In a match-up between two of the nation’s top sophomore setters, Jonah Seif came up big late to help UC Santa Barbara pull off the upset.
Seif had back-to-back blocks on the final two plays of the decisive fifth game as No. 9 UC Santa Barbara defeated No. 1 Stanford 25-13, 25-21, 12-25, 25-23, 15-12 on Saturday in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Seif finished the match second on the team with four blocks and a match-high three aces. In addition, the sophomore guided the Gauchos offense to commit six errors in the final two games — five fewer than the Cardinal — to help UC Santa Barbara (3-0, 2-0 MPSF) rally from its one-game deficit.
This early season conference match featured both setters to make the 2013 MPSF All-Freshmen Team. Seif in the victory had a match-high 47 assists, while Stanford setter James Shaw ended with 45 assists.
Despite the loss, Stanford (3-2, 0-2 MPSF) out-hit UC Santa Barbara .277 to .246.
The Gauchos, though, had three players finish with double-digit kills — including outside attacker Austin Kingi who had a team-high 15 kills. Outside attacker Evan Licht also had 12 kills, while middle attacker Ryan Thompson ended with 11 kills and a match-high .667 attack percentage.
Along with his offensive performance, Thompson led the Gauchos with six blocks and had block assists with Seif on the final two plays of the match.
All-American outside attacker Brian Cook in the loss finished with a match-high 17 kills.
Stanford middle attacker Conrad Kaminski also had a match-high eight blocks as the Cardinal out-blocked the Gauchos 10 to 8.5.
This was the second consecutive loss for the Cardinal since jumping to No. 1 in the national coaches poll and media poll earlier this week. Stanford entered its match against UC Santa Barbara after losing to No. 6 UCLA in five games on Friday.
With this victory, UC Santa Barbara remains one of the nation’s two undefeated teams among the college men’s volleyball teams that have started their season.