Beach volleyball stretches win streak to 10 with successful showing in Tuscon

March 28, 2021, 10:00 p.m.

With four weekend wins, No. 18 Stanford beach volleyball (11-3, 5-2 Pac-12) extended its win streak to 10, just one short of the program record set in 2018. The Cardinal took down No. 14 Arizona, Utah, Arizona State and Washington to finish 4-0 at the Pac-12 South Invitational. 

True freshmen Xolani Hodal and Kate Reilly dominated for Stanford in Tuscon. The duo, operating as the Cardinal’s No. 2 pair, ended 4-0 in the desert to cap off a perfect 8-0 over the previous seven days; Hodal and Reilly earned two wins against No. 6 Hawai’i and UC Davis on March 22 before picking up another two on March 25 against No. 8 Grand Canyon and Arizona State. 

Despite their inexperience at the collegiate level, Hodal and Reilly made quick work of their opponents on Saturday. In Arizona, the freshmen took down Wildcats Brooke Burling and Sarah Blacker on Saturday morning before cruising to a 21-10, 21-11 victory over Utah’s Camille Lee and Keana Smalls in the afternoon. Stanford finished the matches with 3-2 and 5-0 victories, respectively. 

The duo faced more trouble from their Sunday morning challengers — Arizona State’s Emily Anderson and Aleksandra Sochacka — and pushed the action to three sets before earning the point in a 17-21, 21-8 and 15-9 result.

Hodal and Reilly bounced back with an easy 21-13, 21-10 defeat of Washington’s Natalie Robinson and Scarlett Dahl to move to 11-2 on the season. 

Stanford’s No. 1 pair of junior Charlie Ekstrom and senior Sunny Villapando found similar success, but struggled to find their footing against Washington. The Huskies’ Shayne McPherson and Chloe Loreen proved too much for Ekstrom and Villapando to handle, and the Cardinal pair fell 21-17, 21-12.  

Prior to the tournament, Villapando became the program’s all-time career wins leaders after earning her 50th and 51st victories. 

Like Ekstrom and Villapando, juniors Maddie Dailey and Jordan McKinney finished 3-1 on the weekend. At the No. 4 flight for the Cardinal, Dailey and McKinney were instrumental in Stanford’s defeat of the Wildcats, earning the clinching point with an exciting 21-19, 19-21, 15-11 outcome over Arizona’s Dana Parker and Mady Noble.

Stanford now faces a four-day break in competition before traveling to Saint Mary’s for a Thursday meeting with the Gaels. Time of first serve has yet to be determined.

Savanna Stewart is a managing editor in the Sports section. She is a junior from Twin Bridges, Montana studying Political Science and Communication and enjoys running and playing basketball. Contact her at sstewart 'at'

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