MVB Blocks Way Past Cardinal
The No. 1 UCLA men's volleyball team (13-3, 5-1) dealt Stanford (9-8, 1-3) its first home loss of the season in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) match played on Saturday night in Maples Pavilion. Scores of the contest were 20-25, 25-13, 25-23, 27-25. UCLA owned the nets with an 14.0-3.0 advantage in team blocks as Stanford lost its first home match in nine dates. Guy Genis, with 9 block assists, and Kevin Kobrine, with 7, each contributed career-high totals.Merrick McHenry led the Bruin attack with a season-best 17 kills out of the middle.
UCLA moved to a 6-4 lead to begin set one after a kill by Ethan Champlin. The Bruins upped the lead to 8-5, but Stanford came right back with three straight to even the score. With the score tied at 11-all, the Cardinal tallied the next two points to grab a 11-13 advantage. UCLA leveled the score at 16-all on another Champlin swing, but Stanford responded with five straight points for a 16-21 edge. The Bruins closed to 18-21 after kills by Champlin and McHenry. Another McHenry spike made it 19-23, but the Cardinal used a Bruin service error and a kill to earn a 20-25 win.
The Bruin block came alive to start set two as Genis picked up three block assists and Miles Partain had two on the way to building a 8-3 advantage. A triple block by Kobrine, Alex Knight and McHenry put UCLA up 12-6. Stanford closed to 14-10, but the Bruins answered with kills by Kobrine and Champlin for a 16-10 margin. Back-to-back kills by Knight increased the margin to 19-11. Blocks from Knight and Genis and McHenry left UCLA in front 22-12. An ace by Kobrine and a kill by Knight handed the Bruins a 25-13 win.
Stanford came out strong in set three and went up 5-9. UCLA closed to 7-9 after a Kobrine ace, but the Cardinal surged back in front 9-13. The Bruins used a couple of blocks by Genis and Kobrine and an ace from Champlin to pull even at 14-all. The score was then tied at points 15 through 23. McHenry's kill evened the score at 23 and was followed by kills from Miles Partain and Grant Sloane to produce a 25-23 win for the Bruins.
UCLA opened up an 11-8 advantage in set four following a Knight swing. The Bruins upped the margin to 13-9 on a McHenry spike. UCLA led 17-14 on a block by Kobrine-Genis-Champlin. A Kobrine ace pushed the gap to 20-16. However, Stanford answered with three straight to close to 20-19. After a series of errors by both teams, the Cardinal managed to even the score at 22-all. J.R. Norris IV produced kills to level the score at 23 and again at 24-all. A Knight swing put UCLA up 26-25. Norris' tough serve helped set up a kill by McHenry for match point and a 27-25 win.
The Bruins will now break for exams before hitting the road for a couple of matches in Atlanta against first-year programs from Morehouse College (Mar. 25) and Fort Valley State (Mar. 26). The Bruins resume MPSF play on March 31 at USC.