No. 20 Stanford women’s volleyball (3-1, 0-0 Pac-12) travelled to Austin this weekend to take on No. 1 Texas (4-0, 0-0 Big 12). Despite a solid team effort, the Cardinal were unable to keep up with the Longhorns’ high-flying offense and lost in straight sets.
Earlier this week, the Cardinal made a statement when they defeated No. 5 Florida 3-1. The team’s momentum seemed to transfer to the Texas game as Stanford raced out to an early lead in the first set.
Junior opposite Kendall Kipp connected on a pass from freshman setter Kami Miner to put Stanford up 10-7. Later, the Cardinal lead stretched to 15-10 as Miner executed a setter dump to perfection.
Stanford hung onto the lead late in the first set, until an attack error by Kipp equalized the score at 21. From that point forward, it was all Longhorns — Stanford’s only other point in the set came on a service error, and Texas rolled to a 25-22 victory.
The second set was less of a contest than the first. Stanford hit just .161, while Texas registered a .370 hitting percentage. In the end, the Longhorns won the second set 25-16 behind the stellar performance of junior outside hitter Logan Eggleston.
The two teams battled back and forth in the third set, before Texas went on a run from 11-4 to a 19-14.
Already down two sets and behind in the third, the Cardinal were on their last legs. Even so, the team showed resilience. Kipp and junior outside hitter Natalie Berty, in particular, made a final offensive push. Kipp and Berty registered four and three kills, respectively, in the third set, as the Cardinal inched closer to the Longhorns.
Kipp’s final kill of the set evened the score at 22. Unfortunately, Texas was able to close out the set and the match just four points later.
Throughout the match, the Cardinal’s offense could not keep pace with the Longhorns. For the day, Stanford hit .255, compared to Texas’s .299. Texas also won the service game, scoring six more aces than Stanford.
Kipp led the Cardinal with 12 kills for the match, while Berty and redshirt sophomore outside hitter Caitie Baird each had nine. Miner continued to prove herself as the starting setter, notching 30 assists and four kills.
Despite Sunday’s loss, this week was a strong showing for the Cardinal. After last season’s 2-8 record, it was unknown how Stanford would stack up against top competition this season. With this week’s win against No. 5 Florida and close sets against No. 1 Texas, it appears that Stanford can again compete with the best in the country.
Next, Stanford women’s volleyball travels to Eugene for the Big 10/Pac-12 Challenge. On Friday, Stanford will take on No. 10 Minnesota (1-3, 0-0 Big 10). First serve is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT.