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Women’s volleyball winning streak ruined by Cougars
Freshman Kathryn Plummer led the Cardinal team with 13 kills and seven kills in a loss against the Washington State Cougars. (AL CHANG/isiphotos.com)

Women’s volleyball winning streak ruined by Cougars

No. 9 Stanford women’s volleyball (9-3, 3-1 Pac-12) lost in a five-set match against No. 17 Washington State (13-2, 3-0) on Friday night in Pullman, Washington, 15-25, 25-17, 24-26, 28-26, 8-15.

The Cardinal were on a six-game winning streak, having reigned victorious in all of their Pac-12 matches so far, but the early Pac-12 favorites were unable to unseat the Cougars.

The game started off on the wrong foot for Stanford, as the Cougars posted a quick 5-1 lead, which they then increased to 11-4. Eventually, Stanford was able to close the gap to 17-12, but another strong run from Washington State gave the Cougars a 25-15 win.

The teams were neck and neck as the second set began, but the Cardinal were able to pull ahead, with a 7-2 run to take the set 25-17. Stanford severely limited the Cougars’ attack and capitalized on their errors, holding them to a -.077 hitting percentage. With the match even at one set apiece, it was up to the Cardinal to take advantage.

At first, it seemed they might succeed. The momentum from the second-set victory had Stanford going strong in the third. The Cardinal maintained a lead, but at the very end of the set, the Cougars were able to come from behind, transforming an 18-23 disadvantage into a 26-24 win, putting the Cardinal down two sets to one.

Freshman opposite Kathryn Plummer posted three blocks at the beginning of the fourth, giving the Cardinal an extra edge and allowing them to maintain an early lead. Washington State was able to catch up, tying the game at 17 points each. Stanford got ahead again, but the Cougars were able to tied it up once again, this time at 23 points. The game continued until another tie at 26, and at this point the Card broke the chain, benefitting from a pair of attack errors from Washington State senior Kyra Holt and winning the set at a tight 28-26.

The two teams dove into the fifth and final set with all of their strength. Washington State maintained a small but decisive lead throughout, as the score progressed from 7-5, to 10-7 to 12-8. At this point, the Cougars went on a three-point tear, winning the set and the match with a 15-8 score in the fifth set.

Plummer led the team with 13 kills and seven blocks during her first career start. She was closely followed by fifth-year senior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku’s 11 kills and nine blocks, freshman middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris’ 11 kills and six blocks and senior Merete Lutz’s 11 kills and six blocks.

On the other side of the net, Holt led the Cougars with 17 kills and five blocks, with an additional 13 kills from both sophomore outside hitter McKenna Woodford and sophomore middle blocker Taylor Mims and 11 kills from junior outside hitter Casey Schoenlein.

The Cardinal will have to regroup as it returns home to take on No. 20 Colorado on Friday followed by Utah on Sunday. Stanford has been on the road for much of this month, and a return to familiar territory should renew the team’s confidence. Friday’s game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network with first serve at 6 p.m. and live stats will be available on GoStanford.com for Sunday’s matchup at 1 p.m.

 

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