LA JOLLA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego extended the third set but was unable to force a fourth and fell to No. 9 Stanford University, 3-0, in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) men's volleyball action on Senior Night Saturday at RIMAC Arena. Scores were 25-15, 25-22 and 28-26.
UCSD dropped to 7-19 overall and finished with a 3-15 mark in the MPSF. Stanford improved to 13-12 overall and 8-10 in league play. The Cardinal had clinched an MPSF Tournament berth with a five-set victory over the Tritons in this season's first meeting in the Bay Area exactly one week ago. As the No. 7 seed, they will play an MPSF quarterfinal at second-seeded BYU next Saturday, April 15.
Fourth-year Tritons Shayne Beamer and tri-captains Ian Colbert and Calvin Manchenko, and second-year transfer Josh Schmidt, were recognized prior to the first serve. The match also marked the final contest of UCSD's 25-year MPSF history. The Tritons join the newly-formed Big West Conference as an associate member next January.
Junior opposite and tri-captain Tanner Syftestad, UCSD's kill leader, was absent after exiting Friday night's 3-1 defeat to No. 8 Pepperdine late in game three due to an unspecified injury.
In his absence, Schmidt provided a team- and season-high eight kills off the bench. He himself had missed the date with Pepperdine, and in fact had not seen action since March 17 as the primary libero, entering tonight with a solitary kill for 2017. Schmidt hit .412 with just one error on 17 swings. Colbert and redshirt junior middle blocker Bryan Zhu (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) added six kills apiece.
Set three featured 11 tie scores and a pair of lead changes. The Tritons saved three match points, but could not prolong matters any further.
The opening stanza was virtually all Stanford after UCSD notched the initial tally on a Beamer kill, as the visitors surged ahead 7-2 and 13-4 around Triton timeouts.
The Cardinal then tallied the first three points of game two and were up 11-6 by the first break as the Tritons again called for time. UCSD actually managed to pull even once at 14-14, but Stanford got four of the next five.
UCSD trailed for much of the third set, by as many as six at 14-8. The Tritons began to chip away, and to their credit, levelled the score for the first time since 1-1, at 17-17, after a Schmidt kill and Clay Jones attack error. From there, the game was tied 18-18, 19-19, 20-20, 21-21, 22-22, 23-23, 24-24, 25-25 and 26-26. In between, UCSD took its first and only lead of the frame at 23-22 on a Schmidt kill, forcing Stanford's only timeout of the evening. The Cardinal responded with the next two points After the Tritons' final timeout, they turned away three match points before back-to-back Kevin Rakestraw kills ended it.
Rakestraw was a force, with 12 kills on 16 attempts without an error (.750), to go along with two aces and three blocks. Gabriel Vega led all players with his 16 kills.
Beamer wound up with five kills, two block assists and an ace in his final match inside RIMAC Arena. Colbert had four digs and a block assist on top of his kill total. In a fourth straight start at outside hitter, Manchenko had two kills, two digs and UCSD's lone solo block, that on Vega midway through the third. Schmidt also collected four digs and a career-best three total blocks to share the match high.
UC San Diego concludes the 2017 campaign in Riverside this Wednesday, April 12. The non-conference meeting with rival California Baptist is slated for a 7 p.m. start inside Van Dyne Gym.