No. 2 women’s volleyball (9-3, 3-1 Pac-12) looks to extend its winning streak on Friday night as the Cardinal face off against conference opponent Arizona (11-5, 1-3 Pac-12) at home. Stanford enters the game on a two-game winning streak after a road trip to Oregon, but the Cardinal have lost their previous two home games.
Prior to Stanford taking the court, Maples is set to host another volleyball game: No. 16 California versus Arizona State at 5 p.m. PT. The game was relocated from Berkeley to Stanford.
Last weekend’s trip to Oregon was key in shifting Stanford’s momentum in a positive direction. Despite missing two-time AVCA National Player of the Year senior outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, Stanford came away with two convincing wins. The Cardinal beat then-No. 25 Oregon in four sets and took down Oregon State in just three.
“It was nice to see the team perform,” said head coach Kevin Hambly. “We had great balance, players stepped up, and we had a lot of kills from more players than we’ve had. So, we’re hoping just to build on that, then carry energy over and see if we can continue that balance and continue to grow as a team.”
Now with three conference wins under their belt, the Cardinal are looking forward to defending their No. 2 ranking.
Although it will be an uphill battle, the Wildcats have the potential to upset as they come into town with some incredibly efficient weaponry. Junior outside hitter Paige Whipple, who leads her team in kills and holds the team’s single match kill high (19), is one such player looking to cause trouble for senior libero Morgan Hentz and the Stanford defense.
In addition, the Arizona team boasts senior middle blocker Devyn Cross. Although undersized at six-feet, her hitting percentage (0.519) is the highest in the county. In fact, she is the only NCAA player hitting over .500.
“Devyn is an incredible athlete,” Hambly said. “She does an incredible job in the middle for them. It’s not surprising that she’s leading the country in hitting efficiency. She’s pretty special.”
This is not to say that Stanford does not have a gameplan. After all, this won’t be the first time that Hambly has coached the Cardinal against Arizona; in fact, it will be his fourth. Stanford defeated the Wildcats in all three of the previous meetings with Hambly at the helm.
“We’ll serve aggressive and try to get them out of their system,” Hambly said. “If we can serve aggressive and keep balls off the net, then all of a sudden, they become pretty one-dimensional — as all teams do across the country.”
In the Cardinal’s previous matchup against Arizona, Stanford finished with 54 kills as a team on 0.246 hitting and racked up a total of 50 assists in a four-set victory. One notable difference in this year’s match up, however, is that Plummer’s status is unknown. Stanford has relied heavily on her reliable all-around play, but freshman outside hitter Kendall Kipp has stepped up into her big shoes for the last two games.
First serve for the Cardinal will be at home at 8 p.m. PT.
Proceeding the Stanford game, California will play in Maples. Due to regional power shutoffs in the Bay Area to limit fire danger, Cal’s home court is currently without power, so their home game was forced to relocate across the Bay.
Power initially went off on Wednesday night across the Golden Bears’s campus, and it is unclear when it will be restored. PG&E first announced the intended outages in various parts of Northern California in a press release on Monday. The announcement came after the National Weather Service issued a Fire Weather Watch from Wednesday morning through Thursday afternoon.
California also has a Sunday home game formerly scheduled for Haas Pavilion, which may also be relocated. A formal decision will be made on Friday regarding Sunday’s game location, but it may be held in Maples if needed.
The Golden Bears’s game will begin at 5 p.m. PT in Maples Pavilion and will end prior to the Cardinal matchup.
Contact Logan Hatch at jhatch25 ‘at’ stanford.edu and Cybele Zhang at cybelez ‘at’ stanford.edu