STANFORD, Calif. – The eighth-ranked Stanford men’s volleyball team rallied from an 0-2 deficit against No. 3 UCLA, but came up short in the fifth set (23-25, 26-28, 25-20, 25-19, 15-17), Monday, at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. The Cardinal drops to 9-6 on the year and to 6-6 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while the Bruins move to 13-3 overall and to 10-2 in the MPSF.
“I thought Brian Cook had a great match for us tonight,” said head coach John Kosty. “Denny Falls played solidly for us also. We are in the rally-score era and so as well as we did play, each game we have to make a couple more plays. A couple of those plays would shift the momentum our way.”
Stanford senior outside hitter Brian Cook finished with 17 kills on 40 attempts with just one error to hit .400. The Santa Cruz, Calif., native also tallied eight digs and four blocks. Senior Steven Irvin finished with 17 kills, a match-high 13 digs and three aces. Senior middle Denny Falls registered a season-high 10 kills on a .562 attack percentage to go with six blocks.
Sophomore setter James Shaw collected 53 assists to go with seven kills and seven digs. Sophomore middle Conrad Kaminski added eight kills and a match-best seven blocks, while redshirt junior libero Scott Sakaida finished with 12 digs in three sets played.
“I thought Scott [Sakaida] came in and did a nice job of settling us down,” added Kosty. “The match was won and lost in the first and second games. We had our opportunities, and to UCLA’s credit, they played well and played consistently. They made some plays in the end to beat us in those first two sets.”
As a team, Stanford hit .278 and held UCLA to a .228 clip. It is the fourth time this season the Cardinal has lost a match while outhitting an opponent. Stanford drops to 0-5 in five-set matches.
The Cardinal came up short in the first two sets, siding out at a rate of 56 percent and 59 percent, respectively. Stanford upped those percentages in the third (71 percent) and fourth (73 percent) sets to handily defeat the Bruins and force a fifth set. UCLA jumped out to an early lead and would not relinquish it.
The Bruins were led by senior Gonzalo Quiroga’s 21 kills and 12 digs. Senior Robart Page added 18 kills, eight digs and four blocks.
Stanford hits the road this week to take on No. 5 Long Beach State on Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. The Cardinal will wrap-up the weekend at Cal State Northridge on Saturday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m.
“We are in the MPSF, and both Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge are very talented teams,” said Kosty. “They both play really well at home, so we have our work cut out for us. Our team is solid and we have some great leadership, and we will be ready to go.”