Marking the first home game with in-person fans in almost two years, No. 12 Stanford men’s volleyball (7-3, 0-0 MPSF) made quick work of Menlo (10-1, 0-0 GSAC), winning in straight sets on Friday night.
With 412 fans in attendance at Burnham Pavilion, the Cardinal had a chance to display the improvements that they have made since last year’s three-win season. As a team, Stanford hit .337 on Friday, racking up 45 kills and seven service aces in the sweep.
Still, Menlo was more than capable of putting up a fight. After being down throughout most of the first set, the Oaks battled back to take a 24-23 lead in the first. Facing set-point and an early deficit, junior middle blocker Nathaniel Gates rose up for a kill to tie the score for the Cardinal. Despite falling behind again in extra points, two Menlo errors and an ace from junior outside hitter Kevin Lamp gave Stanford the 28-26 win and a 1-0 set lead.
After a hard-fought opening set, Stanford looked dominant from the start in the second. Redshirt sophomore middle blocker Ethan Hill and junior outside hitter Will Rottman gave Stanford an early advantage, with each recording six kills and never letting Menlo within striking distance. Stanford won the second set 25-16.
Menlo looked resurgent in the third set, taking a 10-6 lead early — its largest advantage of the night. The lead did not last long, however, as Stanford answered with six straight points of its own. The final set quickly turned into a Rottman exhibition, as the junior put up another six kills, while the Cardinal defense stepped up to allow just nine kills from Menlo.
Friday’s win also included another strong performance from Hill, who recorded 12 kills over the course of the game while hitting a team-high .786. Stanford will next face CSUN (3-2, 0-0 Big West) on Feb. 18 at Maples Pavilion.