Men’s volleyball to face CSUN, LBSU in weekend road trip

Feb. 2, 2017, 12:57 a.m.

Coming off back-to-back sweeps against USC and Cal Baptist at home last week, No. 7 Stanford men’s volleyball (6-2, 3-0 MPSF) will hit the road to take on No. 14 CSUN (8-3, 1-3) and No. 3 Long Beach State (7-2, 3-1) next Friday and Saturday.

The Cardinal must bring the balanced play that has highlighted their early part of the season as they face off with two ranked conference opponents. Undefeated in conference matchups so far this year, Stanford has showcased a consistent offense, spearheaded by sophomore outside hitter Jordan Ewert, who leads the team in kills, and senior middle Kevin Rakestraw. Rakestraw sits second in the nation with a .570 hitting percentage and fourth in blocks per set (1.23).  

Stanford’s defense has been on fire lately, holding opponents to a .209 average hitting percentage for the season. Junior libero Evan Enriques, who paces the team with 57 digs, has put his leadership on display, guiding the Cardinal defense while playing in every set.  

Facing a CSUN team that also swept twice last week, the Cardinal must continue playing confidently in order to keep their win streak alive. The Matadors are led by sophomore outside hitter Dimitar Kalchev, who took over as the national leader in aces per set (0.82) this week. The team also leads the NCAA with a .392 hitting percentage, so Stanford’s defense will be put to the test.   

With a number of matchups against ranked opponents in these next few weeks, Stanford has the opportunity to continue rising in the standings if it can deliver strong performances. And with top-ranked players on both offense and defense, the team has the talent and capability to compete with the best of the NCAA.

Stanford will face Cal State Northridge on Friday at 7 p.m. in Northridge, California. The team will continue south to play Long Beach State on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Long Beach, California.


Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand ‘at’

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