The No. 3 Matadors hit the road this weekend and head to Northern California for back-to-back matches against No. 2 Stanford and Pacific Friday and Saturday night.
The match against the Cardinal (3-1, 3-1 MPSF) will mark the second straight week the Matadors (6-1, 3-1 MPSF) face a top five team (UC Irvine Jan. 20).
“Stanford is a really good team just like every team in this league is good,” head coach Jeff Campbell said. “If we are playing 100 percent and ready to go mentally and physically we can have a shot. If we play medium or below average we can lose every match…we have to serve and pass to win.”
Stanford is led by senior opposite hitter Evan Romero (4.36 kpg), sophomore outside hitter Brad Lawson (4.64 kpg) and All-American brothers senior setter Kawika Shoji (14.36 apg) and sophomore libero Erik Shoji (3.21 dpg).
Last season the Shojis became the first brothers ever to earn first-team honors in the same year.
The Matadors will be looking to take their frustration out on the Cardinal after an embarrassing loss to UCLA last Friday at home. For the first time in the early part of the season the Matadors dropped the first set and were down two sets in a match.
“I think we just have to learn from our mistakes,” senior outside hitter Theo Edwards said. “That position we were put in against UCLA where we were on our back for a little bit and we didn’t respond for the first time is something we got to learn from and really change it for the next time we are put in that position.”
Last year against the Cardinal, the Matadors split a pair a matches as each team held court and won 3-1 at home.