which came last weekend against UC Santa Barbara and UCLA. 

UC Irvine is led by junior opposite Tamir Hershko, who ranks third in the MPSF in kills (4.07) and fourth in points per set (4.42). As a team, Irvine has registered 20 solo blocks, and senior middle blocker Marty Ross is ranked seventh in the nation with 1.25 blocks per set.

Stanford will seek the upper hand, relying on its versatile offense and diverse attack. 

“We have grip all the time with our back row attack and we’ve got two middles who are able to put balls away too … we’ve got the full package,” Kaminski said. “When James is in the front row, we really have a five-hitter force, and it’s really tough for other teams to compete with that. There really is no limit to what we can do with that.”

The Cardinal will take on the Tritons on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. and the Anteaters on Friday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. Live statistics will be available on


Contact Laura Sussman at [email protected].

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