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UCSB Outlasts Stanford in MPSF Tournament

PALO ALTO – No. 6 UC Santa Barbara advanced to the final four of the MPSF Tournament after outlasting No. 5 Stanford in five sets on Saturday night at Maples Pavillion in the first round of the conference tournament. The scores were 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 15-12.

It was the second time in as many matches that the Gauchos (20-9) upset the Cardinal (19-6), as UCSB came out on top in four games in the regular season finale last week at Rob Gym.

Next up, the Gauchos will travel to Provo to take on BYU on Thursday, April 21 in the MPSF Semifinal. First serve is scheduled for 8:35 PDT and the showdown will be televised on BYUTV. The winner of that match will advance to the MPSF Championship on Saturday, April 23.

"I'm very proud of the way our guys prepared for this match," said UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin. "I loved the way they stuck together when it counted most. We look forward to getting another shot at BYU."

UCSB won the first two games of Saturday's contest and looked ready to cruise to a sweep, but Stanford found its footing and claimed the next two sets to send it to a dramatic fifth. The Gauchos' defense came to the fore in that decisive frame, holding Stanford to a match-low .170 hitting percentage for the set.

The Gauchos closed the set on a 7-4 run, claiming the match when a swing from Stanford's Jordan Ewert went wide.

Like the regular season finale, UCSB received major contributions up and down the lineup.

Senior setter Jonah Seif continued his run of strong play, recording a season-high 57 assists while picking up 10 digs for his seventh double-double of the season. The three-time MPSF first-team honoree directed the Gauchos to a .358 hitting percentage.

Other Gauchos were excellent as well, including career performances from junior opposite Matt Marsh and senior middle blocker Ryan Hardy.

Marsh notched a career-high 20 kills in the contest, matching Stanford's Madison Hayden for the most in the match. Meanwhile, Hardy was a consistent presence on the quick set, knocking down a season-high 12 kills on .733 hitting.

Elsewhere, senior outside Austin Kingi notched 16 kills while junior libero Hayden Boehle was dependable as can be in the back row to the tune of 14 digs.

The Gauchos are now 5-3 all-time under McLaughlin in the MPSF Tournament. This is the third time UCSB and BYU will meet in the postseason in the McLaughlin era, with BYU winning in 2014 and the Gauchos emerging victorious en route the National Championship match in 2011.

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