The No. 3 Cardinal had their best offensive performance of the season, sweeping away the No. 11 Nittany Lions in under 90 minutes. After overcoming a six-point deficit in the first set, Stanford never looked back. The Cardinal would finish with a 75% side-out rate, and Penn State’s only other lead would come at 0-1 to start the second set.
In a bona-fide Pac-12 slugfest, No. 3 Stanford outlasted Utah in five sets on Friday night. The Utes did their best to harness some Friday-the-13th spookiness, but each Cardinal player on the floor did her job and held fast. For its efforts, Stanford has won an Elite Eight date with Penn State in Maples — the exact scenario the title-winning team was put in last year.
Stanford had one of its best offensive outings of the season, sweeping the Mustangs in three sets to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth consecutive year. Five of six Cardinal attackers hit .300 or better, and the passers did not concede an ace.
Senior outside Kathryn Plummer had more than double anyone else’s kills. The Cardinal serve was aggressive and highly effective. The defense held Denver to its second-worst offensive outing of the season. It was a textbook Stanford win, and it came in the opening round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. In just over an hour, the defending champion Cardinal sent the Pioneers packing with a three-set sweep.
For the 39th consecutive year, the women’s volleyball team will be competing in the NCAA tournament. Selected as the third-overall seed, the Cardinal will have four rounds of home-court advantage. The first round of the tournament will commence on Friday, with Denver visiting the Farm.
For the first time in seven years, the women’s basketball team has opened its season with eight-straight wins. The third-ranked Cardinal entered Thanksgiving break with four W’s to their name, and they now emerge with four more in a seven-day span. The week started with a tough win over Buffalo, and then Stanford traveled to Victoria, Canada for its first taste of tourney play.
Make it three years and three conference titles for women’s volleyball. Since head coach Kevin Hambly took the reigns in 2017, the Cardinal have stayed on top of the Pac-12, going 56-3 in that span. After earning at least a share of the championship earlier this weekend, No. 3 Stanford claimed the title outright with a three-set sweep of No. 25 Washington State.
Last season, Buffalo forced Stanford to play tough for all 48 minutes, with the Cardinal escaping New York victorious 62-55 behind 30 points from Alanna Smith ’19. This year, third-ranked Stanford showed it had learned from the previous outing, as the team lead the Bulls wire-to-wire in the 88-69 victory.
Sunday afternoon saw fourth-ranked Stanford (20-4, 14-2 Pac-12) exact their revenge in terrifying fashion, dominating the Bruins in all aspects of the game. In front of the Maples faithful, the Cardinal out-hit, out-blocked, out-dug and out-served UCLA (14-11, 9-7 Pac-12) for three full sets.
Senior setter Jenna Gray moved into second place in program history for career assists as the fourth-ranked Cardinal trounced USC in four sets. The 25-12, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20 match was the result of extremely tough defensive play which held the Women of Troy to their second-worst offensive match of the season (.142 hitting percentage).
The Los Angeles schools are coming to town, and this time much more is riding on the matches than just petty in-state rivalries. Three weeks ago, UCLA swept Stanford for the first time since 2015, before any current member of the team was even on the Farm. Two days later, USC nearly made it six-straight losing sets before the Cardinal rallied and pulled off the reverse sweep. With senior outside hitter Kathryn Plummer back on the court for Stanford, the matches this weekend will be a clash of offensive titans.
An intense debate has broken out in the Maples locker room of the women’s volleyball team as to whether the numbered dial on the toaster corresponds to the toasting time (in minutes) or some enigmatic level of toastiness. The bagels spring back up, and the distraction means an official verdict is never reached. Each player finds a spot on a couch or the floor and the conversations turn from toasters to Oregon.
Senior setter Jenna Gray broke 5,000 career assists on Saturday evening when No. 5 Stanford (18-4, 12-2 Pac-12) downed Arizona (12-14, 2-12 Pac-12) 25-16, 25-17, 25-16. Gray is the active career assists leader (5,008) in Division I, and she is just seven away from holding the No. 2 spot in the school’s record books (Madi Bugg, 2012-15; 5,014 assists).
Outside of the win itself, the best news for the Cardinal was the fact that senior outside hitter Kathryn Plummer made a cameo, ending a 10-match absence due to an undisclosed injury.
The Cardinal defense came to play, as No. 5 women’s volleyball (16-4, 10-2 Pac-12) swept Oregon (7-14, 3-9 Pac-12) to the tune of 25-18, 25-12, 28-26 at Maples Pavillion on Sunday afternoon. The Ducks were held to a season-low .102 hitting while Stanford posted 13 total blocks.
Maples Pavilion roared as loud as it ever has when Nneka Ogwumike ’12 checked out of her one-game homecoming with 1:12 remaining on the clock. Instead of heading to her Team USA sideline, the Cardinal legend took the path down memory lane, hugging Stanford head coach Tara Vanderveer and her staff before high-fiving everyone else on the bench.
Fifth-ranked women’s volleyball (15-4, 9-2 Pac-12) punctuated their sweep of Oregon State (9-13, 3-8 Pac-12) with a 25-9 third-set victory on Friday night. The Cardinal entered the match with their two top left pins — senior Kathryn Plummer and freshman Kendall Kipp — sidelined, but freshman outside hitter Natalie Berty rocked the Beavers with eight kills on ten errorless swings in her first-ever court appearance.
No. 5 women’s volleyball (14-4, 8-2 Pac-12) will host their first rematches of the year when Oregon State (9-12, 3-7 Pac-12) and Oregon (6-13, 2-8 Pac-12) visit the Farm on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Cardinal made the trip to the Beaver State four weekends ago, playing their first matches without senior outside hitter Kathryn Plummer. The Ducks fell in four sets, while the Beavers were swept.
No. 2 women’s soccer (14-1-0, 7-0-0 Pac-12) overwhelmed Colorado (10-5-1, 2-4-1 Pac-12) with three second-half goals in a 4-0 victory in Boulder, CO. Four different Cardinal players found the back of the net, but it was junior forward Catarina Macario’s first-half penalty score that will go down in the history books.
Second-ranked women’s volleyball (13-3, 7-1 Pac-12) is heading to Los Angeles to face UCLA (10-7, 5-3 Pac-12) on Friday and USC (11-7, 5-3 Pac-12) on Sunday. While the matches already have the in-state rivalry factor, this weekend will be especially charged as graduate middle Madeleine Gates will face her old team for the first time.
No. 2 women’s soccer (13-1, 6-0 Pac-12) will head to the Rockies to do battle with Colorado (10-4-1, 2-3-1 Pac-12) on Thursday and Utah (6-5-4, 1-2-3 Pac-12) on Sunday. Stanford sits atop the conference rankings as the only undefeated team left in the Pac-12.
Top-ranked women’s swimming and diving (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) will open up its conference slate by hosting its annual fall meet with Washington State (1-1, 0-0 Pac-12). The Cardinal enter the meet having won their last 30 dual meets, including 20 straight at home in Avery.
Down 14-12 in the fifth set and on the brink of surrendering its third loss in Maples, No. 2 Stanford (13-3, 7-1 Pac-12) rallied with a 5-1 run to secure a nail-biter of a match against No. 18 Utah (13-6, 5-3 Pac-12). The band aptly played Gustav Holst’s “Mars, the Bringer of War” as the Cardinal mounted their decisive comeback, but instead of the Roman god of war, it was senior opposite Audriana Fitzmorris who became Stanford’s agent of destruction.