The Anteaters for the second time in the last three days overcame a two-game deficit and have now secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
UC Irvine rallied to defeat Stanford 20-25, 25-27, 25-21, 25-21, 15-12 in the MPSF Tournament championship match on Saturday in Los Angeles to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the Final Four.
UC Irvine out-hit Stanford .405 to .314, including having more than .350 attack precentage in each of the final games. In addition, the Anteaters committed only one attack errors during the final two games.
Outside attacker Kevin Tillie in the victory had a match-high 24 kills.
Tillie was one of four Anteaters with double-digit kills against Stanford. Outside attacker Connor Hughes had 19 kills, while All-American outside attacker Carson Clark also had 19 kills — including the match-winning kill — on a team-high 47 attack attempts.
Stanford outside attacker Brad Lawson in the loss had a team-high 22 kills. In addition, outside attacker Steven Irvin added 18 kills.
UC Irvine reached the championship match after rallying from a two-game deficit to defeat the No. 1 seed USC in five games in the semifinals Thursday.
The MPSF is one of three conferences whose conference tournament champion receives an automatic berth to the four-team NCAA Tournament.
UC Irvine joins Penn State and Lewis as the three teams to win automatic bids Saturday.
Stanford with this loss still has a chance to reach the NCAA Tournament as the lone at-large bid. However, Stanford will be in contention with USC and BYU for the at-large bid.
The at-large bid, NCAA Tournament field and semifinal matches will be announced Sunday afternoon.
The national championship tournament will begin Thursday in Los Angeles.