Service and attacking errors hindered the ability of No. 9 Stanford men’s volleyball (13-13, 8-10 MPSF) to even nip at the heels of No. 3 BYU (24-3, 16-2) in the MPSF quarterfinals on Saturday in Provo, Utah. Ultimately, the Cougars swept the match 25-19, 25-21, 25-18.
Playing in his final match for the Cardinal, fifth-year senior outside hitter Gabriel Vega earned his first double-double of the season with a team-high 12 kills and a season-best 11 digs.
The first two sets gave Stanford an edge in hitting percentage, topping BYU .222 to .200, but the Cougars led the entire final set with stellar hitting that put them at .315 overall to the Cardinal’s .182. BYU had six more aces, four fewer service errors and eight less attacking errors in front of an indomitable home crowd.
Despite the intimidating BYU fan base, the bench provided both energy — or “bennergy,” as was coined in a five-set comeback win against the Cougars early last season — and some positive contributions on the court. Junior libero Kyle Dagostino came off the bench for three digs and the Cardinal’s sole ace. Sophomore outside hitter Jordan Ewert, though usually a starter, entered the match for the final two sets after missing the team’s last 10 matches with an ankle injury.
In their last game wearing cardinal and white, senior Colin McCall added seven kills and five digs, and senior Clay Jones notched four kills and a pair of digs. The team as a whole tallied 27 digs to the Cougars’ 24.
Following a 6-2 start to the year, Stanford struggled a bit toward the end of the season, falling in four straight matches to close out March. Though dominating UC San Diego in the final match of regular season play, the Cardinal’s postseason was short-lived with Saturday’s loss to the Cougars.
Contact Tristan Vanech at tvanech ‘at’ stanford.edu.