STANFORD, Calif. – The eighth-ranked Stanford men’s volleyball team had its four-match winning streak come to an end with a five-set loss to No. 4 BYU (22-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-20, 7-15), Friday, at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. The Cardinal drops to 8-5 overall and 5-5 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while the Cougars move to 10-3 on the year and a conference-best 10-1.
“I thought it was a great battle and both teams played well,” said head coach John Kosty. “Both teams did things strategically well and the right things to get it to a fifth game. We just needed to play a little bit better.
“I think they did a nice job of blocking us and serving us right off the bat in game five. That was basically the difference, that first little push they had.”
For the third time this season, the Cardinal outhit its opponent and lost. Stanford posted a .340 attack percentage, while BYU hit .331. The Cougars held a 10-6 advantage in the block column and capitalized on 21 Cardinal service errors.
“That [service errors] was a little uncharacteristic for our team,” added Kosty. “I also think we had a lot of good opportunities to score points off our serves. It is hard just to point the finger at 21 miscues, but I am sure there were a couple we would have loved to have back.”
Senior outside hitter Brian Cook led the team with 20 kills on a .349 hitting percentage, and was one dig shy of a double-double. Senior outside hitter Steven Irvin added 17 kills, a match-best 13 digs and three blocks, while senior opposite Eric Mochalski finished with 16 kills, five digs and two aces.
Sophomore setter James Shaw tallied 48 assists, six kills and six digs as the Cardinal registered a season-high 65 kills as a team. Sophomore middle Conrad Kaminski posted five kills on 10 errorless swings to go with three blocks and two assists.
Redshirt junior libero Scott Sakaida came off the bench in the second set to spark an 11-3 Cardinal run, which put Stanford right back in the match.
“We’ve got two very good liberos, each one brings something just slightly different,” said Kosty. “I thought Grant was playing well, but we needed something different at that point. Scott did a great job steadying us out and his ball control in transition really helped us in point-scoring opportunities.”
Reigning MPSF Player of the Year Taylor Sander led all players with 27 kills on a .417 attack percentage. Sophomore setter Tyler Heap racked up 53 assists and 10 digs for BYU. Sophomore middle blocker Michael Hatch finished with a match-high seven blocks.
Stanford remains at home next week, playing host to UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Feb. 21 and UCLA on Monday, Feb. 24. The Cardinal will take on the Bruins on the Pac-12 Networks at 5 p.m. PT.