No. 18 Stanford women’s volleyball (19-10, 13-7 Pac-12) had another routine win over Iowa State (16-12, 8-8 Big 12) in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship in Minneapolis. The Cardinal took down the Cyclones in four sets on Friday: 25-19, 23-25, 25-18, 25-17.
Despite the fact that it was both team’s first appearance in the postseason since 2019, it was the Cardinal newcomers who shined. Setter Kami Miner, fresh off of her award of Pac-12 freshman of the year, logged 52 assists
Both of Stanford’s all-conference members, redshirt sophomore outside hitter Caitie Baird and junior opposite Kendall Kipp, were the beneficiaries of Miner’s productivity. Baird and Kipp were not afraid to go after all-Big 12 libero Marija Popovic. The senior Cyclone from Serbia led her conference in digs per set with 4.65 in the regular season but logged just 11 in total on Friday.
Baird hit .396 for the match, far above her .284 average for the season, while Kipp hit .417, compared to her season average of .337. Kipp also put up a defensive effort of 11 digs to tie both Popovic and Stanford’s freshman defensive specialist Taylor Beaven.
The best defensive player on the floor was sophomore libero Elena Oglivie who logged 20 digs in the contest.
The Cardinal will need Oglivie’s defensive contributions as they prepare to face opposite Stephanie Samedy and the regional hosts, 12th-seeded Minnesota (21-8, 15-5 Big Ten), in the second round of the tournament. Samedy was named player of the year, for the second straight season in the powerhouse Big Ten Conference. The Golden Gophers already beat the Cardinal this season in a 3-1 rout during the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Eugene on Sept. 10.
First serve against Minnesota is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT on Saturday.