No. 8 Stanford Takes Care of No. 7 UC-Irvine in Four
Irvine, Calif. - The MPSF conference season didn't start off the way the eighth ranked Cardinal (3-1,1-1) wanted to on Friday night in Westwood, but Stanford took out defending national champion UC Irvine for the second time in eight days 3-1 (30-28, 23-30, 30-28, 30-28) at the Bren Events Center. Senior Matt Ceran once again led the way with 18 kills and sophomore Kawika Shoji continued his hot start with 51 more assists.
In four highly contested matches, the Cardinal was able to comeback in game four to win the match, . In the other games the Cardinal was able to take early leads and put the Anteaters away late with strong play down the stretch.
In the first game, the Cardinal raced out to an early 6-2 lead before the Anteaters caught up at 22 apiece. Stanford regrouped though and Shoji made a key block and kill to eventually lead Stanford to the 30-28 victory. Shoji contributed two more service aces on the evening and also produced seven digs.
The second game didn't go Stanford's way and Irvine took a 15-10 lead and never looked back before winning the game 30-23. The Anteaters were led by junior Taylor Wilson who contributed 18 kills and Cody Yoder had 14 kills of his own. Anteater setter Anthony Spittle recorded 50 assists on the evening to lead the team.
In the third game, the Cardinal didn't take the lead until 13-12, but took control late before winning the game 30-28. Freshman Spencer McLachlin had a strong game and finished with eight kills for the match to go along with three digs. Stanford took a 2-1 lead into the pivotal fourth game.
The fourth game was another struggle early for the Cardinal and was down 24-21 before coming alive in the end of the game. Seniors Jesse Meredith and Ceran each had two kills late and led the Cardinal to a 30-28 win in the fourth game. This gave Stanford a match win, their third of the season, and evened up with MPSF record at 1-1.
The Cardinal return to the court on Tuesday, Jan. 15 against UC Santa Cruz. The match will begin at 7:00 p.m. at Burnham Pavilion on the campus of Stanford University.
Article courtesy of Stanford athletics.