Maples Pavilion in March is normally home to the first rounds of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
Today, it was home to the first win of the season for Stanford men’s volleyball (1-7, 1-7 MPSF) as the team swept No. 7 Grand Canyon (3-5, 3-5 MPSF).
The Cardinal came out of the gate looking like an even matchup for the Lopes. True freshman outside hitter Luke Turner and sophomore middle blocker Nathaniel Gates kept the team within two points to start the first set. Turner then started showing up on defense, earning 1.5 blocks across back-to-back points to tie the game at 12-12. The first set remained in a dead heat through the media timeout until true freshman outside hitter Kupono Browne landed a kill attempt out of bounds. This prompted head coach John Kosty to call a timeout.
Exiting the timeout down 23-20, Browne took the set into his own hands, scoring two kills and helping tie the game. Timeouts from Grand Canyon’s side couldn’t stop a 5-0 Stanford run to seal the set win for the Cardinal, just their fourth of the season.
Kosty’s squad wasn’t done. The offense continued to click in the second set, which once again kept the team deadlocked with the seventh ranked Lopes. An improvement on defense close to the net and errors by Grand Canyon helped the Cardinal eek out a 25-22 win in the second set.
Browne, Turner and true freshman outside hitter Aidan Peters each recorded five digs in the match, which helped keep the Cardinal alive in crucial points. Despite the close 25-22 score in the third set, the Cardinal’s offense hit a match-high .357 to secure the sweep.
Grand Canyon will look for revenge against the Cardinal on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT.