MVB Downed in Five in MPSF Semis
The No. 1 ranked and top-seeded UCLA men's volleyball team (21-4) dropped a five-set decision to fifth-seed Stanford (14-13) in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Tournament held in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom on Thursday. Scores of the match were 21-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-15, 11-15.
Stanford advances to the MPSF Championship match that will be played on Saturday night at 6 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom with the winner securing the league's automatic entry into the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins only path to an NCAA Tournament bid is now to secure one of the two at-large entrees into the seven-team championship. The NCAA Tournament pairings will be announced on Sunday morning.
Stanford jumped out to a 2-6 lead to begin the match. Four straight points by the Bruins on a kill by Ethan Champlin, blocks by Miles Partain and Merrick McHenry and an ace from Guy Genis, evened the score at 7-all. The Cardinal quickly moved back in front 9-12. After UCLA closed to 12-13, Stanford advanced to its largest lead of the frame at 13-19. The Bruins narrowed the deficit to 16-19 after kills from Ido David and Miles Partain. Stanford built the margin up to 19-24. UCLA saved two set points but a service error pushed the Cardinal across the finish line for a 21-25 win. The Bruins hit .125 for the set.
The Cardinal produced a 4-7 advantage in the early going of set two. A Kevin Kobrine kill sliced the gap to 7-9 but Stanford responded to take a 11-14 edge. A Champlin kill made it 14-17. A Kobrine swing and a Knight/McHenry block pulled UCLA to within one at 18-19. Two more Kobrine spikes leveled the score at 20-all. A Cardinal attack error put the Bruins in front 21-20. A service error left UCLA in the lead at 23-22. A net call on the Bruins and an attack error gave Stanford set point at 23-24. The Cardinal ended a long rally with a kill for the 23-25 win.
Stanford once again grabbed the early lead at 4-6. UCLA rallied to even the score at 7-all after an ace from Kobrine. A Grant Sloane kill tied the score at 10-all. Guy Genis' swing out of the middle lifted UCLA into a 14-12 lead. A kill by Partain put UCLA up 16-13. A McHenry kill grew the lead to 20-17. Kobrine's smash made it 22-20 and was followed by a Sloane/Kobrine/Genis block for a 23-20 edge. Genis put one away for a 24-21 lead and a block by Genis/Sloane earned UCLA a win in set three at 25-21. The Bruins hit .385.
UCLA started quickly and enjoyed a 7-2 lead after a kill by Sloane. A kill by Genis began a string of three straight kills for the Bruins to extend the gap to 12-5. The gap was 20-11 following a Sloane/Genis block. A series of service errors left UCLA up 22-15. A Stanford attack error ended the set for a Bruin win at 25-15. UCLA hit .550 for the frame to .087 for the Cardinal.
The Bruins grabbed a 4-2 lead to begin the final set after a McHenry kill. Stanford came right back with the next five points to go up 4-7. A Cardinal service error halted the run. A David ace and kill pulled the Bruins to within one at 7-8. Stanford tallied the next three points for a 7-11 advantage. A couple of Stanford errors and a Champlin kill helped UCLA close to 10-11. The Cardinal then added the next three points on a kill, a block and an ace. An attack error made it 11-14 before Stanford finished it with a kill.
The NCAA Men's Volleyball selection show will be aired on ncaa.com beginning at 10 a.m. PT. The NCAA Tournament will begin with an Opening Match on May 1. The Second and Third Opening Matches will be held on May 3. The Semifinals will take place on May 5. The National Champion will be crowned on May 7.
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