Balanced attack leads women’s volleyball to sixth straight win

Nov. 9, 2015, 3:16 a.m.

The No. 7 Stanford women’s volleyball team (17-5, 11-3 Pac-12) completed its sweep of the Oregon schools with a three-set victory over unranked Oregon State (5-19, 3-11) in Corvallis. It was the Cardinal’s 63rd win in as many games against the Beavers, extending the team’s current win streak to six.

Stanford featured a balanced, consistent attack that has become characteristic of the team over the past month. Senior setter Madi Bugg registered 39 assists, distributing evenly to Hayley Hodson, Merete Lutz and Brittany Howard, who all finished with 12 kills.

Stanford fell behind early against the conference’s last-ranked team, finding itself in a 17-11 hole in the first set. Following a timeout, however, the Cardinal came storming back, going on a 12-6 run to tie the match at 23. Consecutive kills by outside hitters Hodson and Jordan Burgess granted Stanford a 1-0 match lead.

From there, the Cardinal offense ramped up significantly, hitting at .378 and .441 clips in the second and third sets, respectively.

Despite being overmatched, the Beavers fought hard in the second set behind the efforts of outside hitter Lila Toner, whose 4 early kills kept the score even. However, Lutz could not be stopped, as she notched 7 kills, including the first and last points of the set, to propel Stanford to a 25-21 win.

The junior, who ranks fifth in the conference in hitting percentage (.369), posted a outstanding .647 clip during the match, with 12 kills on 17 attacks.

The third set was more of the same for the Cardinal, as a series of service and attack errors from Oregon State gifted Stanford a 7-4 lead, from which it never looked back. Senior outside hitter Brittany Howard registered kills on four of the team’s last seven points to seal the set 25-18 and grant Stanford the win.

Hodson, the Cardinal’s freshman sensation, had another solid game, posting 10 digs along with 12 kills for her 10th double-double of the year. The outside hitter also had three of Stanford’s four aces, tying her career-high.

Stanford will now remain on the road, returning to the Pacific Northwest this Thursday to take on No. 10 Washington, followed by Washington State on Sunday. The Cardinal will look to continue their recent hot streak: After their 3-2 upset of then-No. 4 Washington, the team has lost only one set in the span of five matches. 

Washington will likely pose a stiffer challenge in Seattle, where it is undefeated in the regular season dating back to 2012.

Stanford plays the Huskies on Thursday at 8 p.m. The game will be aired live on ESPNU.

Contact Neel Ramachandran at neelr ‘at’

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