well, i got my first look at the Stanford squad for the 1997
season and thought i'd post my observations and a game summary.
unfortunately, i don't have Ravi's ability to chart one team,
scout the other, and argue about the AVP all at the same time,
so my discussion will focus primarily on Stanford.
i went into the game with some high expectaction, but like a
child anticipating Christmas, i was disappointed when the
time arrived. i expected to see an awesome offense, great
blocking and so, so passing. rather i saw a powerful but
uncontroled offsense, sloppy blocking, and surprisely good
Stanford played all six starters in the three games it took
to defeat Cal. Stuart Chong started as setter and in serving
sequence, he was followed by Andy Witt, Mike Hoefer, Matt
Fuerbringer, Mike Lambert, and Keenan Whithurst. Tyler Neal
played back row for Hoefer during the ends of games 1,2, and 3
and Brett Cravalt played back row for Whitehurst. if i got my
facts straight, Cravalt is a first year grad student in the
law school and had done his undergrad at Berkeley.
Game one saw a very flat Stanford team come out to face an
inspired Cal team. the Bears lost 15-9 in a well fought battle.
they played evenly although Stanford stayed a few a points
ahead most of the time. around 10-9 Stanford closed out the
game over the next couple of rotations.
i started to see a sliver of the full potential of the Stanford
team as they raised their level of play to beat Cal 15-4 behind
some really tough serving and excellent back row defense. Ravi
is correct in his point that back row defense is becoming a very
important part of the men's game.
this game saw a return to the same sluggish style play as game
one. Cal lead most of the game as we saw side out after side out
with each team giving up a point peridically and with neither team
capable of stringing together more than two or three. with Stanford
trailing 6-8 Mike Lambert serves for two points thus tying the score
at 8-8. Berkeley then scores 8-9 on a Stanford hitting error.
Stanford sides-out and Cravalt comes in for Whitehurst to serve for
points 9, 10, and 11 at which point Berkeley calls time out. when they
return, they are able to side out. Stanford sides-out and Chong
comes back to serve points 12, 13, and 14. Cal again calls time out.
when Chong serves, Cal shanks the pass and ultimately free balls it
over. a bad pass going to the left side hitter led to confusion on
who was suppose to set it and ended with a failed attempt to get the
ball over the net. after Stanford gets the side out, Andy Witt rips an
unreturnable jump serve for game and match at 15-9.
now for some general observations:
let's get back to expectations. Stanford's offense was very
uncontrolled. Stanford has some incredible hitters, but they could
not control their power. a lot of Cal's points were obtained by
hitting errors by the Cardinal. Andy Witt especially in game one
put a number of hits well beyond the endline or far outside the
sidelines. to his credit, he did settle down by game three. he
has a lot of talent but needs to be groomed to play smart. his
leap is just unbelievable making me think he somehow has springs
in his shoes. i wish i could find a pair like that!
Lambert was the one exception and showed intelligence in shot
selection for any given set. rather than try to pound a poor low
set that would end up in the net, he smartly kept the Cal defense
on guard by placing a number of very good rolls. he didn't
get the kill there, but Cal was ussually unable to get off a good
transition play. as a result, Stanford got the ball back and was
capable of terminating the rally in transition. Andy Witt, in
similar situations, but the ball into the net.
Lambert and Witt are outsides and Fuerbringer plays opposite.
something that may surprise people in this group is that Lambert
is the third passer. Witt and Fuerbringer are the primary passers
with Lambert stepping into serve receive for jump serves. i was
very impressed by Stanford's passing. the middle was an option
for many rotations.
the main concern i have is the lack of chemistry on the team.
Mike Lambert provides experience and guidance but does not really
cement the team together. the Stanford women would go out to
play a game and have some fun in the process. the men look like
they trying to make it to quitin' time at a dead end job. the teams
needs some cohesiveness if they are to obtain a national championship.
well, i hope you all find this info insightful. if i can get myself
motivated enough, i'll start charting and hopefully be able to provide
some more in depth game reports.
| CISX 305-2 | http://www-leland.stanford.edu/~fmr/ |
| Dept. of EE, MC 4075 | fax: (415) 725-7731 |
| Stanford University | phone: (415) 723-1482 |
| Stanford, CA 94305 | |