Women’s volleyball tames Wildcats

Sept. 24, 2018, 1:52 a.m.

The No. 2-ranked Stanford women’s volleyball team (10-1, 2-0 Pac-12) engaged the unranked Arizona Wildcats (12-2, 1-1 Pac-12) in a slugfest match on Sunday in Maples Pavilion, eventually emerging with a 3-1 victory. Arizona, coming into this match with only one loss, played hard and physical, and a combination of sloppy mistakes for the Cardinal and persistence from the Wildcats kept Stanford on the back foot for a majority of the game.

Stanford cruised to a first-set victory, winning 25-17 and hitting .278 as a team before stumbling to a 27-25 loss in the second set. During that second set, the Cardinal committed 10 errors, hit -.028 and sent a decent amount of balls into the net.

“I think we were struggling a lot, we made a lot of errors, we were giving them a lot,” said Stanford head coach Kevin Hambly. “It was pretty sloppy there, and we hit negative, which this team is way too offensive to be hitting like that in any set or any match.”

The Cardinal’s all-star outside hitter, junior Kathryn Plummer, was principle among the Stanford players struggling in the second set, committing nine total errors. She was also met at the net by thundering Arizona blocks a couple of times, facing targeted adversity. Arizona finished the game with 12 total blocks, just as many as the Cardinal.

“They were trapping a lot on [Kathryn Plummer], so it was hard having such a big block already set up, so I was trying to give some of the other hitters some action and see some one-on-ones to get the pressure off of her,” said junior setter Jenna Gray.

Gray, who ended the game with 44 total assists, kept the team attacking on offense and received help from sophomore Meghan McClure to break the Cardinal out of their slump and into a third-set victory, 25-20. McClure finished the match with a double-double, registering 10 kills and 11 digs, hitting .292 in the match.

Junior libero Morgan Hentz put her body on the line on every play, keeping the Cardinal in a number of points they had no business winning. She finished the night with 20 total digs and a service ace. With the Cardinal totalling 50 digs, Hentz accounted for nearly half of them.

Plummer cleared her head and re-asserted her dominance midway through the third set, powering the Cardinal the rest of the way and eliminating her hitting errors, finishing the match with an astounding 21 kills and four blocks, hitting .273 despite her nine errors.

Other impact performances came from senior middle blocker Tami Alade and freshman middle blocker Holly Campbell, the newest addition to the starting roster. Campbell, demonstrated an impressive slide attack, notching six kills to go along with her six blocks. Alade, spirited as ever, racked up five kills and five blocks. These players helped limit the Wildcats to a team hitting percentage of .147.

“I think they were really physical. They served us really aggressively and got us out of system a little bit; they definitely gave us a run for our money,” Gray said after the match. “I think we talked a lot about hitting smart shots rather than just trying to blast through their block because again they were really strong.”

Sloppy or not, the Cardinal clinched the match in the fourth set 25-21, and a tally was still recorded in the win column. This team is impressive even when it’s making mistakes, and that is terrifying for any opponent it happens to face.

The Cardinal are back in action this Wednesday against UCLA in Maples Pavilion.

 

Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada “at” stanford.edu.

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