No. 18 beach volleyball finds footing with victories over UC Davis, St. Mary’s

March 7, 2021, 7:12 p.m.

After a slow start to the season, Stanford beach volleyball (3-3, 0-2 Pac-12) logged two wins on Saturday, shutting out UC Davis (1-2, 0-0 Big West) 5-0 and beating Saint Mary’s (2-2, 1-0 WCC) 3-2.

In the No. 1 spot, junior Charlie Ekstrom and senior Sunny Villapando won both their matches in straight sets as the pair moved to 4-1 on the season. Xolani Hodel and Kate Reilly, the first of two freshman pairs on the squad, also went 2-0 in their matches, winning in straight sets. 

Freshman Maya Harvey and sophomore Maddi Kriz slotted into the third flight for the Cardinal and won their first match against UC Davis. Against Saint Mary’s, Harvey showed her offensive ability to evade blocks and place the ball exactly where it needed to go, but her effort wasn’t enough to stop the Gaels from taking the match in three sets.

In the fourth flight, junior Maddie Dailey and senior Amelia Smith put up the most dominant one-set performance from the Cardinal on Saturday. While the duo edged out a three-set victory against the Aggies, they came roaring back in a 21-8 first set victory over Saint Mary’s and finished a close 22-20 second set to be the third pair to win both their matches on the day. 

The second pair of freshman, Ellie Gamberdella and Emmy Sharp, put on a strong showing when facing the Aggies, but struggled to put up the same performance against Saint Mary’s freshman Makenna Joyce and junior Selbie Christensen, losing in straight sets as the sun set on the Farm.

The upcoming schedule looks convenient for the Cardinal; it does not play any matches for the remainder of the quarter and will start its spring break playing Hawaii (0-0, 0-0 Big West) in Davis, California on March 22.

Michael Espinosa '22 is majoring in international relations. He's the head of The Daily's social media team, and editor for the University beat and also occasionally writes for sports, arts, and The Grind. He's the biggest Taylor Swift fan at Stanford and the proudest New Yorker you will ever meet. Contact him at mespinosa 'at'

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