Final week, No. 8 Stanford (15-13, 6-6, MPSF) males’s volleyball confronted off No. 12 USC (10-16, 3-9, MPSF) within the MPSF quarterfinals and No. 6 BYU (19-7, 9-5, MPSF) within the semifinals, bringing house the win each instances. The Trojans proved to be a tough opponent, however Stanford gained 3-1, coming again with drive after dropping the primary set. The three-2 win in opposition to BYU on Thursday proved significantly notable after going through two robust losses to the Cougars the earlier week. These wins superior Stanford to the MPSF finals for the second 12 months in a row, a historic second in Stanford males’s volleyball historical past.
Head Coach John Kosty expressed his pleasure over the workforce attending to play at house for the MPSF event. “We had a great crowd, thrilling volleyball,” Kosty stated.
Senior center Nathaniel Gates expressed his gratitude for having the MPSF event at house.
“It’s superb simply having the followers there,” Gates stated. “Sort of simply having the home-court benefit. On the finish of the day, it didn’t fully work out for us, however the previous two video games earlier than this have been actually enjoyable to have simply at house, have a pupil physique.”
On Saturday, the Cardinal competed in opposition to No. 2 UCLA (29-2, 12-0, MPSF) within the MPSF championship. This was their third time competing in opposition to the Bruins this season, an opportunity for redemption after dropping the earlier two matches in opposition to Cal. Regardless of their valiant efforts, the Cardinal misplaced the MPSF remaining in three units. The workforce utilized spectacular again row assaults and highly effective ideas, with senior outdoors Will Rottman main the workforce with 13 of Stanford’s 29 kills.
For many of set one, Stanford and UCLA stayed neck-and-neck. A memorable second consisted of senior outdoors Kevin Lamp establishing freshman reverse Theo Snoey for a kill, permitting the Cardinal to clinch a 4-3 lead. Though UCLA was capable of catch up, taking a 9-6 lead over Stanford, a missed serve from the Bruins helped the Cardinal bounce again. A robust serve by redshirt junior center Ethan Hill, adopted by an enormous overpass kill by Lamp, acted as a turning level for the Cardinal.
Quickly after, Snoey achieved a dynamic kill and Gates tricked the Bruins with a deceiving tip. When Snoey went again to serve at 12-13 Stanford, he tied the rating with an influential ace. Gates and Snoey have been dynamic on the web, shutting down UCLA with a block, bringing the rating to 20-18 in favor of the Bruins. Close to the top of the set, redshirt senior libero Justin Lui — in his remaining sport — had a notable help to Rottman. Regardless of vibrant moments from members of the workforce, Stanford misplaced the primary set 25-22.
The nerves have been excessive on the court docket through the begin of set two, with many free balls over the web by the Cardinal. A again row assault initiated by senior setter Nathan Lietzke to Rottman introduced the rating to 6-4 in favor of UCLA. Rottman continued to be an unstoppable drive with an eye fixed for open spots on the court docket, tipping the ball and getting two different kills quickly after. In a coordinated second, Lietzke faked setting Hill within the entrance row, however the ball truly went to Rottman, who attacked from the again row. In consequence, Stanford gained momentum, bringing the rating to 13-10, with the Cardinal shut behind the Bruins.
Rottman and Lamp had two extra profitable again row assaults quickly after. Notably, the Cardinal aced the Bruins with one from Lamp, junior outdoors Aidan Peters (briefly subbing in for Gates) and Rottman. Rottman’s ace tied the rating 19-all. Freshman setter Theoren Brouillette additionally got here in to serve for the Cardinal and performed sturdy protection with a powerful dig. Nonetheless, the Cardinal weren’t capable of safe the set win, dropping 25-21.
The third set was the closest one but, an effortful battle characterised by exceptional performs beginning with an early Stanford lead. The set started with a barely new lineup as junior outdoors Luke Turner got here off the bench instead of Lamp. An early 3-1 lead was established because of a implausible tip by Rottman and a missed serve by UCLA. After intense battling, Turner hit a powerful kill, preserving Stanford’s lead for a rating of 8-6.
Quickly after, the Cardinal exhibited an particularly spectacular second of play, the place it appeared as if Gates was motioning to hit, however the transfer performed out to be a sensational back-row assault from Turner. Following an exceptional ace and again row assault from Rottman, there was an excellent tip by Turner and a tremendous suspense-filled rally in the end gained by UCLA. A subsequent ace by Turner, altering the rating to 17-14, resulted in a palpable shift in crowd vitality as everybody watching grew progressively louder and extra excited. Lui coated the court docket with some extraordinary digs, leading to a good rating of 20 apiece. The Cardinal and the Bruins battled backwards and forwards, however the Bruins ultimately acquired the set win 25-23, signaling the top of the match.
Though Stanford misplaced the match, the workforce performed with vitality and grit.
“Nice friendships off the court docket that construct these relationships, [and] you possibly can see [them] construct energy in our workforce tradition,” Kosty stated in reference to the workforce’s cohesiveness and success this season. “Quantity two is simply resiliency. I imply, three years in the past from the place they got here from to the place they’re now’s simply an unimaginable progress.”
Gates and Rottman additionally acknowledged how perseverant the workforce is.
“We had numerous ups and downs this 12 months,” Rottman stated. “I do know I did personally too. I believe we confirmed our glimpses of our greatest on the finish, simply not our greatest throughout. And I believe that’s why we’re right here in second place.”
“Favourite moments typically are on our highs, typically on our lows the place we study essentially the most,” Kosty stated when reflecting on the season as a complete. “It’s straightforward to say getting a win in 5 in opposition to BYU who beat us twice in MPSF convention after which getting them within the semifinals to get to this remaining. And having Theoren are available and set for us and Luke are available off the bench extremely supportive, I believe that was a excessive for the workforce. After which I’m going all the way in which again to enjoying UBC, Santa Barbara, all of these have been [moments] for us in January, which appears such a very long time in the past. Simply the inspiration to get us the place we’re at present.”
For the second time in a row, Lui and Rottman have been even named to the MPSF All-Match Team. This marks the top of an unimaginable season for the Cardinal.