Women’s volleyball splits matches on Pacific Northwest road trip

Nov. 16, 2015, 2:49 a.m.

After a four-set loss to No. 3 University of Washington (24-2, 14-2) last Thursday, the No. 6 Stanford women’s volleyball team (18-6, 12-4) ended its road trip on a high note this Sunday, defeating Washington State (15-13, 4-12) in four sets.

Against the Huskies, Stanford opened strong, winning the first point of the match on a kill by sophomore opposite hitter Sidney Brown. The Cardinal carried that momentum to a 25-23 victory in the first set that was capped off by a kill by senior setter Madi Bugg.

However, the Huskies controlled the match after the first set, sweeping the rest of the match with a combination of efficient hitting, airtight defense and a series of hitting mistakes from the Cardinal. The Cardinal had no answer for Lianna Sybeldon, who torched the Cardinal for 17 kills while hitting .517 for the match.

Senior outside hitter Jordan Burgess led the Cardinal with 14 kills. Junior middle blocker Merete Lutz added 13 kills on an efficient .409 hitting percentage.

At times in the match, the Cardinal seemed to struggling to get quality hits, overall hitting just .193 compared to the Huskies’ .329. Part of the reason for Stanford’s offensive woes was the absence of freshman outside hitter Hayley Hodson, who suffered an injury earlier in the week. Brown performed admirably as Hodson’s replacement, recording 9 kills and 12 digs.

Compounding the Cardinal’s offensive struggles was the Huskies’ strong defensive play. Washington’s front line recorded 13 blocks compared to just 5 for the Cardinal. Huskies middle blocker Melanie Wade was especially effective, blocking 8 hits and disrupting the flow of Stanford’s offense.

This loss represented the difficulties Stanford has encountered on the road this season, as following the match the team had reached a 6-5 record in away games compared to a combined 10-1 at Maples Pavilion and neutral sites.


The Cardinal’s struggles away from Maples, however, did not manifest themselves two days later, when the team handily beat the Cougars. Freshman outside hitter Hayley Hodson returned from injury and was one of three Cardinal players to register double-doubles on the day.

Eleven errors from the Cougars gave the Cardinal an advantage in the first set, allowing them to outhit Washington State .286 to .061. While the Cougars stayed within striking distance throughout, the Cardinal maintained the lead, taking the set 25-18.

Stanford kept the second set close but struggled to execute, registering 11 attack errors of their own. The Cougars notched 8 blocks, which limited Stanford offensively. Although the score was tied 11 times, the Cougars asserted themselves in the end, going on a 6-1 run to win the set 25-20.

After going down 3-0 in the third, Stanford hit its stride, ending the set on an 11-2 run to handily defeat the Cougars 25-16. Continuing the trend of a well-balanced and powerful attack, the Cardinal spread out its 16 kills among six players and recorded a .394 hitting percentage. Stanford would maintain its dominance taking the fourth set and the match, hitting .424 with 17 kills for a final score of 25-18.

Three Cardinal notched double-doubles against Washington State. With 45 assists and 13 digs, Bugg registered her team-leading 11th double-double. Hodson followed in a close second, as she notched her 10th double-double of the season with 15 kills and 11 digs. Senior outside hitter Brittany Howard continued to put up impressive numbers, hitting .400 while recording 10 kills and 11 digs to secure her eighth double-double of the year.

The Cardinal will return to Maples Pavilion for a three-game home-stand, beginning with a matchup against Colorado. With only four matches remaining in the regular season, the team seeks to finish strongly and build momentum as it looks towards the postseason.

First serve against the Buffs is at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The match will be streamed live online.


Contact Elliott Lapin at elapin ‘at’ stanford.edu and Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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