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No. 2 women’s volleyball bullies Buffaloes

Audriana Fitzmorris put together yet another star performance for the Cardinal, recording 10 kills and a career-best three aces. (HECTOR GARCIA-MOLINA/isiphtos.com)

With a quick victory over the Colorado Buffaloes (8-9, 0-7 Pac-12) on Friday, No. 2 women’s volleyball (12-3, 6-1 Pac-12) stretched their winning streak to five. The Cardinal secured the win in three sets (25-22, 25-12, 25-14), despite an error-riddled opening set.

Though still without senior outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, Stanford instead looked to aggressive hitting from others at the net. Freshman outside hitter Kendal Kipp boasted five kills after the first set, while junior outside hitter Meghan McClure added three of her own. Both Kipp and McClure continued to add to their offensive stats in the subsequent two sets, finishing the night with a total of nine and seven kills, respectively. 

“The whole team makes it very easy,” Kipp said. “With [senior libero] Morgan Hentz in the back row and [senior setter] Jenna [Gray] setting..it makes my job easy.” 

Making it look easy indeed, Kipp has tallied at least eight kills in each of the last five games, including an impressive 16 in an away match against Oregon on Oct. 4.

Also eager to contribute at the net were senior Audriana Fitzmorris and graduate-transfer middle blocker Madeleine Gates. Evidence of Fitzmorris being sidelined during Sunday’s match against the Arizona State Sun Devils was nowhere to be seen, as she paced the floor with ten kills and a career-best three service aces. On the defensive side, Gates had a hand in a team-high six blocks. 

“Everyone’s just really focusing on making sure they’re doing their role as best as they can,” Gates said. 

In the challenging role of setter, Gray collected 37 assists against the Buffaloes. Throughout the season, Gray has consistently posted impressive setting numbers with a season-high 60 assists in the Sep. 8 match against Texas. However, arguably the most memorable setting play of the night came from freshman setter Selina Xu, whose match-point dump off secured Stanford’s victory. 

Looking ahead, the Cardinal gears up to battle Utah at home on Sunday. At No. 18, the Utes are the highest-ranked opponent Stanford has faced since No. 8 Washington came to Maples on Sep. 29. 

“I think [Utah is] a really well-balanced, really well put together team,” head coach Kevin Hambly said. “I think we got our work cut out for us, actually.” 

The game  is set to begin at 2 p.m. PST on Sunday in Maples Pavilion. 

Contact Savanna Stewart at savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu 

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