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Beach volleyball goes 3-1 on weekend

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Stanford beach volleyball (17-8, 6-4 Pac-12) defeated Saint Mary’s (8-8, 5-1 WCC) and No. 11 Pepperdine (11-15, 0-0 WCC) but split games with No. 12 Cal (13-9, 5-4 Pac-12) this weekend on the Farm. The results keep the Cardinal in the conversation as one of the top eight teams to qualify for the national championships in three weeks.

Senior Amelia Smith and freshman Emmy Sharp went undefeated across their four matches, winning all their matches in straight sets as the team’s fourth flight. They were the only duo on the team to earn a point in the weekend’s final match, when the Golden Bears got revenge for Saturday’s 3-2 Cardinal victory. 

It took Cal’s revenge match to stop freshman Xolani Hodel and senior Sunny Villapando in the No. 2 spot, who otherwise found success on the weekend. The pair took a straight sets win over their Saint Mary’s opponents on Saturday and a three-set win over their Pepperdine opponents the next day. However, when the two faced off against the Golden Bears duo of Jordan Polo and Ainsley Radell for the second match on Sunday, they hit a wall and fell in straight sets. 

The junior duo of Maddie Dailey and Jordan Mckinney replicated the 3-1 record of Hodel and Villapando, but at the bottom of the lineup this weekend. They defeated Cal’s Brooke Buchner and Ava Mann on Saturday only to fall to the Bears duo on Sunday, but had no trouble taking care of their other opponents. 

At the top of the lineup, freshman Kate Reilly and junior Charlie Ekstrom struggled, only winning in the weekend’s opener against Saint Mary’s. The Cardinal’s least success went to whoever played in the No. 3 spot. For Saturday’s two matches, that would be freshman Maya Harvey and sophomore Maddi Kriz, who dropped both. Against Pepperdine on Sunday, the duo became Kriz and sophomore Kylee Matheson. Against Cal, the duo became Matheson and Harvey. No combination worked and the Cardinal dropped the third flight in all four matches.

The team now sets its sights on a cross-county match against Santa Clara (5-2, 3-2 WCC) on Thursday, before rounding out its weekend with three fresh opponents and another Big Beach Spike against the Golden Bears. All of the matches will take place on the Farm. 

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Michael Espinosa '22 is majoring in international relations. He's the head of The Daily's social media team, and editor for the University beat and also occasionally writes for sports, arts, and The Grind. He's the biggest Taylor Swift fan at Stanford and the proudest New Yorker you will ever meet. Contact him at mespinosa 'at' stanforddaily.com.