The No. 14 Arizona State Sun Devils (17-4, 6-4 Pac-12) will make their way to California to face off against the No. 11 Stanford women’s volleyball team (13-5, 7-3) this Wednesday in Maples Pavilion.
Coming off a dominant weekend in which the Cardinal swept both No. 4 Washington and Washington State, Stanford will have confidence going into this week’s match with Arizona State.
The Cardinal last took on the Sun Devils just shy of a month ago on Oct. 2, taking the loss after four sets. The last time the teams met, Stanford was ranked eighth and ASU sixth in the nation. Both teams have fallen off slightly, with the Cardinal coming into this match ranked No. 11 while the Sun Devils sit at No. 13.
Their last meeting was a productive night for Arizona State senior outside hitter Macey Gardner, who rattled off 22 kills and 2 blocks. The best effort from Stanford’s side was from freshman outside hitter Hayley Hodson, who came away with 18 kills. Except for the one set it won 25-22, Stanford played from behind for most of the match.
ASU senior middle blocker Whitney Follette recorded her 400th career block this past weekend against Colorado, making her just the fourth Sun Devil in program history to do so. The 6-foot-2 Follette will present an imposing problem for the Cardinal attack, but Stanford defensive specialist freshman Halland McKenna (currently notching 3.4 digs per set), will try to be there to cover.
The Cardinal’s attacking effort will be led by middle blocker Merete Lutz and Hodson, both of whom were named Pac-12 Defensive Player and Freshman of the Week this past week, respectively. Despite the loss of senior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku due to a knee injury she suffered playing with the U.S. National Team in June, Lutz has truly blossomed this season to take on a larger blocking and hitting role, while Hodson leads the team this season with 255 kills, followed by senior outside hitter Brittany Howard with 199.
With the NCAA Championship tournament approaching, these Pac-12 rivals will look to make a late-season push into the upper echelon of the rankings, with Stanford in particular seeking to prove itself as still one of the most elite teams in the country despite a season full of ups and downs.
The Cardinal will continue their four game home stand against Arizona State this Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be featured on Pac-12 Networks.
Contact Taylor Duarte at taylor3 ‘at’ stanford.edu