No. 7 Stanford Comes Back to Edge Ball State

2/2/2008

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Stanford, Calif. - No. 7 Stanford men's volleyball fell into an 0-2 hole on Saturday night in Burnham Pavilion, but instead of folding to the large task ahead, they responded and got back on the winning track with a 3-2 (28-30, 25-30, 30-22, 31-29, 15-11) victory over Ball State.

Sophomore Evan Romero led the Cardinal with a career-high 34 kills and also recorded nine digs in his superb effort. Sophomore Miki Groppi got the start at setter and tallied 69 assists in the victory.

The Cardinal opened in game one and looked to be in the same lull that plagued them during the Pacific match on Thursday. The first game went back and forth, with numerous ties and lead changes, with no team taking the lead until late. The team out hit the Cardinals .233 to .188, but still couldn't pull out the game in the end and fell 30-28. The score was tied at 28 apiece, but a kill from Patrick Durbin, a Ball State outside attacker, tallied one of his 25 digs and sealed the game for the Cardinals.

The second game wasn't as close for the Cardinal, as they had a tough time figuring out Ball State. Ball State raced out to a 12-6 lead and led the entire frame and the Cardinal never got within four points after that point. Romero had his best game after recording 12 kills in the frame. Ball State ended the game with a 30-25 victory.

Even in the 0-2 hole, optimism was strong in the Cardinal huddle as they still had confidence that this was their game for the taking. The third game was highlighted by the instant energy of junior Brandon Williams and Groppi, as they led the emotional charge and the comeback effort. The turning point in the game, and possibly the match, was when Head Coach John Kosty inserted senior Matt Ceran, with the score 24-19, and Ceran proceeded to record two straight service aces and got the crowd back in the game. Williams recorded three kills and Groppi assisted on all but one kill, as the Cardinal roared back for a 30-22 victory.

With the crowd back in the game, the Cardinals responded and seemed to have the fourth game in their control with a 17-11 lead. Williams and Ceran then recorded kills to cut the lead to 17-13, and after a Ball State service ace Romero, Ceran and Williams recorded another round of kills to bring Stanford within two. Ceran went on a barrage of kills and finished with seven for the game. The game appropriately ended on a Williams service ace, and the teams were headed to a fifth game.

Romero continued his banner day by recording five kills in the fifth and final game to lead Stanford to a 15-11 victory. Ball State got within 12-10, but Romero recorded back to back kills. Ceran ended the game with a kill of his own and Stanford had its seventh win of the season.

The Cardinal will return to the gym next, Friday, Feb. 8, when they host the UCSB Gauchos at 7:00 p.m. The match will take place at Maples Pavilion.

Article courtesy of Stanford athletics.

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