By Cybele Zhang
After cinching the Pac-12 Conference Championship on Friday for the 18th time, the No. 2 Stanford women’s volleyball team hopes to continue their dominance in the conference in the two away games this weekend. The Cardinal will first play on Friday at No. 18 Washington State, before continuing on to No. 20 Washington on Sunday.
Stanford (24-1, 16-0 Pac-12) enters the road trip on a 22-game win streak and have not dropped a match since their third of the season against No. 1 Brigham Young (25-0, 13-0 WCC). The Cardinal, however, lead the nation with the best home winning streak of 31.
In their previous game last Friday, Stanford took down Oregon State (11-17, 1-15) 3-0 despite playing without junior outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, who leads the team in kills with 4.85 per set.
The Cardinal are 61-4 all-time against Washington State (19-7, 10-6), and Stanford has won the past four meetings – including a sweep earlier this season on Oct. 12. The Cougar’s most recent win was in 2016 in a five-set nail-biter in Pullman. Washington State is currently tied with Oregon for third place in the Pac-12.
Stanford’s attack must prepare to take on the Cougar’s block; Washington St. averages 2.60 blocks per game and ranks second in the Pac-12. Key players for the Cougars include setter Ashley Brown, who fuels the offense with 10.56 assists per set.
Against Washington (17-9, 9-7), however, the Cardinal lead the all-time series 55-15. The teams previously met earlier this season on Oct. 13, and Stanford swept 3-0. However, Washington dealt Stanford their most recent Pac-12 defeat, when the Huskies defeated the Cardinal in four sets on Nov. 8, 2017, their only conference loss in the past two seasons. Washington is currently ranked fifth in the conference.
The Huskies have dominated the serving line, however, with 1.65 aces per set – the highest in the Pac-12. Washington also hits .229, and middle blocker Kara Bajema leads the team with 3.85 kills per set – which is fifth in the conference.
In addition to Plummer, Cardinal players to watch this weekend include junior outside hitter/opposite Audriana Fitzmorris and freshman middle blocker Holly Campbell. Fitzmorris averages 2.92 kills per set, second on the team after Plummer. Campbell holds her own on the offense with 2.29 blocks per set and with 1.57 kills per set. These stats did not go unnoticed, and she was selected as Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Monday for the second time this season.
First serve against Washington State in Pullman will be at 7 p.m. PST tonight, and the Washington game in Seattle starts at 1 p.m. PST on Sunday.
Contact Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu.