In its final regular-season matchup, the No. 6 Stanford women’s volleyball team (22-6, Pac-12 16-4) came from behind for a five-set victory over the No. 13 UCLA Bruins (23-7, 14-6). With this victory, the Cardinal finish out the season in third place in the Pac-12 with a five-game win streak as they look towards the postseason, where they have secured the eight seed in the NCAA tournament.
Against UCLA, after a strong start to take the first set 25-18, Stanford faltered, losing the next two sets. Although the Cardinal kept the second set close and the score was tied eight times, UCLA pulled ahead with a 5-0 run and maintained the lead for a 25-22 victory. The third set was tied at 9-9 when the Bruins gained control with a 9-3 run. The Cardinal could not recover, and the Bruins took the set 25-20.
Stanford fought back in the fourth, maintaining its lead from the second point onward. The team registered a .455 hitting percentage while allowing the Bruins to hit only .250. Freshman outside hitter Hayley Hodson paced the squad, notching nine of the team’s 19 kills in the set. Three consecutive kills by Brittany Howard capped off the 25-21 victory.
In the fifth set, the teams kept it close, tying the score seven times. But with the score tied 8-8, the Cardinal capitalized on attack errors by UCLA, going on a 7-3 tear, taking the set and the match with a 15-11 victory.
Several Stanford players put up impressive numbers, including the team’s three seniors. Howard’s career night — she recorded a career-high 22 kills — was supported by the work of senior setter Madi Bugg and senior outside hitter Jordan Burgess, both of whom recorded season-best performances. Burgess tied her season-high with 18 digs, and Bugg tallied a season-high 60 assists, also collecting her 12th double-double of the season by notching 13 digs. Hodson, Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, also collected her 12th double-double with 21 kills and 13 digs.
The Cardinal enter the postseason as the No. 8 seed and will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship. The team will play New Mexico State (28-5) on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.
The winner of that match will play the winner of the Loyola Marymount-Colorado State game in the second round, which will also be played in Maples Pavilion. Given the Cardinal’s history of dominance at home, hosting the first two rounds should prove to be an auspicious start to postseason play.
Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.