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Women’s volleyball splits series with Arizona schools
Senior Inky Ajanaku displayed leadership on the court against Arizona Saturday night, hitting .750 and leading the team with six blocks. Ajanaku's domination of the net added to the Cardinal's statistical superiority over the Sun Devils during the game, including a season high .422 as a team. (KAREN AMBROSE HICKEY/Stanford Athletics)

Women’s volleyball splits series with Arizona schools

It was a weekend of mixed success for No. 12 Stanford women’s volleyball (11-5, 5-3 Pac-12) as Arizona (13-6, 5-2) edged Stanford in four sets on Friday, but Stanford bounced back quickly to sweep Arizona State (8-12, 1-7) on Saturday in Maples Pavilion.

The Cardinal’s standard of success on their home court has suffered this season, as the loss to Arizona marked the first time the Wildcats have won at Maples since 2005 and the first time Stanford has lost two straight matches at home during the 16-year tenure of head coach John Dunning.

The Wildcats’ offense led the day in Arizona’s 25-21, 28-26, 25-27, 25-21 defeat of the Cardinal. Three Arizona players recorded double-doubles, including senior setter Penina Snuka, who finished the night with 19 digs and 59 assists, one shy of her career high. Her 59 assists in Friday’s game are the second highest mark in the Pac-12 this season and the highest in a four-set match.

Stanford rebounded on Saturday, outdoing the Sun Devils in every major statistical category in a 25-13, 25-17, 25-19 sweep while hitting a season-high .422 as a team. Freshman opposite Kathryn Plummer recorded her second double-double of her career, tallying 10 blocks and 10 kills. Fifth-year senior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku dominated at the net, hitting .750 (9-0-12) while leading the team with six blocks.

From the start, it was a tight matchup between Arizona and Stanford on Friday night. The teams went back and forth, remaining within two points of one another for the majority of the first set. After going up 19-18, the Wildcats went on a 6-3 run to take the set and a 1-0 lead.

Both teams improved their attack in the second set, but Arizona was able to outhit the Cardinal an impressive .457 to .342. This set was even closer than the first, with the teams going into extra points and forcing four set-point scenarios before three consecutive errors from Stanford gave Arizona the 28-26 victory.

The Cardinal switched up their offense in the third set, shifting from a 6-2 formation to a 5-1 formation and succeeded in breaking the Wildcats’ stride. Stanford squandered a 21-17 lead, allowing Arizona to score four straight points to tie the set. The teams traded blows, but the Cardinal were able to eke out a win and prevent the sweep.

It was another close set in the fourth, but Stanford was unable to regain the lead after Arizona went up 16-15, falling 25-21 and snapping a 19-match win streak against the Wildcats.

On Saturday, Stanford was hot right out of the gates, taking a quick 7-3 lead and maintaining it throughout the first set. As a team, the Cardinal recorded 17 kills while hitting .625 to the Sun Devils’ .292. In the second, Stanford once again dominated, holding a lead for the entirety of the set. Arizona State held the lead five times in the third set, but the Cardinal took seven straight points to go up 22-16 before finishing off the set and match with a 25-19 win.

Stanford will head to Southern California next weekend to take on No. 20 UCLA on Friday and USC on Sunday. Friday’s match will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network at 8 p.m. and Sunday’s will be televised on ESPNU at 2 p.m.

 

Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Olivia Hummer

Olivia Hummer '17 is a managing editor of The Daily's sports section and writes about volleyball, football and baseball. When she's not filling in as an emergency copy editor, she can be found curled up in a ball bemoaning the misfortunes of her beloved Seattle Mariners or cursing the misuse of the Stanford Athletics logo. Olivia is a senior majoring in history from Covina, California, and can be reached at ohummer 'at' stanford.edu.