Looking to build some momentum after falling to San Francisco earlier this week, Stanford beach volleyball (4-4) achieved mixed results as it visited Portland for the Oregon tournament last weekend.
The Cardinal started off strong on Saturday, earning a 3-2 victory over Pac-12 rival Oregon (1-2) and a 4-1 win against Portland (0-7) to end a three-match losing streak it carried going into the event. Freshmen Hayley Hodson and freshman Payton Chang held down the number one spot in both matches, including a decisive clincher against Oregon, while junior Merete Lutz and freshman Halland McKenna also swept their matches in the number three spot.
“On the whole, it was a very good day,” said head coach Denise Corlett. “We got two wins and that will really help us going forward.”
Stanford’s fortunes changed a bit on Sunday, when the Cardinal faced Boise State (3-0) in what was effectively a championship match for the tournament. The team fell behind 2-0 after losing at the four and five slots, and while Lutz and McKenna briefly gave the Cardinal life with a three-set victory in the number three match Boise was able to solidify the win after sophomore Catherine Raquel and junior Ivana Vanjak were outlasted by the Broncos’ Sarah Baugh and Sierra Nobley the in the number two match.
“We got another great showing from the pairs of [Hodson] and [Chang], and [Lutz] and [McKenna],” said Corlett. “We need to continue to be more consistent up and down the lineup and minimize some of our errors to be able to win these close matches.”
The Cardinal won’t have too much time to regroup, as the team kicks off a stretch of seven matches in the next nine days with a visit from No. 16 California (9-7) on Tuesday.
Like the Cardinal, the Bears got off to a reasonably strong start to the season before seeing their form dip as they lost three of their past five matches. Still, the team has had considerably more experience playing with each other as their school’s semester system has allowed them to adopt a more continuous schedule than Stanford has been afforded.
Cal has had to play without star Sarah Cole in recent matches, but the team still features a number of talented performers up and down its roster. Kory Lamet and Bryce Bark have compiled a 12-4 record this season at the two spot, while farther down the lineup Teya Neff and Kaity Uythoven are on a three-match win streak.
Stanford will hope to maintain its consistency at the number one and three slots and aim to take at least one point elsewhere in order to capture its third consecutive Big Spike.
The Cardinal start things off against California at 4:30 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.