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Five Set Heartbreaker

Apr 23, 2022

LOS ANGELES – The Cardinal left it all out on the court on Saturday, falling in the MPSF final to No. 8 Pepperdine, 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22, 12-15, at Pauley Pavilion.

Stanford (14-14), which was the lowest seed to reach the MPSF championship since 2011, fell behind 0-2 to start the match. Down but not out, the Cardinal rallied as it so often has this season and forced a fifth set – this time coming up short.

Junior Will Rottman turned in another 20-plus kill performance, finishing with 22 kills, seven digs, a block and an ace. The outside hitter tallied 20 or more kills in eight matches this season, including his final four outings.

Stanford out hit Pepperdine (19-9), .291 to .285 and out blocked the Waves 12.0 to 7.0. Pepperdine held a 45-28 advantage in digs and a 4-1 edge in aces.

Junior Nathan Lietzke racked up 46 assists to go with nine digs and two kills. The setter also matched a season-best with five blocks, including to solo. Libero Justin Lui had three digs and four assists for the Cardinal.

After committing nine hitting errors in the first two sets, Stanford limited itself to just two miscues in the third and fourth-set victories. The Cardinal then committed five attack errors in the final frame.

For the fourth time this season, outside hitter Kevin Lamp matched his career-high with 14 kills and also tied his career-best with five blocks. Middle blocker Ethan Hill hit .438 with eight kills and three blocks.

Trailing 12-7 in the fifth, Stanford went on a 4-0 run to cut it to a one-point advantage for the Waves. The run included a pair of kills by Rottman and a solo block from Hill. Pepperdine then closed out the match on a 3-1 run of its own.

Middle blocker Nathaniel Gates registered a .714 attack percentage with five kills on seven errorless swings. The junior also notched five blocks. Opposite Luke Turner added three kills, five digs and a block.

Pepperdine had four players register double-digit kills, led by Spencer Wickens's 16. Outside hitter Alex Gettinger totaled 15 kills and eight digs, while Jaylen Jasper, a graduate transfer from Stanford, had 13 kills, 10 digs and five blocks.

Following the match, Lui and Rottman were named to the seven-player all-tournament team, joining Pepperdine's Bryce Dvorak (MVP), Alex Gettinger and Jacob Steele, UCLA's Kevin Kobrine and USC's Sam Kobrine.