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Sports Mailbag: Bring out your questions

By and

The Daily has established a mailbag to field questions from the Cardinal faithful. Beat writers from each sport, plugged into their sources on campus, will be tapped to answer any and all questions to the best of their abilities. Questions can be sent through Twitter, Facebook or email (sports ‘at’ stanforddaily.com).

Over/under win total for football next year?  

Pablo N.

When will we win a Rose Bowl again?

Michael E.

Okay, and hear me out on this: 9.5. Heading into this year, I predicted a 9-4 season. I think next year’s team will be more talented. In spite of all of the transfer drama, next year’s team has a window and is poised for success. Realistically, next year’s team could be a Rose Bowl team. Davis Mills looked legit, the wide receiving corps is nasty, the gaggle of young running backs between the sophomores and incoming freshmen are scary and the offensive line is experienced. On defense, there are a lot of unknowns, especially upfront, but there should be a lot more speed all around. The non-conference schedule is no cake walk, but as far as even-year Stanford football schedules go, this one should be better, with just one home game before NSO. Cal is the only other team in the north with a returning starting quarterback. -Daniel Martinez-Krams (DMK)

What are you hearing about Haley Jones’ injury? And do you know why Fran Belibi didn’t play against Oregon State, after playing just 11 minutes vs. Oregon?

Robert M.

Fran Belibi was held out of Sunday’s game with a sprained ankle. I have yet to hear anything more about the Jones injury, but everyone is hoping for the best. -DMK

Which Stanford Football team is our best of all time?

Stephen A.

I don’t think it’s a terribly difficult call to say 2010. That Orange Bowl win was glorious. 12-1. Andrew Luck. The start of the best decade in Stanford football in terms of wins and losses. The team finished in offense, second in net points per drive and sixth in defense. The number of not only future NFL players, but NFL difference-makers, is astounding. -DMK

Do women’s soccer or women’s volleyball retain titles? 

Pablo N.

I don’t know if it’s too early, or way too early to make this comparison, but next year’s women’s soccer senior class reminds me a lot of this year’s women’s volleyball senior class. And it’s not just that each group has a two-time player of the year. Volleyball won the natty their freshman, junior and senior seasons. So far, soccer has won their freshman and junior seasons. Each of their sophomore seasons ended in the semifinals at the Final Four. Stanford’s soccer recruiting class was ranked first overall by TopDrawerSoccer, the volleyball recruiting class was placed atop Volleyball Magazine’s recruiting rankings. 

All of this is to say soccer is extremely well-positioned to defend their title next season. -DMK

The initial reaction is probably no, women’s volleyball won’t repeat for the third year. Just two of the team’s seven starters from last season are returning, and associate head coach Denise Corlett announced her retirement this week. The amount of talent lost on the court — and the sidelines — is hard to quantify. 

Meanwhile, the 2019 tournament was touted as one of the most evenly matched, with any of the top-seeds having a chance at the title. Now, three three-set sweeps from Stanford showed that wasn’t entirely true, but the rest of the country will continue to improve, with or without the Cardinal.

Does this mean the Cardinal are doomed? Absolutely not. The roster is being replenished with some of the top recruits in the country, and the young base of the team is already very good. The hitters will be of least concern, as Kendall Kipp has already proven to be a dynamic player with great offensive capabilities. Natalie Berty had only a few appearances, but she made the most of them. And then there are whispers that Catie Baird, who redshirted this past season, will be the best of the bunch.

More concerning are the holes in the setter and libero positions because of the impact Jenna Gray and Morgan Hentz had on the team. Certain blemishes can get smoothed over when the nation’s best setter leads the offense while the top libero covers the defense. The silver lining may be that most of the starters next year will have played with the legendary class for only a year or two.

One of the biggest factors to the team’s success might not even be on the court. It is mentally very hard to defend a championship and even harder to do it a third time. It will be imperative for the Cardinal to control the pressure — coming both internally and externally — next year. -James Hemker

Suggestions for improving fan engagement across sports (in response to athletics survey)?

Pablo N.

Now this is a topic that Inyoung and I have been looking into, and there’s no easy answer. Nationally, attendance is dipping, even for SEC football. Clearly, the in-stadium experience is losing ground to the television experience, or people are turning away altogether. Stanford already does a lot with its free tickets and rewards points, but I think there needs to be some draw that can only be found by coming to the game. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a winning program, other times it’s a huge event like the Big Game, but it can also look like an atmosphere that is so electric that it’s unavoidable.  -DMK

Contact Daniel Martinez-krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu and James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Daniel Martinez-Krams '22 is a staff writer in the sports section covering football, women's soccer, women's basketball and baseball. He is originally from Berkeley, California. Contact him at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.
James Hemker '21 is a Managing Editor of Sports. A computer science major, he has made the cross-country journey to the Farm from Baltimore, MD. After being tortured for years by the Redskins, Browns, and Orioles, the wide successes of the Cardinal have shown him that the teams you root for can in fact win championships. Contact James at jahemker 'at' stanford.edu.