By James Hemker
After losing a disappointing five-set match on Jan. 8, seventh-ranked men’s volleyball rebounded to win the AVCA Showcase in Fairfax, VA. The Cardinal earned the title with a 3-1 victory over New Jersey Institute on Jan. 10 and a sweep of George Mason on Jan. 11.
Senior setter Paul Bischoff was named Most Valuable Player. Senior outside Eric Beatty, junior opposite Jaylen Jasper and senior middle Stephen Moye all joined Bischoff on the All-Tournament Team.
Through both games, Bischoff tallied 78 assists, averaging over 11 assists per set. Thanks to his efforts, the Cardinal hit .402 against New Jersey Institute and .333 against George Mason. The team hit .250 in the only set it dropped during the weekend and was above .300 in all other sets. Bischoff contributed in all areas of the game, committing just three service errors, upping 11 total balls and blocking six total shots.
Jasper was Bischoff’s favorite target, and the 6’7” right side hitter finished both games with double-digit kills. Against the Highlanders, Jasper put away 11 kills on .474 hitting, and he terminated 10 more against the Patriots the next day. Jasper also led the team in digs (eight) against George Mason. He and Beatty were the only servers to record an ace in both games.
After an eight-kill performance against New Jersey Institute, Beatty paced the court against George Mason with 12 kills on .364 hitting. He finished the tournament with the second-most kills for the Cardinal.
In the middle, Moye was Stanford’s most efficient weapon. On 27 total swings, he tallied 17 kills and just two errors for a weekend hitting efficiency of .556. With his junior counterpart Kyler Presho, Moye controlled the net as the Cardinal out-blocked opponents 19-7. Moye had a hand in seven.
Presho was the real blocking machine, as he recorded eight blocks against the Highlanders before tying Moye with three for the team-high against the Patriots. Three of his eight blocks against New Jersey Institute were solo blocks. That marks the most solo blocks in a match by a Cardinal since April of 2017.
Averaging 2.17 digs per set, redshirt freshman libero Justin Lui paced the team with 16 ups on the weekend.
Between the wall in the front row and Lui’s back row control, opposing offenses were unable to generate any points. The Highlanders hit .089 in their loss and George Mason fared worse with a .077 hitting efficiency. In three of the seven sets Stanford played, its opponents hit in the negatives.
The official team stats stretch as far back as the 2017 season, and there is no previous occurrence of the Cardinal defense holding opponents below .100 hitting in back-to-back matches.
Stanford will face its first ranked opponent of 2020 with No. 8 UC Irvine on Jan. 17. The Cardinal will then return home for a meeting with No. 5 UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 25.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.