For the first time this season, No. 3 Stanford men’s volleyball (19-4, 17-4 MPSF) was swept at the hands of No. 4 UCLA (22-5, 16-5). Despite a rally at the end of the third set, the Cardinal were unable to best the Bruins as they struggled with accuracy, hit a season-low .158 clip and fell victim to UCLA’s 9.5 team blocks. As a result, the Cardinal are likely to drop into second place in the MPSF standings, affecting their seed for the upcoming MPSF quarterfinals.
UCLA jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and maintained a two-point cushion for much of the first. Stanford rallied to tie the game at 24 and 25 and push it to extra points, but a pair of Cardinal errors gave the Bruins a 27-25 win, marking the first time this season that Stanford lost the first set.
Stanford took the lead in the second, but the Bruins came alive midway through, going on a 10-3 run to take the set at 25-18.
Despite the Cardinal’s best efforts, the third set belonged to UCLA. The Bruins capitalized on Cardinal errors and used their strong defense to limit Stanford’s attack. The Cardinal fought back at the end of the set, but while they narrowed the gap, they were unable to regain the lead and lost the set 25-22.
As a whole, Stanford’s attack was limited as it hit just .158 to UCLA’s .307. Senior setter James Shaw tallied his fourth double-double of the season (20 assists, 11 digs) and outside hitters Gabriel Vega and Madison Hayden led the team with 7 and 6 kills, respectively, but their production could not match UCLA’s powerful sophomore duo of JT Hatch and Jake Arnitz, who tallied 15 and 12 kills, respectively.
Up next, the Cardinal will close out the regular season on the road with a matchup against No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (17-9, 12-8). The last time these teams met, Stanford swept the Gauchos. With the MPSF quarterfinals just around the corner, the Cardinal will look to build momentum heading into the postseason.
The match will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 9. Live stats will be available on GoStanford.com.
Contact Olivia Hummer at [email protected]