Third-ranked UCLA went the distance to defeat No. 8 Stanford in an MPSF match played in the Bay Area on Monday evening. Scores of the match were 25-23, 28-26, 20-25, 19-25, 17-15. It was just the third time this season in which UCLA has gone to a fifth set, the second time against Stanford in MPSF play, and the third win of the year. The Bruins improved their record to 13-3 overall and 10-2 in league play with the win.
Stanford grabbed hold of the early lead in set one, running out to a 4-9 lead over the Bruins. UCLA closed to 9-10 after a block by Robart Page and tied it up at 12-all on a kill by Page. The visitors led 14-12 after a tip shot by Trent Kersten and 16-13 after a kill from Gonzalo Quiroga. The Cardinal fought back and UCLA required an ace from Quiroga to go up 19-17. Coach John Speraw called timeout when Stanford evened the match at 19-all. Quiroga’s fifth kill of the set handed the Bruins to opening frame 25-23.
In set two, the Cardinal once again moved out to an early lead at 1-5 forcing a timeout from the Bruin bench. Stanford still led 7-13 after a couple of aces by Quiroga, but the Cardinal called timeout when UCLA sliced the margin to 8-13. After a Spencer Rowe kill, UCLA trailed 17-19. The Bruins pulled within one, 23-24, on a Cardinal service error. Quiroga’s kill sent UCLA ahead 25-24. The Cardinal tied it up at 26-all only the see the Bruins record the next two points and take the set 28-26.
The early lead once again went to the home team, 6-10, in set three. UCLA reduced the deficit to 11-13 on a Jackson Bantle play at the net. The Bruins pulled within two again, at 18-20, on an ace by Quiroga. The Cardinal had too much momentum at the end and win set three 20-25.
Stanford blasted in front 5-8 in set four. UCLA closes to 9-11 on an ace by Rowe. The Cardinal pulled away at 10-15 and went on to take a 19-25 edge in set four.
UCLA began the deciding fifth set on an up note and established a 4-1 lead following a service ace by Page. A Rowe block and a kill made it 8-5 Bruins. UCLA owns a 12-8 edge after kills by Page and Quiroga, forcing a Cardinal timeout. UCLA went up 14-12 after a Cardinal service error, but Stanford came back to even things up at 14-all and then 15. The Bruins took a 16-15 advantage on a service error by the home team and then brought home the victory at 17-15 following a spike from Quiroga.
Quiroga totaled a season-best 21 kills and 25.5 points to go along with 12 digs and four aces. Page added 18 kills. Hagen Smith registered 51 set assists, five digs and four blocks on the night. Grant Chalmers dug nine balls.
UCLA will regroup back in Los Angeles before heading to play a couple of MPSF matches at Hawai'i this weekend on Friday and Saturday nights. Both matches will start at 9 p.m. Pacific time.