Stanford men stretch volleyball win streak to four matches


Recording its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation three-set sweep, the 13th-ranked Stanford men's volleyball team defeated visiting UC San Diego, 25-21, 25-17, 25-17, Friday, at Maples Pavilion.

The Cardinal (6-8 MPSF, 9-11 overall) returned to the national rankings after knocking off then No. 4 BYU twice. Stanford extended its winning streak to four matches.

Stanford, which has out hit its opponents in all nine of its wins this season, posted a .268 attack percentage while holding UCSD to a .099 clip. The Tritons hitting percentage was the second-lowest by a Cardinal opponent this year.

Junior middle blocker Conrad Kaminski led the team with a .583 hitting percentage, posting nine kills to go with four digs, three blocks and an ace. Senior middle blocker Spencer Haly chipped in with six kills on .545 hitting.

"I thought tonight was a good team win," said ninth-year Stanford coach John Kosty. "Our middles did a really nice job. That was pretty much the backbone of our effort. UC San Diego is a solid team that played great defense and blocked really well."

Redshirt sophomore Gabriel Vega, the reigning MPSF Player of the Week and AVCA National Player of the Week, finished with a match-high 10 kills and five digs. Junior outside hitter Madison Hayden added nine kills, eight digs and two aces.

Junior setter James Shaw controlled the offense with 32 assists to go with eight digs and three blocks. Redshirt freshman middle blocker Kevin Rakestraw played in two sets and tallied three service aces. In total, 13 Cardinal players took the court against the Tritons.

"The team works really hard day in and day out, and everyone contributes," Kosty said. "A match is just like any other day where guys earn their positions and roles. They are also contributors on this team who help us win and help us keep improving so we can have the type of season we want to have this year."

Stanford will take a two-week break for winter final exams before taking the court again on March 27 at Cal State Northridge.

"It's time to get healthy, recover and get over some nagging injuries, and then be ready for the last push," Kosty said. "I think we have done a nice job of putting ourselves back into the playoff picture and now we just need to keep improving week after week."

Track and field

Stanford set a school record in capturing second in the women's distance medley relay at the NCAA indoor track and field championships Friday, repeating its finish of last year.

The team of Jessica Tonn, Olivia Baker, Claudia Saunders, and Elise Cranny ran 10:53.66, trailing only repeat champion Arkansas, which ran 10:51.89 on its home track, a 200-meter banked surface at the Randal Tyson Center.

The DMR -- consisting of legs of 1,200, 400, 800, and 1,600 meters – has been Stanford's signature event indoors. This is the ninth national top-five finish for the Cardinal.

Cranny ran a 4:31.50 on the 1,600-meter anchor leg in a hard-fought duel with Razorback anchor Dominique Scott, who ran 4:28.90 to overtake the freshman over the final 400 meters. In a race reminiscent of last year, the Cardinal held the lead going into the final leg only for Scott to run the Razorbacks to victory.

Stanford's time was the fifth-fastest in collegiate and NCAA championship history. It also broke the year-old school record of 10:54.04 set by Amy Weissenbach, Kristyn Williams, Saunders, and Justine Fedronic.

Tonn led off and had Stanford in third after 1,200 at the first exchange, in 3:23.69. Baker followed with a 53.62 in the 400, handing the baton to Saunders in second.

In her 800 leg, Saunders overtook Arkansas leader Therese Haiss while running a 2:04.87 split and trailed only Michigan going into the final leg. But it didn't take long for the relay to become a two-woman race.

In the men's DMR, Stanford's team of Thomas Coyle, Jackson Shumway, Luke Lefebure, and Sean McGorty, placed 10th in 9:50.50.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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