Oregon State travels to Bay Area to take on No. 8 Stanford, California
Oregon State volleyball hits the road this weekend for the first time in two weeks to take on No. 8 Stanford and California.
The Beavers (9-10, 0-8 Pac-12) were unable to break their losing streak last weekend and are hoping a change of scenery might help their record.
“The break has been good from traveling,” said associate head coach Mark Barnard. “But we are going somewhere sunny and warm, and that always makes a difference.”
Stanford (14-4, 7-2) has a strong defensive block. On average, the Cardinal out-block their opponents 2-1.
Oregon State has struggled with performing on the outside. In order to get around Stanford’s block, the Beavers will try to make improvements on their outside hitting.
“This week it was finding ways to get around those big blocks, not tipping and rolling around them but aggressive ways to score points,” Barnard said. “That is your bread and butter. If you don’t have a good outside attack, you won’t win.”
Another focus for the Beavers this week in practice was siding out — when you score a point to return the serve to your own side.
Service has been one of Oregon State’s stronger components to the game and the Beavers are looking to keep the serve more.
“Our serving the last couple weeks has actually been pretty good,” Barnard said. “That’s the one thing that we have definitely had a noticeable level of improvement.”
Both Stanford and Cal (11-6, 4-4) are good hitting teams, averaging more than 14 kills per set. Getting both teams out of their element with good service will be key if the Beavers hope to throw and upset this weekend.
The team has also been experimenting with different lineups to see if that will help them end their eight-game losing streak.
“We used a little bit of a different lineup against Colorado on one set, and that is something we are looking at to maybe use more permanently,” Barnard said.
Despite the various technical aspects OSU has worked on in practice this week, the mental preparation has been the hardest part for the Beavers heading into the weekend.
The coaches wanted to make sure the players were putting in the time at practice and not letting the recent string of losses seep into the training atmosphere.
“Our message to them is always you have to keep training hard,” Barnard said. “We aren’t going to just show up and win a game, the winning is really done from Monday to Thursday.”
The Beavers will see if another week of practice pays off starting Friday at 6 p.m. at Stanford. OSU then faces Cal at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Sarah Kerrigan, sports reporter
On Twitter @skerrigan123