STANFORD, Calif. – Behind a rally-scoring era program record 21.5 blocks, the No. 9 Stanford men’s volleyball team swept fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara, 25-17, 25-18, 25-17, Friday at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. The Cardinal moves to 9-5 overall and 6-5 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while the Gauchos drop to 8-4 on the season and 7-4 in conference.
Stanford had five players register at least five blocks, and three who notched at least seven against UCSB. Sophomore middle Conrad Kaminski tied his season-best with eight blocks, while senior middle Denny Falls registered a season-high seven. Sophomore setter James Shaw also collected seven blocks with a team-best three in the solo column.
“We were fortunate tonight when it came to blocking,” said senior Brian Cook. “We practice a lot of blocking and try to get in the right spot, and tonight they just hit right into us.”
The Cardinal’s defensive effort at the net forced the Gauchos into a .011 hitting night, the second-lowest by an opponent in the rally-scoring era. Stanford finished with a .373 team attack percentage and did not allow an ace to one of the tougher serving teams in the conference.
“We treated tonight like it was any other match,” said senior Brian Cook. “We knew this was a really good team, and like always, it is a serving and passing game. We knew if we could handle their serves, because they can get really hot, that we could come out and win.”
Offensively, senior opposite Eric Mochalski led the team with 13 kills on 18 swings with just one error to hit .667. Falls finished with seven kills on a .556 hitting percentage, while Cook recorded eight kills to go with six blocks. Shaw tallied 34 assists, while redshirt junior Grant Delgado totaled a match-high 11 digs.
Up next, Stanford plays host to third-ranked UCLA on Monday, Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. PT in Maples Pavilion. It marks the third meeting between the Cardinal and Bruins this season and will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.
“UCLA is another very good team. It is also going to be a serve and passing battle. When we played at UCLA we lost the serve and passing battle and lost the match in five, so we know what we are up against,” said Cook.