Santa Barbara alum Will Rottman has helped lead Stanford into the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men’s volleyball tournament championship Saturday at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion.

Rottman pounded 22 kills and had 10 digs to lead the Cardinal to a five-set upset of top-seeded UCLA in Thursday’s semifinals. The scores were 25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 15-25, 15-11.

Stanford (14-13) plays Pepperdine (18-9) for the title and the automatic NCAA Tournament berth on Saturday at Pauley at 6 p.m.

Stanford is the lowest seed to reach the MPSF title match since 2011 and the first No. 5 seed since 2009. The Cardinal last played in the final in 2014.

Rottman’s double-double was his third of the season. In two tournament wins, he’s averaging 5.22 kills on a .320 hitting percentage, 1.67 digs and 5.50 points per set.

Middle blocker Ethan Hill, a transfer from UCLA, had 13 kills on 20 errorless swings (.650 hitting average) and a team-high five blocks in the win against his former team.

UCLA (21-4), which out hit the Cardinal .306 to .250, is the first No. 1 seed to lose in the MPSF Tournament since 2012. It was the first road win for the Cardinal since Jan. 11, 2020 and the first win at UCLA since April 9, 2011 and the first five-set win on the Bruins’ floor since 2001.

Stanford almost lost its men’s program last year as the school announced in July of 2020 that it was dropping several varsity sports due to budget shortages. The school later reversed the decision.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

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