After opening its season with a loss to Arizona (2-4, 2-4 Pac-12) on Friday, Stanford women’s volleyball (0-2, 0-2 Pac-12) was upset by the Wildcats once again on Sunday, losing 3-1 in Tucson as Arizona completed its first sweep of Stanford since 2005.
The Cardinal was without senior outside hitter Meghan McClure, junior middle Holly Campbell and junior opposite Mackenzie Fidelak, all of whom have yet to play a game due to COVID-19 protocols. The absence of the star players forced Stanford to use an underclassmen-only lineup.
Despite dropping set one by a narrow 25-27 margin, the Cardinal showed promise early on. The team’s hit percentage was .297 compared to Arizona’s .175, and the Cardinal looked much more comfortable with its play than it had during Friday’s game. However, the Cardinal’s start to set two was rocky; the Cardinal quickly went down 0-4 and took an early timeout — an uncommon occurrence at such a high level, especially for a team that enters the season in search of its third consecutive national championship. The Wildcats led for the remainder of the set, winning 25-17 and grabbing a commanding 2-0 lead.
Stanford did not go quietly, as the Cardinal played a solid third set and claimed its first set of the year, winning 25-21.
However, Stanford could not continue the momentum, with the Wildcats outplaying the Cardinal from start to finish in the fourth. The Wildcats’ dominance earned them a 25-13 fourth set victory, finishing off the match to win 3-1.
Statistically, there were a number of similarities between the Cardinal and the Wildcats. Stanford finished the game with one more kill than Arizona, 49-48, and two more digs, 67-65. Both teams also finished the match with seven service aces and eight blocks apiece.
While the teams performed similarly in many respects, service errors plagued the Cardinal throughout today’s matchup. With 16 errors compared to Arizona’s seven, Stanford handed the Wildcats free points. In addition to service errors, the Wildcats held the advantage in hit percentage, .239 compared to the Cardinal’s .170. Stanford also had 17 attack errors — nine more than Arizona’s eight.
Sophomore outside hitter Kendall Kipp was Stanford’s leader in the absence of the upperclassmen. Kipp finished the game with 18 kills, more than double that of anyone else on the young Stanford team. Kipp also added eight digs to her stats sheet by the end of the action.
Redshirt freshman middle blocker McKenna Vicini was another bright spot for the Cardinal, leading the team with five blocks.
The game looked highly unusual for fans tuning in, as players wore masks and did not switch sides after each set due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Cardinal will be back in action on Friday at 2 p.m. PT to take on Cal in Berkeley.