After falling to unranked Colorado last weekend, No. 11 Stanford women’s volleyball (12-5, 6-3 Pac-12) rallied for a thrilling upset over the No. 4 Washington Huskies (17-2, 7-2) in a five-set match at Maples Pavilion Wednesday night. It was a record-breaking night for two Stanford players: Senior setter Madi Bugg had 55 assists, bringing her to a career mark of 4,477 and placing her at No. 3 in Stanford history, while senior outside hitter Jordan Burgess had 8 digs, bringing her career total to 1,222 and moving her to tenth-best all-time.
“That’s a huge win, especially after last weekend,” said senior setter Madi Bugg. “I’m hoping it’s the turning point of the season. But I think there can be a lot of turning points. Every game is a building block.”
The first set established the tone of the match as a whole. The teams were neck and neck throughout, and the score was tied a whopping 12 times. However, the Huskies prevailed in the end, winning 26-24.
Stanford dominated the second set, forcing Washington to play catch-up from the very start. Following an error by the Huskies on the opening serve, junior setter Kelsey Humphreys got Stanford’s offense started with an ace. For the rest of the set, Stanford never trailed, winning 25-19, despite a late rally by Washington that brought the score within five.
The Huskies came back strong in the third set, leading the Cardinal from the third point on and winning the set 25-16. Stanford played sloppily, hitting only .069 to Washington’s .519. Washington continued its dominant play in the fourth set, and it appeared the match would go the Huskies’ way. However, Stanford resurged from a 16-11 deficit with a 14-4 run to win the set 25-20, forcing the Huskies into only their second five-set match this season.
“I think we just kicked it into gear,” Bugg said. “It was do or die.”
The fifth set began like the first, with both teams grappling for the lead. The score remained close, but Stanford pulled ahead 4-3 and maintained the lead to win the set by a 15-13 margin and complete the upset.
“To take a team that experienced and push back against them, that’s huge,” said head coach John Dunning. “I mean, exciting. And you can tell for our team, who have won a lot of matches the over the last three years, this was very special.”
Stanford will continue its homestand this Friday when it faces off against Pac-12 opponent Washington State (14-6, 3-5) at Maples Pavilion.
Following the dramatic victory against Washington, the Cardinal will be looking to continue their success at home. Although USC broke the Cardinal’s 27-game home winning streak at the end of September, Stanford has a history of home-court dominance, with the team boasting a record of 54-2 at Maples in the last four years.
Although the Cougars are unranked, Stanford has had its share of trouble against unranked opponents this year. After nearly three years with no losses to unranked opponents, Stanford has lost twice to unranked teams this season, with the most recent coming this past weekend in a four-set loss to Colorado.
Washington State is coming off of a loss to No. 25 Oregon on Sunday, and its only win against a ranked opponent was on Oct. 11 versus then-No. 5 Arizona State. Coming into the matchup, the Cardinal have a 55-3 all-time record against the Cougars and look to continue a 24-game winning streak stretching back to 2002.
Despite their losing conference record, the Cougars lead the Pac-12 in service aces with 107 and rank third in opponent hitting percentage (.149). The Cardinal defense will have their hands full with WSU junior outside hitter Kyra Holt, as she leads the Cougars with 272 kills and her 4.00 kills per set ranks her sixth in the Pac-12.
Offensively, Stanford will look to freshman outside hitter Hayley Hodson for another dominant performance and for senior outside hitter Brittany Howard to add to her already-formidable career statistics.
Friday’s 7 p.m. game is the second of a four-game homestand, with the Cardinal squaring off against No. 13 Arizona State and No. 14 Arizona next week. The matchup against Washington State will be streamed live on Pac-12.com.
Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.