Outside attacker Will Rottman continued to be a nightmare for UCLA – and this time it was in the postseason.
Rottman had six kills in the decisive fifth game and finished with a match-high 22 kills as the No. 5 seed Stanford upset the No. 1 seed UCLA 25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 15-25, 15-11 in the MPSF Tournament semifinals on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
This was the second time this season Rottman led Stanford in kills during an upset against UCLA. The All-MPSF outside attacker had 18 kills and hit more than .400 to help the Cardinals beat the Bruins in March.
Rottman this time had two kills as part of a 3-0 run in the fifth game to give the Cardinal an 11-7 lead. In addition, Rottman had the match-winning kill to secure Stanford’s first MPSF Tournament finals appearance since 2014.
Along with Rottman, middle attacker Ethan Hill had 13 kills and zero errors on a .650 attack percentage. The transfer from UCLA also led all players with five blocks.
Opposite Kevin Lamp contributed 12 kills and had an ace in the fifth game that set up a match-point opportunity and that was a part of a 4-1 run to close out the match.
Despite the loss, UCLA out-hit Stanford .308 to .250 and out-blocked Stanford 11 to 7. The Bruins, though, were limited to a .150 attack percentage in the final game.
Opposite Kevin Kobrine led UCLA with 13 kills on a .500 attack percentage, while middle attacker Merrick McHenry added nine kills and zero errors on a .529 attack percentage.
UCLA is the first No. 1 seed to not reach the MPSF Tournament finals since 2012. The Bruins even with this loss still have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology.
This was the first road win for Cardinal this season, which ended the regular season 0-10 in road matches.
Stanford will play the winner of the other semifinal match between Pepperdine and USC in the MPSF Tournament finals on Saturday. The winner of the MPSF Tournament finals will earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Rottman enters the finals having at least 20 kills in three consecutive matches and five times in the last seven matches. The outside attacker opened Stanford’s postseason with 25 kills on a .396 attack percentage in a four-game victory against Grand Canyon in the conference quarterfinals.