Following two consecutive losses at Maples, Stanford men’s volleyball (0-3, 0-3 MPSF) ended its three-match run against No. 3 Pepperdine (7-2, 7-2 MPSF) in a straight-sets loss, but this time in Malibu. This marks the second time in four years where the Cardinal started the season on a three-game losing streak.
At the beginning of the first set, both teams struggled to hit the ball over the net with each team trading two consecutive service errors. Head coach John Kosty called the Cardinal’s first timeout of the match at 8-13 after a serving error from senior middle blocker Kyler Presho, followed by two attacking errors by true freshman outside hitter Kupono Browne and redshirt freshman middle blocker Ethan Hill.
The timeout did not slow down the Waves’ momentum, however. Pepperdine’s true freshman setter Bryce Dvorak maneuvered the ball nicely to his fellow teammates, extending the Waves’s lead to seven before Kosty called a second timeout at 13-20.
Similar to those before the first timeout, a streak of three errors for the Cardinal — one from sophomore outside hitter Will Rottman and two from true freshman outside hitter Luke Turner — put the nail on the coffin for the Cardinal as the team finished in the negative with -0.125 hitting: six kills and nine errors.
The Waves capitalized on Dvorak’s setting prowess, hitting 0.333 with 11 kills and only four errors. Dvorak’s 10 assists equaled the lead the Waves finished with at the end of the first set.
The second set saw the Cardinal hit .286 and begin to find its rhythm. The improvement on offense allowed the team to stay within striking distance of the Waves for much of the set, but errors prevented them from taking the lead. Stanford logged eight service errors in the second set and 17 in the match overall. Two timeouts from Kosty did little to eat into Pepperdine’s lead and the Cardinal finished the second set with a 25-21 loss.
Presho earned two kills and a block early in the third set and helped the team jump out to an early 8-5 lead. Browne carried the momentum and, with back-to-back kills, forced a timeout from the Pepperdine bench with Stanford ahead 10-6. Pepperdine then forced the Cardinal out of the system for the next two points, prompting Kosty to call a timeout of his own which failed to stop an 8-1 run from the Waves. Just as fast as the Cardinal earned the lead in the third set, they soon saw themselves with a 14-11 deficit. For the rest of the match, any opportunity the Cardinal saw was swatted down by the Pepperdine offense where no Stanford player could come up with the dig, and they lost the third set 25-21.
Browne, who carried the offense the last time the two teams faced off, struggled on Wednesday. The freshman only hit .087 while Rottman led the offense with a more respectable .333.
The team will stay in southern California for the weekend as they face UCLA (6-3, 6-3 MPSF) on Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. PT and 7:30 p.m. PT, respectively.