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Beach volleyball sets school-record win streak

Win streak propels Cardinal to 14-3 record.

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Stanford beach volleyball has never been hotter. 

The twelfth-ranked team in the nation (14-3, 6-2 Pac-12) earned a school-record twelfth straight win with a 3-2 victory against No. 5 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (14-4, 0-0 Big West) on Saturday afternoon and continued to build on it with another victory over No. 9 Cal (8-5, 4-3 Pac-12) by the same score a few hours later. 

Stanford’s third and fourth flights provided the base the Cardinal needed to secure the wins against its top ten opponents. Juniors Maddie Dailey and Jordan McKinney won both matches in straight sets as the fourth flight, while sophomore Maddi Kriz and freshman Maya Harvey put up a similar result as the third.

Freshman Emmy Sharp and senior Amelia Smith provided the clincher over the Mustangs as the fifth flight with a final score of 21-18, 16-21, 15-13, but they were bested by the Golden Bears freshmen duo of Brooke Buchner and Ava Mann.

The win over the Bears was clinched by senior Sunny Villapando and junior Charlie Ekstrom in straight sets. Villapando and Ekstrom bounced back from a loss against Cal Poly to wrap up the final match of the day. With the match tied 2-2, their Cal opponents, seniors Mima Mirkovic and Carolina Schafer, demonstrated their excellence at landing digs to keep themselves, and the Bears, alive in the action. Villapando and Ekstrom needed 10 extra points to win the match in the second set of the first flight. 

Freshmen Xolani Hodel and Kate Reilly made up the least successful Cardinal duo of the day, dropping both second-flight matches in three sets. The two will need to improve if the team wants to continue its streak on a tough trip to Phoenix.

The Cardinal will face No. 13 Arizona (13-3, 3-1 Pac-12), No. 4 UCLA (13-1, 6-0 Pac-12), No. 1 USC (13-1, 0-0 Pac-12) and play a rematch against the Golden Bears in the desert next weekend.

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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' stanforddaily.com.