No. 6 Stanford Takes Down No. 11 USC in Four
Stanford, Calif. - No. 6 Stanford came out strong early, and never looked back in their win over No. 11 USC (30-28, 30-26, 26-30, 30-17) Friday night at Maples Pavilion. Sophomore Evan Romero led the way once again with 19 kills and senior Matt Ceran was right behind with a double-double, finishing with 18 kills and 12 digs.
The Cardinal came out firing in game one as Romero recorded seven kills in the first frame, to go along with four digs. The sophomore opposite hitter tallied a .385 hitting percentage in the game and chipped in a service ace as well, late in the game, to help seal the win. Senior Jesse Meredith recorded three kills in the opening game and hit .286, and was all over the court the entire match.
USC headed into the second game looking focused, but still couldn't contain the Cardinal attackers who hit a combined .406 in the frame. Ceran recorded five kills in nine attacks and freshman Charley Henrikson collected three kills in only five attacks. Ceran was also able to record five digs in the frame, which kept crucial rallies alive and helped the Cardinal maintain their lead throughout the period. Sophomore Kawika Shoji continued his strong play in the frame, tallying 13 of his 46 assists to go along with his steady leadership.
With the Cardinal up 2-0 in the match, USC started to show a sense of urgency and played by far their best game of the night in the third frame. They forced Stanford slightly out of sync on offense, causing the Cardinal to hit -.118 in the third game. Freshman Murphy Troy led the Trojans with four kills in the frame and finished with 17 in the match to lead his squad. USC got the Cardinal down early and withstood a late Stanford run to win the game 30-26 and force a fourth game.
Head Coach John Kosty made a key substitution in the fourth game, sending in junior Brandon Williams, who gave the Cardinal instant energy and made many vital plays in the final game to help preserve the match win. As soon as Williams was inserted, he immediately improved the Stanford blocking and made a key kill late in the match to provide a spark. Freshman Ian Connolly also provided some crucial serves in the final game, which kept the Trojans off balance for the entire game, as the Cardinal continued to be the aggressors. The Cardinal ended up winning the game 30-17, and with the match win improved to 5-1 on the young season, and 2-1 in MPSF conference play.
The Cardinal will return to the court tomorrow to face the No. 2 Pepperdine Wave at Burnham Pavilion. The match will begin at 7:00 p.m. as the Cardinal look to extend their win streak to four games.
Article courtesy of Stanford athletics.