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Women’s volleyball downs Florida State to advance to Elite Eight
Libero Morgan Hentz had a career day against Florida State, tying her career high with 27 digs and setting a career high with five service aces. The libero's strong service helped to turn the tide of the match and give Stanford the chance to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. (KAREN AMBROSE HICKEY/isiphotos.com)

Women’s volleyball downs Florida State to advance to Elite Eight

After dropping its first set for just the seventh time this season, No. 6 Stanford women’s volleyball (24-7) rallied to overtake the Florida State Seminoles (26-6) in four sets in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon at UW Fieldhouse. The Cardinal will now face No. 3 Wisconsin (28-4) in the regional finals on Saturday at 3 p.m. as they attempt to secure the program’s 20th Final Four berth.

Fifth-year senior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku continued her stellar postseason play, hitting over .500 for the third straight match, as she tallied a season-high 17 kills on her way to a .538 mark on the day. Freshman setter Jenna Gray recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 45 assists and 11 digs, while freshman libero Morgan Hentz tied her career-high mark with 27 digs and tacked on a career-high five aces.

Although the first set appeared evenly matched at the start, with the teams tied at 5-5, Florida State took advantage of some Cardinal miscues to go on a 10-4 run and take command of the momentum. Stanford quickly battled back, taking the next five points — including two on aces from Hentz — to bring the set back into reach. The teams traded blows for several points before Florida State took a 6-1 run to set point at a score of 24-20. The Cardinal were unwilling to go down quietly, fighting off five set points before falling 27-25 to the Seminoles.

Stanford rallied early in the second set, jumping out to a 7-3 lead with the help of two more aces from Hentz. Although Florida State kept the score close for much of the set, it was unable to regain the lead as the Cardinal claimed a 25-20 victory to even the teams at 1-1. Stanford hit .350 as a team in the set and was paced by six kills from freshman outside hitter Kathryn Plummer.

The Cardinal absolutely dominated the third set, as they held the Seminoles to just nine points, the lowest mark allowed by Stanford in NCAA play since 2008. Florida State hit -.125 for the set, and recorded 12 attack errors to Stanford’s one. A kill from senior opposite Merete Lutz, who tallied 10 kills in the match, put the set away as the Cardinal claimed a 25-9 blowout win.

Florida State battled back in the fourth set as it attempted to keep the match alive, but Stanford would prevail in a hard-fought 25-23 set victory. The Cardinal claimed a quick lead, but the Seminoles tied it up at nine points apiece, and the teams remained neck-and-neck for much of the set. After Florida State took a 22-20 advantage, Stanford took a 5-1 tear to win the set and keep its season alive.

Up next, the Cardinal will take on Wisconsin Saturday at 3 p.m. in Madison. The match will be broadcasted on ESPNU.

 

Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Olivia Hummer

Olivia Hummer '17 is a managing editor of The Daily's sports section and writes about volleyball, football and baseball. When she's not filling in as an emergency copy editor, she can be found curled up in a ball bemoaning the misfortunes of her beloved Seattle Mariners or cursing the misuse of the Stanford Athletics logo. Olivia is a senior majoring in history from Covina, California, and can be reached at ohummer 'at' stanford.edu.