By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Extra work on serves helped Steven Irvin and the Stanford men's volleyball team end a modest two-game losing streak Tuesday night.
The fourth-ranked Cardinal downed visiting UCLA, 27-25, 19-25, 25-14, 25-12, in an important Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match.
Stanford (2-2 in the MPSF, 5-2 overall) hosts UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. Saturday as it looks to rebound from its lost weekend in Southern California.
"After the sweep this was a really sweet victory," Irvin said. "We need to keep this up."
The Cardinal avoided its first three-game losing streak since dropping the final six matches of the 2007 season.
Stanford last lost two straight during the national championship season of 2010, so perhaps this is an omen.
"Our passing has been phenomenal all year," said Irvin, who recorded 14 kills and hit at a .480 clip. "It's just been our serving."
Stanford used Monday to work out the kinks in its service game and it worked just the way coach John Kosty had hoped.
Irvin had four of Stanford's eight service aces, matching UCLA's output as a team. The Bruins also committed 20 service aces to Stanford's 10.
"That has been our major downfall," Irvin said. "We worked extensively on our serving."
Stanford won its 11th straight at home and has beaten UCLA at home the past six meetings.
The Cardinal moved into a four-way tie for fourth place in the Pac-12, a game behind co-second place Long Beach State and Pepperdine and two behind leader BYU.
Brian Cook added 14 kills and freshman setter James Shaw recorded 36 assists.
"Brian has been getting all the attention and that means I'm getting some 1-on-1 chances," Irvin said. "It's really all Brian. The middles are doing great."
Irvin's father, Chris Irvin, started on UCLA national title teams in 1974 and 1975, where he was teammates with future Stanford men's coach Fred Sturm and assistant coach John Bekins.
UCLA volunteer assistant coach Matt Fuerbringer is one of Stanford's all-time great players. He was a three-time first-team All-American during his career (1994-97) and led Stanford to the 1997 NCAA championship.
Fuerbringer is Stanford's all-time kills leader, with 2,221.