No. 14 Stanford women’s volleyball (5-3, 0-0 Pac-12) will begin Pac-12 play Wednesday against California (7-4, 0-0 Pac-12) at 7 p.m. PT at home.
The Cardinal have played a difficult non-conference schedule, with matches against six ranked opponents in the past four weeks. This includes an upset over No. 5 Florida (6-4, 0-0 SEC) and a commanding 3-1 victory over No. 6 Nebraska (6-3, 0-0 Big 10), both at home. Most recently, Stanford fought a back-and-forth battle against No. 8 Kentucky (7-3, 0-0 SEC), ultimately dropping the game in a 2-3 loss.
On Wednesday, all eyes will be on redshirt sophomore outside hitter Caitie Baird, who currently leads the Cardinal with 154 points and 135 kills this season. Freshman setter Kami Miner was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week to start off her season and has also been making plays for the Cardinal offense with a .286 kill percentage.
On the defensive side, redshirt sophomore middle blocker McKenna Vicini has tallied 32 total blocks, with five solo blocks, this season. Sophomore libero Elena Oglivie put up a career-high 27 digs against Penn State and another 20 to secure the Cardinal’s fourth straight win over Nebraska last week. Sophomore defensive specialist Alex Lougeay has recorded 51 total digs and leads the Cardinal with 11 service aces.
The Cardinal must prepare to face California senior outside hitter Katie Smoot at the net. Smoot leads the Bears with 145 total kills and 3.63 kills per set. The Cardinal will also see a new serve in freshman setter Annalea Maeder — she has earned 12 service aces this season.
Overall, Stanford boasts a 78-12 record against its rival across the Bay. Last year, in a shortened spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cardinal faced Cal twice in the same week. The Cardinal lost the first match 3-2 before coming back strong with a 3-0 victory in the second. The series continues Wednesday night at Maples Pavilion as the Cardinal usher in another season of Pac-12 play. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT.