STANFORD, Calif. – The No. 7 Stanford men’s volleyball team swept two-time defending national champion UC Irvine, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19, Saturday, at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. The Cardinal, which has swept its last three opponents, moves to 7-4 overall and 4-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while the Anteaters fall to 7-7 on the year and 4-6 in conference.
For the third straight match, the Cardinal posted an attack percentage above .340, hitting .381 against the Anteaters. Stanford limited its attack errors to 11 and also out blocked UCI, 7.0 to 4.0.
“We did our best to get into our usual routine today,” said senior Eric Mochalski after the match. “It was different playing this early, but the coaches did a good job of getting our minds right. Throughout the match we were really focused and determined to complete the task at hand.”
Senior outside hitter Steven Irvin led the team with 14 kills on 23 swings with just two errors to hit .522. He was a perfect 7-for-7 in the opening set. Mochalski pitched in with 12 kills on a .526 attack percentage to go with a team-best seven digs. Senior outside hitter Brian Cook finished with nine kills and four digs.
Stanford trailed UC Irvine 16-13 in the second set, but finished out on a 12-5 to swing the moment its way. Sophomore setter James Shaw finished with 34 assists, while senior middle Denny Falls totaled four kills and four blocks.
“It was huge for us to win both of these matches this week,” added Mochalski. “We had a bit of a rough start to the conference. We’ve started to figure some things out. I think we are playing really well. That is a very good Irvine team that we just beat. We are going to go into next week with a lot of confidence.”
Junior opposite Zack La Cavera led UCI with nine kills and two blocks. Senior middle Scott Kevorken finished with eight kills on a .538 attack percentage, while junior libero Michael Brinkley tallied a match-best 13 digs.
Stanford will play at Pacific on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. PT. The Cardinal will return to Maples on Saturday, Feb. 15 to take on No. 4 BYU. The match against the Cougars will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks at 7 p.m. PT.