No. 5 Stanford Extends MPSF Win Streak to Eight

4/5/2009

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LA JOLLA, Calif. - Evan Romero had 21 kills and Erik Shoji closed to within two digs of the school single-season record to lead No. 5 Stanford to a 30-26, 21-30, 30-26, 30-25 victory over No. 10 UC San Diego in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's volleyball action on Saturday night.

Stanford (19-8, 12-6), which beat No. 7 Long Beach State on Friday, completed a sweep of its final regular-season road trip and won its eighth consecutive MPSF match to pull into a fourth-place tie with USC. Before the Cardinal began its run of 11 victories in its past 12 matches, the team rested in eighth.

"We're on a good roll right now," Stanford coach John Kosty said. "We're really confident, and that's exactly where we need to be heading into the playoffs."

Stanford has four home matches remaining in the regular season, beginning with a Friday-Saturday series against sixth-place BYU (15-10, 11-7) at Maples Pavilion, with a pair of 7 p.m. starts. The matches will be crucial to conference playoff positioning.

They also should be the venue for Erik Shoji's venture into Stanford history. Shoji, a freshman libero, had 15 digs to increase his season total to 377 and within reach of three-time Olympian Scott Fortune's 1986 total of 379.

Shoji, who has had his share of spectacular digs all season, had one in particular that had to be seen to be believed. While prone on the floor, Shoji kicked the ball over his head to a teammate, who put the down for a kill. Shoji, or at least his foot, got the assist.

Kosty said that Shoji and the team are aware of the record.

"Those are great for end-of-the-season things," Kosty said. "But for us, it's most important to play our volleyball and not be chasing records."   

Romero hit .381, and had five digs, four blocks and three aces for the Cardinal, which also got a 15-kill performance from Brad Lawson and 57 assists from setter Kawika Shoji.

Stanford was able to slow down a UCSD team that sided out at a 90 percent rate in the second set.

"We just regrouped and came out and played like we could," Kosty said.

Senior middle blocker Brandon Williams had 11 kills, many of which were crucial to turning around the match.

Article courtesy of Stanford athletics.

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