Men’s volleyball finishes off homestand with sweep of Cal Baptist

Jan. 29, 2017, 8:09 p.m.

In its second sweep in as many days, No. 8 Stanford men’s volleyball (6-2, 3-0 MPSF) pulled off a 25-19, 25-21, 25-18 win against Cal Baptist (2-7, 1-5) on Friday to close out a successful two-game homestand.

Led by sophomore outside hitter Jordan Ewert’s match-high 12 kills and senior middle Kevin Rakestraw’s nine kills and six blocks, the Cardinal offense shone. Rakestraw has been impressive for the Cardinal recently, as he currently leads the nation with a .576 hitting percentage. Stanford also capitalized on the Lancers’ combined 32 errors. Compared to a seemingly effortless Stanford offense, Cal Baptist often stumped on the attack, cutting its offensive runs with their own mistakes.

“We tried to bring an offensive rhythm to the match,” head coach John Kosty said. “That was our main objective, to run a good solid offense and be balanced throughout the game.”

In the first set, Stanford brought strong play from the start to take an early lead. However, attack errors brought a 12-12 tie midway through the set. The tie would not hold for long, though, as a dunk by Stanford freshman setter Paul Bischoff and a block by Rakestraw and Ewert sparked a four-point run, giving the Cardinal the lead. Stanford put away the set off a powerful kill by Rakestraw, assisted by Bischoff. Bischoff has been impressive in his first collegiate season, guiding the offense with 24 assists in this game alone.

Kosty had nothing but praise for his new freshmen, who were ranked the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.

“Their instincts are good. That’s one of the reasons why they’re on the court right now,” Kosty said. “Age-wise they may be young, but experience-wise they’re pretty veteran. I’m really happy with how they’re playing right now.”

The second set was almost a mirror image of the first. Back and forth points early on with attack and service errors from both teams brought a 5-5 tie, before the Cardinal nailed five straight points off two kills by freshman middle blocker Stephen Moye. Cal Baptist continued to battle, led by middle blockers Jackson Burge and Enrique Garcia, who tallied seven kills apiece. With the score at 23-20, junior setter Kyle Dagostino laid out for a diving dig to reach set point. Stanford would take the set 25-21.

The Cardinal remained in front for all of the third set, taking the lead early behind serving by Ewert. The sophomore has taken a new role in his second year on the team, developing his leadership on and off the court.

“Coming into this year I had a talk with the coaches about being a leader and staying positive,” said Ewert. “The guys who have experience are going to be the ones setting the tone for the rest of the team.”

The team improved to hit .417 percent in the final set, helped by the defensive effort of junior libero Evan Enriques, who racked up 10 digs playing against his younger brother, Cal Baptist libero Emmett. Both teams increased their consistency throughout the match, until sophomore middle Chris Moore nailed a kill to bring the match to a close in Stanford’s favor.

With a week of practices before a road trip to CSUN and Long Beach State on Friday and Saturday, the Cardinal hope to continue their momentum and focus on greater balance on both offense and defense.


Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand ‘at’

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