A big kill from middle blocker Inky Ajanaku sealed the deal for No. 12 Stanford women’s volleyball (20-7, 14-5 Pac-12) as it swept No. 19 Oregon (19-9, 12-7) in Maples Pavilion Wednesday night. This marks the Cardinal’s 16th consecutive 20-win season — a mark the squad has attained in every season that John Dunning has served as head coach.
It was a career night for Ajanaku, who surpassed Foluke Akinradewo for fourth place on Stanford’s all-time career blocks list. The fifth-year senior’s five blocks on the night brought her career total to 583.
Ajanaku and freshman outside hitter Kathryn Plummer led the Cardinal offensively, putting up 10 kills apiece, as Stanford asserted itself in a key end-of season matchup with the NCAA Tournament announcement just around the corner.
Although the lead shifted between the two teams on Wednesday, the Cardinal were able to make up early deficits in two of three sets on their way to a 25-22, 25-11, 25-22 sweep.
In the first set, the Ducks were able to secure an 11-7 advantage before Stanford went on a 13-6 tear to regain momentum. During the run, freshman setter Jenna Gray recorded five assists, targeting four different teammates for the kill. Although Oregon came within striking distance at the end of the set, Stanford was able to keep the Ducks at bay.
The Cardinal controlled the second set. While the teams started off kill-for-kill, Stanford inched ahead to a 6-5 lead before taking a 7-1 run and never looking back. Oregon struggled with consistency in the set, hitting a meager .033 to the Cardinal’s .565.
The Ducks pulled out to a 10-7 lead in the third set, but Stanford countered with a 10-2 run. However, it was a short-lived lead, as Oregon took a 7-2 run of its own to even the score at 19 apiece. Stanford took the next point and maintained its lead to win the match.
Up next, the Cardinal will take on Bay Area rival Cal (9-19, 3-15) in Maples Pavilion on Friday, wrapping up their regular season with what is sure to be an exciting match. With the Golden Bears in the midst of a late-season slump, Stanford will seek a statement win as it keeps its eyes on the postseason. First serve will be at 5 p.m. and the match will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.
Contact Olivia Hummer at ohummer ‘at’ stanford.edu.