April 20, 2013
LONG BEACH, Calif. - There is a desperation at the end of a season - to keep it alive, all those goals and dreams.
For Stanford, that dream ended, along with its season. Though not without a fight. Facing elimination at the hands of Long Beach State in the first round of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's volleyball tournament on Saturday, Stanford collected itself to make one last push.
The Cardinal indeed fought desperately, and reached three set points at the Walter Pyramid. But it wasn't enough, and Long Beach State emerged with a 25-21, 25-17, 30-28 victory.
Steven Irvin had a match-high 17 kills, but could not prevent No. 6-ranked Stanford from losing to No. 2 Long Beach State.
"We couldn't get into a rhythm tonight," Stanford coach John Kosty said. "We had a couple of good opportunities, but we couldn't take advantage of them."
Stanford (15-13) ends its season while Long Beach State (23-7) advances to a conference semifinal matchup against UC Irvine in Provo, Utah. The MPSF tournament champion advances to the four-team NCAA playoffs.
Irvin had only four errors on 27 swings for a .481 hitting percentage, and had seven digs. Stanford, however, was limited to only .204 hitting as a team.
Brian Cook, an All-MPSF first-team selection, had 14 kills, four digs and two block assists. The team's lone senior, Jake Kneller, had two service aces in his final collegiate match. One of those aces gave Stanford a 26-25 third-set lead.
"There's a lot we can learn from this season," Kosty said. "We definitely see some bright spots and the opportunity to get better.