SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – For the second straight night, the No. 1 Stanford men's volleyball team fell in five sets on the road, this time at No. 11 UC Santa Barbara, 13-25, 25-21, 25-12, 23-25, 12-15, Saturday, in Rob Gym. The Cardinal drops to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Gauchos improve to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference.
“UCSB came out well to start the match,” said head coach John Kosty. “I think we did a nice job of regrouping, and then it just became a battle between two good teams. The ball bounced their way more at the end of the match and we just were not able to get over the hump.”
The Gauchos opened the match with a 25-13 win in the first set, holding the Cardinal to a .200 hitting percentage. UCSB was able to sideout at 78 percent, while Stanford was limited to a sideout percent of 41.
The Cardinal responded by winning the next two sets, including an errorless third on the offensive side of the ball. Stanford hit a match-high .609, tallying 14 kills on 23 swings with no errors.
Senior outside hitter Brian Cook led Stanford with 17 kills, seven digs and three blocks and hit an even .300. Senior outside hitter Steven Irvin added 16 kills and nine digs, but had eight attack errors. Redshirt junior Scott Sakaida entered the match as the libero in the second set and finished with a season-high 12 digs.
“[Brian] Cook finished the match really strong for us tonight,” said Kosty. “I also thought Scott Sakaida came in at libero in the second set and did a really good job for the rest of the match.”
UCSB was led offensively by Austin Kingi’s 15 kills, while Ryan Thompson hit .667 (11-1-15) and notched six blocks for the Gauchos.
Stanford remains on the road next week, travelling to Provo, Utah for an MPSF match at No. 8 BYU on Friday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. PT. The Cardinal will then face Cal Baptist on Saturday, Jan. 25 in Riverside, Calif.