Stanford women’s volleyball (10-4, 4-2 Pac-12) dropped to No. 12 in the rankings this week, despite its coming off of a week of mixed success. It is the lowest mark for the team so far this season. With Arizona (12-6, 4-2) and Arizona State (7-11, 0-6) coming to the Farm on Friday and Saturday, the Cardinal will have a chance to make up ground in the Pac-12 conference.
The Cardinal hold a 65-6 overall record against Arizona and have won 19 straight including a 3-1 win against the Wildcats at home last year. However, Arizona is coming in hot, having won two straight road games against USC and UCLA last week. The Wildcats’ offense is expertly controlled by senior setter Penika Snuka who ranks third in the conference with 9.69 assists per set.
Arizona State, on the other hand, has not won against a Pac-12 team this season and is hitting just .187 as a team. Stanford is 65-5 all time against the Sun Devils, and while the two teams split their series last season, ASU’s win over the Cardinal was its first since 2000.
With the loss of sophomore outside hitter Hayley Hodson due to a medical leave of absence, the Stanford team has had to rally in her wake. Stanford mixed up its lineup in an attempt to reinvigorate the offense, with freshman Kathryn Plummer starting on the outside and sophomore Tami Alade moving to the middle. The Cardinal had mixed success with it, taking their Friday match against then-No. 19 Colorado but falling to unranked Utah (now No. 21) on Sunday for the first time since 2000.
Stanford will rely on its consistent producers, particularly on defense. Fifth-year senior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku currently leads the Pac-12 with 1.59 blocks per set, with freshman middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris coming in third in the conference with 1.52 blocks per set. Both are ranked in the top 15 nationally.
First serve against Arizona is at 8 p.m. on Friday in Maples Pavilion, and Stanford will face off with Arizona State on Saturday at 7 p.m. Friday’s match will be broadcast on Pac-12 Bay Area, and Saturday’s match will be live streamed for free on pac-12.com.
Contact Matthew Bernstein at mbernste ‘at’ stanford.edu.