No. 4 Stanford women’s volleyball (22-3, 15-1 Pac-12) defeated No. 6 Oregon (22-5, 12-4 Pac-12) 3-2 on Thursday evening, followed by a 3-1 win on Saturday afternoon against Oregon State (10-16, 5-11 Pac-12). The victory on Saturday took the program’s record against the Beavers to 75-0.
The Cardinal totaled 47 digs and seven aces against Oregon State, also matching their season-high 14.5 blocks.
Both teams battled it out point after point for the first set. A strong kill by redshirt senior middle blocker McKenna Vicini and a service ace by sophomore outside hitter Elia Rubin had the audience roaring at Maples, with Stanford only a point behind the Beavers.
Set one also featured sophomore defensive specialist Anna Pringle — a Stanford player seen more and more on the court — hitting a service ace and her first collegiate dig-kill.
“It’s always super fun to be out there. Everyone on the court is just one of the best players in the country,” Pringle said. “Being surrounded by them and how supportive they are … it’s been super fun. Especially going in and consistently serving, I think I’ve gotten better throughout the season just because I’ve gotten more comfortable with everyone.”
The crowd remained captivated as the Beavers and Cardinal battled it out in a rally, and a kill by fifth-year opposite Kendall Kipp speared the Stanford lead into certainty. The Beavers were left in the dust at 17-13 for Stanford. Stanford was on a run — a sneaky tip by Vicini and ace by redshirt senior outside hitter Caitie Baird kept the crowd roaring. A kill by junior middle blocker Sami Francis settled the score at 25-17, giving Stanford a 1-0 lead in sets.
The Cardinal came out with even more fight in set two, holding the Beavers to .182 hitting percentage. Francis’s explosive kill let the Beavers know what to expect for the set.
Senior libero Elena Oglivie’s crowd-rousing dig found junior setter Kami Miner, who set up Kipp for her powerhouse kill — another strong Cardinal possession.
A kill by Kipp closed another set in favor of Stanford: 25-17.
Set two saw various coach’s challenges from both teams, notably head coach Kevin Hambly’s challenge of an out-of-bounds call rewarding Stanford a point. Another coach’s challenge in set three that favored Oregon State sparked a chorus of disapproval from Cardinal fans.
Despite great kills from Baird, Kipp and Vicini that attempted to shrink the Beaver’s lead, Oregon State won set three at 21-25.
Set four was the Cardinal’s best yet with a hitting percentage of .478.
“We made some good adjustments when they came after us,” Hambly said about the team’s performance in the third and fourth set. “They didn’t back down, so credit to them, and I think we did the same thing right at the beginning [of set four].”
Off the bat, Stanford dominated the fourth set with a 8-1 lead.
A block by Baird and Vicini contributed to Stanford’s impressive performance. They held the Beavers to a .115 hitting percentage throughout the set and continued pressuring offensively. Set four saw another brilliant play by Rubin, as she tipped in another point for Stanford.
The Cardinal’s five-point run left Oregon State struggling to close the deficit, and a kill by Rubin concluded set four 25-13, tallying another win for Stanford.
Oregon State’s defeat followed a tense five-set match against Oregon on Thursday. Both wins saw great highs for Stanford players.
On Thursday, Kipp achieved her fourth double-double of the year, with 18 kills and a career-high of 17 digs. Oglivie’s defensive prowess resulted in her second-straight 20-plus dig performance — her fourth of the season — with a match-high 21 digs.
Against Oregon State, the Cardinal earned more career and season highs. Francis tied her career best .667 attack percentage, and Baird and Kipp tied for a game-high of 13 kills. Baird posted a season-high five blocks, four digs, two assists and an ace, and Rubin had a match-high of 15 digs. Pringle played all four sets, matching her career-high of six digs and an ace, in addition to her first collegiate kill. Vicini hit .533 with eight kills on 15 errorless attempts and achieved a season-high 10 blocks.
“The goal at the end of the season is to win a national championship, but we can’t do that without taking care of the matches in front of us,” Vicini said. “The Pac-12 conference is really strong … [We’re] making sure that we’re preparing properly for each game knowing that everyone is going to come out fighting.”
Stanford women’s volleyball continues pushing ahead, playing on the road against UCLA (16-10, 8-8 Pac-12) on Friday and No. 25 USC (17-9, 11-5 Pac-12) on Sunday for their final Pac-12 away-game slate.