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79-77 is your final from Provo after a furious comeback falls barely short at the end. Card get No. 9 Texas in Austin next. Tough draw.: 5 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Card looked sloppy and lost at times, but this team's resiliency is really something else. Just won't go away easily.: 5 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford and Randle got the looks that they wanted at the end, and the shots just didn't fall. That happens, not much you can do about that.: 5 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Card get the ball back down 79-77 with 4.8 to go, and Randle misses the buzzer-beater. BYU wins by that final score.: 5 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Randle misses the long 3 on a clean look. Stanford will get the ball back with a chance.: 5 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Travel. Stanford down 2, gets the ball back and can kill the clock.: 5 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Randle with the clutch 3! We have a two-point game, 79-77 with just under a minute to go. ESPNU. Don't miss this ending.: 5 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Two forced turnovers later, it's back to a 77-72 game. Stanford doing whatever it can to stick around.: 5 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Stanford playing sloppy ball, BYU playing clean, foul-free ball on the other end. It's 72-59 Cougars, who have opened it up with 5 to play.: 6 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport
Miscues and sloppy passing from Stanford cue another BYU run, and the lead is back to 9 at 68-59 with 6 minutes to go.: 6 hours ago, Stanford Daily Sport

Card dismantles Hampton in first round of NCAAs

It was business as usual for Stanford women’s volleyball as the Cardinal began its campaign for a seventh national championship and its first since 2004.

The No. 7 Cardinal (25-5) earned its 20th straight-set victory of the season, as it dominated the Hampton Pirates (19-11), 25-10, 25-10, 25-11. It was Stanford’s 10th consecutive win, which extended the team’s longest such streak of the season.

Sophomore middle blocker Inky Ajanaku (top left) (StanfordPhoto.com)

Sophomore middle blocker Inky Ajanaku (top left) helped lead Stanford’s dominant and efficient offense in Thursday’s opening NCAA victory against Hampton. (StanfordPhoto.com)

Hampton, which made its longest trip of the season away from the East Coast, often seemed overwhelmed by both the atmosphere of Maples Pavilion and the strength of its opponent, as it had not seen teams of Stanford’s caliber as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Pirates head coach Karen Weatherington, when asked if any particular Stanford players impressed her, said, “Yes, every one … We knew we had our work cut out for us, and it was very impressive to see them work together.”

Stanford was able to exploit Hampton’s undersized lineup throughout the match with aggressive play at the net from its middle blockers, senior Carly Wopat and sophomore Inky Ajanaku. Wopat hit .733 for the match with 11 kills and six blocks, while Ajanaku hit .714 with 10 kills and two blocks. The Card tallied nine total blocks in the match to the Pirates’ two.

Overall, the Cardinal outhit the Pirates .452 to .022 for its highest hitting percentage since an Oct. 25 match against Oregon State. Sophomore setter Madi Bugg was able to distribute the ball well to the middles consistently, contributing to the Card’s 43 kills.

“Inky and I are both aggressive hitters, so when we get up there, we want to swing away,” Wopat said. “We had a lot of openings tonight because Madi set us really well. “

Stanford also had six service aces to Hampton’s one — notable, as the Pirates entered the match leading the nation with 1.99 aces per set. Junior libero Kyle Gilbert played a role in both of those statistics, hitting a season-high three aces in the match and also digging eight balls.

Up next for the Cardinal in the second round of the tournament is Oklahoma (24-7), who defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide (24-10) earlier Thursday evening at Maples, winning three straight sets after dropping the first, 20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-23.

The Sooners pose a completely different challenge than the Pirates did, with a projected starting lineup with an average height of 6-foot-1 compared to Hampton’s small lineup that relied on a strong serve and good defense. Oklahoma tallied 18 team blocks in its first round matchup against Alabama, a team that was the third-best statistical offense in the SEC.

Oklahoma is led by senior middle Sallie McLaurin, who was unanimously selected to the Big-12 First Team. McLaurin finished the season hitting .423, averaging 3.76 kills per set and 1.34 blocks per set.

The second round NCAA match between Stanford and Oklahoma, with a spot in the Lexington, Ky., regional on the line, is set for 7 p.m. on Friday at Maples Pavilion.

Contact Jordan Wallach at jwallach ‘at’ Stanford.edu.

About Jordan Wallach

Jordan Wallach is a sports desk editor at The Stanford Daily. He has served as a beat writer for Stanford's baseball, football and women's volleyball teams. Jordan is a sophomore from New York City majoring in Mathematical and Computational Science. To contact him, please send him an email at jwallach 'at' stanford.edu.