No. 7 Stanford women’s volleyball (18-6, 12-4 Pac-12) returns to Maples Pavilion to take on Colorado (16-12, 8-8) this Thursday evening. Dropping one spot in the rankings after last week’s loss to now-No. 2 Washington, Stanford seeks to establish momentum before heading into postseason play.
When Stanford and Colorado faced off in Boulder earlier this season, Colorado won in four sets, and Stanford fell to its lowest ranking yet this season. But Stanford bounced back from that loss to a six-game winning streak that was only recently snapped.
This time, the Cardinal have home-court advantage against the Buffs, and they have only lost one match at Maples this season. Stanford leads the all-time series with Colorado, 14-1.
The Buffaloes will put up a strong fight. Coming off of upset wins against then-No. 21 Arizona State and then-No. 19 Arizona, Colorado has a chance to enter the top 25 of the AVCA Coaches’ Poll if it continues to play well.
Senior outside hitter Alexis Austin will pose a big offensive threat to the Cardinal. Ranked fifth in the conference in kills, Austin paces the team with 4.04 kills per set. Her particularly strong performances against the Arizona teams led her to be named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week. Over the course of those two wins, Austin hit .408 and managed to record 4.62 kills per set.
Senior setter Nicole Edelman coordinates the offense with 1,059 assists this season for an average of 9.81 assists per set – good enough for seventh place in the Pac-12.
Freshman middle blocker Naghede Abu is also on the conference leaderboard, as her 1.20 blocks per set place her eighth, just behind Stanford’s Merete Lutz.
As a team, Stanford has been dominant of late, winning all but one of its last eight matches. October’s five-set victory over Washington proved something of a turning point for the Cardinal. Since then, they have surrendered only one set to an unranked opponent and have swept four of their last seven matchups.
Look for the Cardinal to continue their well-balanced attack when they take on Colorado. Three players are averaging more than 3 kills per set, with freshman outside hitter Hayley Hodson leading the team with 3.85. Junior middle blocker Merete Lutz comes in second with 3.22 kills per set, while also ranking seventh in the Pac-12 with 1.22 blocks per set. Senior outside hitter Brittany Howard rounds out the top three with 3.03 kills per set.
The Cardinal will look to build momentum as they kick off their three-match homestand. They face off against the Buffs in Maples Pavilion at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19. The match will be streamed live on GoStanford.com.
Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.