STANFORD, Calif. – The seventh-ranked Stanford men’s volleyball team dropped a five-set decision to No. 6 Long Beach State (25-17, 27-25, 18-25, 18-25, 11-15), Friday, at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. The Cardinal drops to 4-4 overall and 1-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while the 49ers improve to 5-3 on the year and 4-3 in the conference.
Stanford took a 2-0 lead in the match, but struggled in the third to keep the door open for Long Beach State. The Cardinal was outhit .238 to .212 and committed 15 service errors in its third five-set loss of the season.
“I thought Long Beach upped its game after the first two sets,” said head coach John Kosty. “They did a really nice job opening the third set. They forced our hitters into some difficult situations and were able to capitalize off of that momentum.”
Senior outside hitter Taylor Crabb led the 49ers with an MPSF season-high 29 kills. LBSU senior setter Connor Olbright controlled the 49er offense with 52 assists to go with 17 digs.
“I thought we had a good opportunity in set four, and set five was another tight match, but they did a nice job of winning the transition plays to get that two-point lead that inevitably won the match,” said Kosty.
Stanford was led by senior outside hitter Brian Cook’s 15 kills and 12 digs. Senior Steven Irvin added 14 kills and 11 digs, while senior middle Denny Falls led all players with six blocks. Sophomore setter James Shaw finished with 44 assists, 11 digs and three aces.
The Cardinal utilized its subs in the third set to try and put a stop to a 9-0 49er run. Sophomore setter Joe Ctvrtlik entered the match and collected six assists, three digs and a solo block.
“I thought Joe came in and did a really nice job of calming things down and allowing us to play steady for the rest of the [third] set,” added Kosty.
Stanford will wrap-up the weekend on Saturday, Feb. 1 at home against No. 13 Cal State Northridge. First serve between the Cardinal and Matadors is slated for 7 p.m. PT.