Bruins Win Battle
STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford came from behind to win the opening set against No. 6 UCLA, 37-35, before dropping the next three sets (25-21, 25-17, 25-17), Tuesday, at Maples Pavilion.
Stanford (1-9) battled hard against a veteran UCLA (10-4) team that posed a threat from the service line and kept the Cardinal offense out of system. The Bruins registered 12 aces in the match and hit .437 as a team, while holding the Cardinal to a .281 clip.
Sophomore setter Nathan Lietzke controlled the offense, which posted its second-highest hitting percentage of the season, with 40 assists to go with eight digs, two kills, an ace and a block. Redshirt sophomore Justin Lui anchored the defense with seven digs and finished with five assists.
Sophomore Will Rottman led the team with 16 kills and seven digs. Freshman Aidan Peters added 12 kills and a team-high nine digs. The outside hitter found ways to score, often using the UCLA block to get the job done.
Despite not taking a ton of swings, Stanford's middles were efficient offensively. Senior Kyler Presho hit .539 with eight kills on 13 swings and just one error. Sophomore Nathaniel Gates hit .400 with four kills on 10 errorless swings to go with three digs, two blocks and an ace.
Freshman Kupono Browne had six kills and five digs in three sets played. Senior Mason Tufuga replaced him at opposite and provided a spark for the Cardinal to start the fourth set. He finished with four kills on .375 hitting and two digs.
UCLA had four players register double-digit kills, led by Cole Ketrzynski's 19 on .500 hitting and six aces. Ethan Champlin pitched in with 18 kills on .441 hitting, while Austin Matautia had 14 kills and Merrick McHenry tallied 10.
Stanford and UCLA meet again on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.