Final week, No. 8 Stanford (15-13, 6-6, MPSF) males’s volleyball confronted off towards 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 dwelling the win each instances. The Trojans proved to be a troublesome opponent, however Stanford received 3-1, coming again with power after dropping the primary set. The three-2 win towards BYU on Thursday proved significantly notable after going through two powerful 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 staff attending to play at dwelling for the MPSF match. “We had crowd, thrilling volleyball,” Kosty mentioned.
Senior center Nathaniel Gates expressed his gratitude for having the MPSF match at dwelling.
“It’s wonderful simply having the followers there,” Gates mentioned. “Sort of simply having the home-court benefit. On the finish of the day, it didn’t utterly work out for us, however the previous two video games earlier than this have been actually enjoyable to have simply at dwelling, have a pupil physique.”
On Saturday, the Cardinal competed towards No. 2 UCLA (29-2, 12-0, MPSF) within the MPSF championship. This was their third time competing towards the Bruins this season, an opportunity for redemption after dropping the earlier two matches towards Cal. Regardless of their valiant efforts, the Cardinal misplaced the MPSF last in three units. The staff utilized spectacular again row assaults and highly effective suggestions, with senior outdoors Will Rottman main the staff 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 in a position to catch up, taking a 9-6 lead over Stanford, a missed serve from the Bruins helped the Cardinal bounce again. A strong 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 tip of the set, redshirt senior libero Justin Lui — in his last recreation — had a notable help to Rottman. Regardless of brilliant moments from members of the staff, Stanford misplaced the primary set 25-22.
The nerves have been excessive on the courtroom in the course of the begin of set two, with many free balls over the online 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 power with a watch for open spots on the courtroom, 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 really went to Rottman, who attacked from the again row. Consequently, 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 robust protection with a powerful dig. Nevertheless, the Cardinal weren’t in a position to 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 rather than Lamp. An early 3-1 lead was established attributable to a unbelievable tip by Rottman and a missed serve by UCLA. After intense battling, Turner hit an impressive 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 outstanding ace and again row assault from Rottman, there was a fantastic tip by Turner and an incredible suspense-filled rally finally received 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 lined the courtroom with some extraordinary digs, leading to a good rating of 20 apiece. The Cardinal and the Bruins battled forwards and backwards, however the Bruins finally acquired the set win 25-23, signaling the tip of the match.
Though Stanford misplaced the match, the staff performed with vitality and grit.
“Nice friendships off the courtroom that construct these relationships, [and] you possibly can see [them] construct energy in our staff tradition,” Kosty mentioned in reference to the staff’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 staff is.
“We had quite a lot of ups and downs this 12 months,” Rottman mentioned. “I do know I did personally too. I believe we confirmed our glimpses of our greatest on the finish, simply not our greatest during. 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 be taught essentially the most,” Kosty mentioned when reflecting on the season as a complete. “It’s straightforward to say getting a win in 5 towards BYU who beat us twice in MPSF convention after which getting them within the semifinals to get to this last. And having Theoren are available in and set for us and Luke are available in off the bench extremely supportive, I believe that was a excessive for the staff. 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 muse to get us the place we’re in the present day.”
For the second time in a row, Lui and Rottman have been even named to the MPSF All-Match Team. This marks the tip of an unimaginable season for the Cardinal.