Despite selecting a number of different lineups, the Bruins could not claim the win.
No. 4 UCLA men’s volleyball (16-6, 6-2 MPSF) lost to No. 8 Stanford (14-8, 5-4) in five sets by scores of 25-23, 21-25, 19-25, 25-23 and 10-15, respectively.
The Bruins started off the first set with a 10-5 lead before the Cardinal came back to tie the set at 17-17 and eventually take a 22-20 lead.
Senior outside hitter Dylan Missry subbed in for the first time since being injured after the Lewis match Feb. 2. Missry received the serve on his first play back and passed into an eventual kill from redshirt junior opposite Brandon Rattray. UCLA proceeded to win the set by a score of 25-23. Missry subbed in and out several more times throughout the rest of the game.
Missry said it was refreshing to be playing again, but also that he was cautious after returning from injury.
“It feels good getting back on the court, getting to play with the boys,” Missry said. “We’re just being a little overly cautious going into a break. We didn’t want to risk an injury when we have next week to heal up.”
The Bruins dropped the second set 25-21 after picking up six attack errors, hitting for .222 and hitting into three Cardinal blocks.
Stanford followed up the second set by hitting for .464 in the third, accumulating 16 kills and three attack errors. UCLA almost had the same amount of kills as service errors with eight and five, respectively.
The Bruins evened up the score by winning the fourth set 25-23. Rattray led UCLA with five kills in the set. Rattray achieved his career high in kills with 24 and led the Bruins in hitting percentage by hitting for a .486 clip.
Rattray said the lineup changes did not affect his play style.
“I play with these guys every day in practice,” Rattray said. “I believe in every single one of them. I’m not going to let all the shifts affect the way I play.”
Stanford started the final set by taking a 4-1 lead and never gave the lead up as it won the set by a score of 15-10. The Cardinal hit for .706 with zero attack errors and 12 kills.
Coach John Speraw said he attributes the loss to instability in the rotation.
“This loss is about us trying to figure out lineups now that we lost (junior outside hitter) Austin Matautia,” Speraw said. “(Redshirt sophomore outside hitter) Sam Kobrine hasn’t played well, so you’re forced to do things we’ve never practiced, like moving (senior setter) Micah (Ma’a) to outside.”
UCLA used a total of 11 different players throughout the match. Speraw said UCLA must do the best with what it has.
“The biggest thing moving forward is trying to get us as healthy as we can get and figure out what our best lineup is with the available athletes we have remaining this year,” Speraw said.
The Bruins will continue conference play as they travel to Malibu to play Pepperdine on March 27.