The No. 7 Stanford women’s volleyball team (8-2) barely knocked off rival Berkeley (7-3) at Haas Pavilion Wednesday night in a four set match, (20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 28-26). Although Cal is projected to finish in the bottom half of the Pac-12, without the dynamic play and hops of sophomore middle blocker Inky Ajanaku, the Golden Bears were able to capitalize and force missed blocks at the net.
Service errors early on hurt the Cardinal as the Bears were able to take the first set 25-20. However, the Card made adjustments and the rest of the match was a dogfight. Stanford controlled the second set until Cal went on a 3-0 run to narrow the lead to just 24-23. The third set again went down to a close set point. Sophomore outside hitter Brittany Howard, however, was determined to take the set and won the set on a vicious kill.
After the third set Stanford led 2-1 but still suffered from service errors with more than three times as many as the Bears. In the fourth set Stanford held off Cal until the end when the Bears went on a 5-1 run to tie the match at 25 apiece. There were two lead changes and two ties until the Cardinal finally got the match point off of a block, winning 28-26.
Stanford will have a tough time on Friday with No.16 Arizona State if Ajanaku is still sick and has to sit out. The Card faces off against the Sun Devils at Maples Pavilion on Friday at 6 p.m.