Sports


Cardinal men tame Cougars again in MPSF volleyball

 

The unranked Stanford men's volleyball team enjoyed beating No. 4 BYU so much, the Cardinal decided an encore performance was in order Saturday. Stanford beat the visiting Cougars, 25-21, 24-16, 26-24, 25-18, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match.

The Cardinal won its third straight, using the same lineup back-to-back games for just the fourth time this season. The Cougars (13-5, 10-4) lost two straight for the first time.

Stanford out-hit BYU for the second straight night (.236 to .181) and holds a three-match winning streak over the Cougars dating back to last year's NCAA semifinals.

"I think we are starting to gel," Stanford coach John Kosty said. "We have been working really hard on our overall game. Trying to rely on our teammates and having everybody just do their job, and the last two nights that's exactly what we've done. We really played"

After decisively winning the opening set, Stanford never led in the second and BYU evened the match by edging the Cardinal 26-24.

The Cougars took a 23-20 advantage in the critical third set, but a 6-1 Stanford run closed out the set.

Down 24-23, Kosty subbed in junior Alex Stephanus for Madison Hayden in the front row. Stephanus immediately registered a solo block to tie the match. Conrad Kaminski and Gabriel Vega closed out the set with solo blocks of their own.

"We put in Alex Stephanus to help shore up our left side block knowing they were going after it in that rotation," Kosty said. "He came up with a terrific block. That was the game- and the match-changer right there in that one play."

The momentum from the third-set comeback carried over to the fourth set as Stanford hit .368 and overcame six tie scores and four lead changes to close the door on the Cougars.

"We really played like a team," said Kosty. "We played some really exciting volleyball against a talented BYU team. They can compete, they can play. It was a fun two nights of volleyball."

Redshirt sophomore Gabriel Vega led Stanford offensively. He turned in a career high 21 kills on a .425 attack percentage to go with 10 digs and four blocks for his first career double-double.

"Gabriel is playing within himself and he is making really smart decisions on balls that he can't hit and if he doesn't have a good swing he is doing smart things with it," Kosty said. "He right now has really stepped up his game and is playing at a really high level."

Hayden added 17 kills, five digs and three aces for the Cardinal. Senior middle blocker Spencer Haly finished with a season-high nine blocks, including two solo. Fifth-year senior Daniel Tublin tallied six kills, 11 digs, three blocks and two aces.

Junior setter James Shaw accumulated a season-high 51 assists, while freshman libero Evan Enriques had a team-best 12 digs.

Stanford completes its seven-match homestand on Friday against UC San Diego at 5 p.m.

Track and field

Making her collegiate track and field debut, Lena Giger set a Stanford freshman record in the hammer throw to win the event at the Cal Outdoor Opener at Edwards Stadium on Saturday.

Giger threw 188-3 to break the 2001 mark of 187-0 set by Jessica Pluth. Giger's throw also makes her the No. 6 performer in Stanford history in that event.

Stanford brought eight athletes, including six throwers, to the five-team meet, but did not participate in the team scoring. The Stanford women dominated the throwing events. Besides Giger's victory in the hammer, Cardinal women won the discus (sophomore Valarie Allman, 183-4) and the shot put (senior Rebecca Hammar, 48-7 ¾).

Allman's discus throw was the No. 3 toss by an American this year. Allman, the 2014 world junior runner-up, and Hammar (170-2) posted the top two throws by collegians in 2015.

Giger's throw is the second-farthest by a collegian so far. It also bettered her personal record of 185-9.

"I went into today's competition with my focus on the technique we've been working on lately," Giger said. "The last few weeks have gone really well, so I knew a PR was definitely a possibility."

Her first attempts were a bit cautious, but "eventually, I picked up some speed and things started to click."

Giger didn't find out she broke the record until after the meet, during which she also placed second in the shot put (47-10).

"I'm quite happy with today's throws and definitely excited to get the rest of the season underway," she said.

The Cardinal completes its indoor season March 13-14 at the NCAA Championships, and resumes its outdoor season at the Texas Relays on March 26 and the Stanford Invitational on April 3-4.

Baseball

Texas ace Parker French outdueled Stanford's Brett Hanewich on Saturday at Sunken Diamond to give Texas its first win of a four-game series that concludes Sunday.

The Longhorns edged the Cardinal 3-1 to win at Sunken Diamond for the first time in their last nine tries.

Stanford (9-7) stranded 12 runners, including nine over the final four innings to take the loss despite outhitting Texas, 8-6.

Freshman Mikey Diekroeger was one of three Cardinal players with multiple hits, going 2-3 and driving in Stanford's only run on a double in the sixth.

Hanewich (1-1) was the tough-luck loser, going 6 2/3 innings while allowing three runs on five hits. He struck out seven and walked three, as he kept Texas scoreless after the second inning.

French (2-1) limited Stanford to six hits in the first seven frames. The righthander worked out of jams in the sixth and seventh, before giving way to Kirby Bellow, who came in for his third straight day of action.

Freshmen Matt Winaker and Beau Branton joined Diekroeger with two hits. Branton also walked three times to reach base in each of his five plate appearances. Winaker (.386) and Diekroeger (.395) lead the team in hitting.

Gabe Cramer pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings for Stanford.

Women's tennis

No. 10 Stanford beat visiting Colorado, 6-1, Saturday in a Pac-12 Conference match.

The Cardinal (2-0, 9-2) is off for two weeks before a match with UCLA on March 21.

Stanford set the tone from the outset at Taube Family Tennis Stadium. Caroline Doyle and Ellen Tsay made quick work at No. 2 doubles, needing just 36 minutes to post an 8-0 victory, which was followed in quick order by Carol Zhao and Taylor Davidson at No. 1 doubles, who had little difficulty in their 8-2 victory.

Stanford went to work in singles play where Krista Hardebeck won 12 straight games after dropping the opener, to cruise at No. 4 singles, 6-1, 6-0.

After Hardebeck's win, the team victory was assured within minutes as Tsay and Doyle finished their matches in close order. Tsay earned a 6-2, 6-0 victory at No. 5 while Doyle was dominant at No. 3 with a 6-1, 6-0 victory.

With Stanford leading 6-0, Colorado salvaged a match at No. 6 where Ashley Tiefel defeated Nora Tan 6-4, 6-2.

Colorado (9-4, 0-2 Pac-12) has lost all four of its matches on the road this season, including three of its last four outings.

Women's gymnastics

Elizabeth Price and Taylor Rice claimed individual event victories Saturday at No. 8 UCLA as the Cardinal fell to the Bruins 197.950-196.625.

Stanford (5-7-1, 3-5 Pac-12) delivered a consistent performance, scoring 49.075 or higher in each event and hitting 22-of-24 routines.

Price continued to excel on vault, tying for the individual event win with a 9.950. She has won or claimed a share of the vault title in six-of-seven performances. Price has registered individual event victories in 10-of-12 performances this season.

Rice has provided consistency for the Cardinal throughout the season and continued her strong junior campaign with a first-place finish in the all-around with a 39.350. It is her fifth all-around victory and 11th win on the season.

Kristina Vaculik competed in the all-around for the first time this season and contributed scores in all four events. She performed her first floor routine this year and tied for fourth with a 9.900.

Fencing

Stanford will send six fencers to the NCAA Championship following West Regional competition Saturday at UC San Diego.

In two of the six divisions, Stanford fencers finished first and second, while a total of four Cardinal fencers won their respective division.

On the mens side, Alexander Massialas cruised to a first place finish in the mens foil competition. The junior from San Francisco was untouchable throughout the day, defeating all 14 of his opponents. The 2013 NCAA Champion in men's foil makes his third appearance at nationals in as many season.

Competing in his hometown San Diego, sophomore Ben Riviere won the mens epee division. This comes a year after barely missing out on the semifinals of the NCAA West Regionals last season.

Freshman Becca Rose and sophomore May Peterson capped an impressive Cardinal showing in the women's epee division by finishing first and second respectively.

Peterson improved on her third place finish last year, while Rose was the youngest Cardinal fencer to advance to nationals.

In the women's saber division, Stephanie Wang and Alexa Rohan matched Rose and Peterson, finishing first and second respectively.

Rohan makes her second trip to the NCAA Championships in as many seasons. Wang, who was eliminated at the hands of fellow Cardinal sophomore Rohan in last year's regional semifinal, makes her first appearance.

The National Championships will be held in Columbus, Ohio, hosted by Ohio State, beginning March 19.

Softball

Stanford split a pair of games Saturday at the Louisville Slugger Classic, defeating Santa Clara 13-5 in six innings and falling to No. 17 Minnesota 9-1 in five innings.

The Cardinal (13-13) provided plenty of offense, hitting .377 as a team over the two games with a .566 slugging percentage. Eight Stanford players combined for 20 hits.

Tylyn Wells and Hanna Winter paced the Cardinal, both going 4-for-7 (.571) on the day. Wells registered two RBIs and two walks, while Winter produced three runs, two RBI and a triple.

"We swung the bats really well today," said Stanford coach Rachel Hanson. "We saw great results against Santa Clara and had some hits go right to people against Minnesota. We're stepping in the box aggressively and looking for good pitches early in the count. We're being disciplined about not swinging at other pitchers' strengths out of the zone."

Haley Snyder, Kylie Sorenson and Wells each saw time in the circle Saturday. Sorenson (2-1) picked up the win against Santa Clara while Wells (0-2) was tagged with the loss against the Golden Gophers.

"Everyone who pitched today brought their full effort," said Hanson. "They battled throughout the day and I was pleased with all of their efforts."

Men's tennis

The Stanford team of Tom Fawcett and Maciek Romanowicz reached the quarterfinals of the Pacific Coast Doubles tournament in La Jolla before losing on Saturday.

The pair beat USC's Rob Bellamy and Connor Farren, 6-4, 7-5, in the round of 16 to open the day.

Stanford's Yale Goldberg and Robert Stineman lost to Rice's Maxwell Andrews and David Warren, 7-6 (4), 7-5, in the round of 16.

Sand volleyball

The Stanford sand volleyball team finished runner-up in the NorCal Invitational at Stanford Sand Volleyball Stadium, Saturday, defeating Santa Clara 3-2 before falling to Pacific 5-0 in the championship.

Santa Clara edged Saint Mary's 3-2 to finish in third place, while California swept Sacramento State, 5-0, to claim fifth. USF defeated San Jose State 4-1 to take seventh.

Following the team portion of the tournament, the teams have been split into three separate brackets based on seeds for a pairs tournament, which will conclude on Sunday.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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