Men’s volleyball suffers season-ending defeat to No. 2 UCLA

April 16, 2018, 1:47 a.m.

It was a disappointing end to a tumultuous season as Stanford men’s volleyball (6-20, 3-9 MPSF) was obliterated by No. 2 UCLA (23-6, 9-3) in the first round of the MPSF tournament. The Cardinal were swept under the rug by a score of 3-0 as they hit a season low .057 on the match.

The men’s volleyball team has been unable to stay healthy for the duration of this season, constantly searching for a roster that can stay together on the court. The only two players to start in every game for the Cardinal, senior Libero Evan Enriques and freshman middle blocker Kyler Presho, finished the season in the starting lineup, surrounded by new faces once again.

The Cardinal inefficiency on offense can be attributed mainly to the service and block of the Bruins. The Bruin squad registered 14.0 total blocks to the Cardinal’s 3.0, and registered five total service aces on the night.

UCLA was equally productive on offense, hitting .389 on the match and recording 29 kills with only eight errors. Stanford was plagued by unforced mistakes the entire night, recording 27 kills of their own, but accumulating 23 errors over only three sets. Junior wing Jordan Ewert had a team-high nine kills, but had a negative kill percentage on the night, hitting -.043.

The few bright spots for the Cardinal included fifth-year senior Kevin Rakestraw, who, playing in his final game for the Cardinal, recorded five kills with zero errors, perfect on the night. He also had an emphatic solo block, a reminder of his enthusiastic play during his time at Stanford.

The future of the team appears to be at least somewhat optimistic, as freshman middle blocker Cole Paullin impressed with three kills and a solo block in the third set. The team’s future ace and star player, freshman Jaylen Jasper, had six kills and two digs in the game. Building around the team’s strong freshmen middle blockers (Presho and Paullin) and featuring Jasper on the outside could lead to success in the future.

But for the moment, the team needs to focus on finding a solid starting roster during the offseason. A lack of consistency prevented the offense from finding a rhythm and was a massive inhibitor to the team’s success. With strong pieces in place to build around, the team is in dire need of a setter who can run the offense for a five game set, as well as a libero to replace Enriques. The team will look to address these issues before the start of next year’s competition.

Contact Bobby Pragada “at” [email protected].

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