Widgets Magazine

Women’s volleyball edges out Huskies, prepares for Wazzu

STANFORD, CA - August 28, 2016: Hayley Hodson at Maples Pavilion. The Stanford Cardinal defeated the University of Minnesota 3-1.

Women’s volleyball beat the Washington Huskies in a five-set match in the first of two road games this week. (AL CHANG/isiphotos.com)

No. 9 Cardinal women’s volleyball (9-2, 3-0 Pac-12) beat No. 7 Washington (11-2, 1-2 Pac-12), on Wednesday in a close and drawn-out match on Husky turf 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 17-25, 15-9.

The Huskies kept up an advantage throughout the first set, coming up with an early 10-6 score. The Cardinal attempted to break through the lead with a 3-0 run, but were unable to take control of the first set, which ended 21-25 in favor of the Huskies.

The second set started out in favor of the Cardinal with an ace by freshman Michaela Keefe, putting the squad up 2-1. The Cardinal were able to keep their slight advantage, leading 6-5, then 12-10 and then 16-15.

Seniors Inky Ajanaku and Ivana Vanjak finally increased the streak with two blocks that put the Cardinal up 22-18. Freshman Audriana Fitzmorris further contributed with multiple blocks, ending the second set 25-20 in favor of the Cardinal.

The trial continued as Stanford found itself down 8-4 at the beginning of the third set. Stanford caught up, bringing the score to 9-9, but the Huskies followed with a run that put them up 14-10.

Ajanku continued leading her team in kills, cutting the lead to 17-14 for the Huskies. After a Washington timeout, the Cardinal was able to regain speed, tying 19-19 and then getting ahead 22-20. Stanford kept up the lead, winning the set 25-21.

The fourth set didn’t go in the Cardinal’s favor, resulting in a 25-17 loss. The team hit at a low .067, allowing their opponents to maintain a solid lead.

Beginning the fifth and decisive set, the Cardinal started with an ace by freshman Jenna Gray and then continued to maintain a small but ultimately victorious lead, finishing the fifth set 15-9 on a kill by freshmen Kathryn Plummer, and finishing the match 3-2.

The Cardinal doesn’t have much of a break, as it stays in Washington to take on Washington State on Friday.

The team will be using the momentum from the Wednesday night win as a competitive edge, fueling their desire to continue rising up in the ranks of both the conference and the nation.

Washington State is currently first in the Pac-12, displaying a 12-2 overall record and a 2-0 record within the conference.

In the NCAA, though, Stanford has maintained better rankings, currently finding itself in ninth, whereas the Cougars are a bit further down in the list at No. 17.

Stanford also currently displays a particularly competent defense, being in first place for blocks-per-set. Fitzmorris has already established herself as one of the best blockers in the NCAA this season, making her an outstanding addition to the Cardinal squad.

Ajanaku has also had a great season so far, leading the team in overall kills and providing the extra advantage that has brought victories to the Cardinal thus far.

Not one player on the Cougars has been as impressive as Fitzmorris, and the Cardinal overall have performed better in their defensive strategy and organization.

The Cougars will have had more recovery time than the Cardinal, having won their last game on Friday against UCLA.

The Cougars host a relatively young team, with only two juniors and four seniors. Most of the team is comprised of sophomores with a couple freshmen.

Stanford too has a very young team, with six freshmen added this year, in addition to six sophomores. The Cardinal only have four upperclassmen, meaning that players who have only had a single year together have to step up to the plate and work their hardest.

So far this season, the lower-classmen of both teams have maintained a very high standard for their teams, and this match will surely be a challenge all around.

One thing that both teams will have to work on are their kills-per-set. The Cardinal and the Cougars have so far displayed a high defensive capacity, but in order for the Cardinal to determine the outcome of the game, they will have to establish an assertive, precise attack that offsets the Cougar defensive line.

The Cardinal will hope to maintain their 57-3 overall record against the Cougars and keep moving up in the Pac-12 and the NCAA.

The game will be played on Friday at 7 p.m. in Pullman, Washington. It will be streamed on Pac-12 networks.

 

Contact Laura Sussman at laura111 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

  • Puma_01

    I hope everyone appreciates how amazing this team is:

    – Senior Inky Ajanaku (recovered from injury and back to her National Player of the Year form) has just tied the immortal Kerri Walsh for most blocks by a Stanford player, while also maintaining a .427 hitting percentage.

    – Freshman Morgan Hentz is considered by some to have a chance to be the best Stanford libero EVER to play for us. Morgan had 25 digs last night, several in the “I can’t believe what I just saw” category.

    – Freshman Michaela Keefe, having stepped in for the injured Hayley Hodson (last year’s national freshman of the year), has made the best of her opportunity and regularly demonstrates why she should be considered one of the top athletes on the Farm in any sport (Katie L. excepted).

    – 6-8 all-American junior Merete Lutz, who would look down on Kobe Bryant should they ever meet, is a steady force and regularly makes plays that no other player in the country can make.

    – Freshman Audriana Fitzmorris earned national player of the week honors in her SECOND week of playing college volleyball and currently ranks fifth in the nation in blocks per set. She might very well surpass Kerri Walsh in blocks some day as well.

    – Freshman Kathryn Plummer is averaging 15.33 kills per match in Pac-12 play and has top opponents completely terrified of her dual power and finesse. Kathryn came to the Farm as one of the world’s top junior beach volleyball players and plays like she actually IS Kerri Walsh (just 4 inches TALLER).

    See what I mean? The list goes on. This is a fun and extremely talented group of athletes to watch. They joy they are having playing (and winning) together is infectious. Go Cardinal!