After a tremendous season, No. 5 Stanford men’s volleyball (19-6, 17-5 MPSF) fell short in the MPSF quarterfinals, losing in five sets to No. 6 UC Santa Barbara (20-9, 14-8). The Cardinal rallied from an 0-2 set deficit to force a decisive fifth set, but they were defeated 20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 12-15 and are effectively eliminated from any further postseason play.
The Cardinal had struggled late in the season, and at first it appeared that mistakes and lack of cohesion would send them home early. The Gauchos jumped out to an easy 2-0 lead in the match with Stanford struggling to keep up. In particular, the Cardinal struggled with their service, committing 22 errors in the match, including nine in the first set alone. Throughout the match, Stanford outhit UCSB .367 to. 358, but its sloppy play in the first two sets held the team back.
In the third set, Stanford came out with a revitalized attack. While UCSB kept the set very tight and the score was tied eight times, the Cardinal remained on top, led by seven kills from senior outside hitter Madison Hayden. Hayden would post 20 kills on the night for the third time this season.
The fourth went similarly, as the Cardinal pulled away with a three-point cushion that they more or less maintained until their 25-21 set win. As the teams geared up for a decisive fifth set, the momentum appeared to be on Stanford’s side.
The teams were neck-and-neck until a series of Cardinal attack errors gave UCSB a two-point lead at 7-5. Stanford tied it back up at 9-9, but the Gauchos kept the lead from there, taking the set and the match with a 15-12 fifth-set win.
Senior setter James Shaw recorded a season-best 56 assists, and middle blockers Conrad Kaminski and Kevin Rakestraw both managed double-digit kills, with 13 and 11, respectively.
An at-large bid for the NCAA tournament is unlikely, so the season will probably end here for the Cardinal. The team will lose four seniors – Shaw, Kaminski, Hayden and Alex Stephanus – to graduation.
Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.