Men’s Volleyball Preview
After defeating the UC San Diego Tritons by a score of 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-17, 25-14) last Saturday night in La Jolla, the men’s volleyball home return home to host Stanford Friday night at the Bren.
Last year, the Anteaters were winless against the Cardinal in three meetings throughout the season. UC Irvine’s hopes for a third consecutive NCAA Championship came to an end at Maples Pavilion in the quarter finals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, where the sixth-seeded Anteaters were edged out by the third seeded Cardinal by the narrowest of margins, falling 2-3, 30-28, 25-22, 25-15, 17-25, and 15-13. Stanford would go on to compete all the way in the finals of the NCAA championship, but ultimately fell to top-seeded Loyola-Chicago by a set score of 1-3.
UC Irvine trails Stanford by a score of 33-16 all-time. However, the current state of the Stanford volleyball team is a far cry from the championship caliber form it exhibited last season. The Cardinal currently hold an overall record of 3-8 and are 2-5 in the MPSF. Stanford is hitting for a dismal .216 on the season, a far cry from the .334 they boasted last year, enough to rank them second in the nation in terms of hitting percentage. Conversely, UC Irvine is currently ranked second in the country in hitting percentage with .344.
UC Irvine currently stands at 10-3 and 5-2 in the MPSF Conference after a busy January that saw the Anteaters play 12 matches in 25 days. Following a loss to No. 6 Hawai’i on the 30th, UC Irvine dropped from No. 4 to No. 5 in the AVCA national rankings. Following their match against Stanford Friday night, UC Irvine will host the third ranked Pepperdine Waves Saturday night. fv
Stanford is currently in the midst of a four game skid, with three of their last four losses coming against opponents ranked in the top 10 nationally. After playing against UC Irvine Friday night at the Bren, the Cardinal will travel to La Jolla to conclude their sixth-game road trip before returning home to host the Anteaters at the Maples Pavilion on the 20th.