STANFORD, Calif. - UC San Diego was unable to keep pace with seventh-ranked Stanford University’s service game in particular, dropping a 3-0 decision in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) men’s volleyball match inside Maples Pavilion on Friday night. Scores were 25-14, 25-16, 25-16.
It was a sixth straight win for the Cardinal (6-4, 3-4 MPSF) over the Tritons (0-10, 0-9 MPSF). Though Stanford actually had more service errors than UCSD, 13-10, the hosts produced 12 aces to none by the Tritons. The Cardinal out-hit UCSD, .375-.100, with an 8.5-2.0 advantage in total team blocks.
Stanford scored the first three points of the match and trotted out to a 7-1 lead in the first frame to force the night’s first timeout. With the help of three Triton service errors, the Cardinal were ahead by a count of 14-5. Senior outside hitter Nick Iorfino and redshirt freshman middle blocker Mathew Schnitzer combined on a resounding block of Stanford’s Eric Mochalski to make it 16-9. A run of three straight points pulled UCSD to 22-14, with one kill by senior opposite Mike Brunsting (Poway/Francis Parker School) and two by redshirt junior outside hitter Scot Metzger, but the home side tallied the next three points for the game one win.
UCSD took its only lead of the contest at 3-2 in game two as a Stanford attack went wide after Metzger powered a kill for a 2-2 tie, but three straight points gave the Cardinal back a 5-3 edge. Triton head coach Kevin Ring called for time down 10-5, and the set never became closer.
Daniel Tublin served successive aces to give Stanford the early 4-1 lead in the third set. Freshman outside hitter Ian Colbert punctuated a lengthy rally with a kill off the touch to make it 9-5. Moments later, the Cardinal registered the evening’s lone triple block, courtesy of Tublin, Brian Cook and Sean Kemper for 11-5. UCSD later scored two points in a row on another Colbert kill and a solo block by senior middle blocker Fred Stahl, a Bay Area native out of Sunnyvale, on Kemper to make it 21-15. Kemper’s kill on match point capped it.
Brunsting led the Tritons with seven kills and seven digs. Metzger added five kills while junior setter Garrett Dempsey had 17 assists and three digs. Iorfino contributed three kills and four digs.
Cook put down a match-high eight kills for Stanford on 14 swings without an error for an attack rate of .571. He and Tublin had three aces apiece. Setter James Shaw finished with 23 assists, three kills, two aces, seven digs and two blocks. Steven Irvin collected six kills, two aces and a match-best eight digs.
“Stanford is one of the more well-rounded teams in our conference, and they showed it in this match,” said UCSD head coach Kevin Ring. “We opened game one passing well and took some good swings, but Stanford was very good defensively, as well as in transition, and we found ourselves down early despite playing well.
“As the match progressed, Stanford got into a good groove from the service line and got us in a great deal of serve receive trouble. We continued to fight, but in the end, Stanford proved to be the stronger team.”
UCSD finally completes a run of nine of its first 11 matches on the road on Saturday night, heading over to Stockton to face the University of the Pacific in more MPSF action. First serve at the Alex G. Spanos Center is set for 7 p.m. The Tritons and Tigers (1-9, 0-7 MPSF) will each be in search of their first league triumph of the year after UOP was also swept on Friday night, at home by No. 9 UC Irvine.