“It’s not a beauty contest,” said Stanford head coach David Shaw, “it’s a football game and thankfully, we were able to win it.”
Stanford women’s volleyball has had an absolutely incredible season in 2018. They went undefeated in the Pac-12, swept their way through their regional bracket, and claimed the number one seed in the NCAA tournament. But there was a constant blemish on their otherwise perfect season—their one loss on the year, a five set defeat to Brigham Young University. The Cardinal ended the regular season 28-1, nearly undefeated.
In a spectacular weekend which saw more than 5500 people gather at Maples Pavilion for the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Regional Finals, the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal (32-1, 20-0 Pac-12) bested their bracket, defeating both No. 19 Washington State (23-10; 12-8 Pac-12) and No. 8 Penn State (26-8, 14-6 Big Ten) by 3-1 scores, gaining a place in the Final Four to be played December 13th and 15th in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
With offensive explosions in the first and fourth quarters bookending a stagnation of scoring in the second and third, Stanford football (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12) hoisted the Axe and claimed its ninth straight Big Game victory over the California Golden Bears (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) this past Saturday by a score of 23-13. Coming off of a two-game win streak and sporting a Pac-12 leading defense, Cal may have had its best chance in years to surprise the Cardinal and snap a nearly decade-long streak of Big Game dominance, but came up short in a defensive standoff.
On Saturday afternoon, No. 1 Stanford men’s water polo (21-3, 2-1 MPSF) romped to a 16-7 destruction of No. 7 UC San Diego (20-6, 6-1 WWPA) in the NCAA semifinals to advance to the championship game. Yet the next day at Avery Aquatics Center, the Cardinal fell to No. 2 USC (30-3, 2-1 MPSF) 12-14, continuing a sixteen year championship drought for the Stanford program.
The football gods must always take more than they give. After Stanford earned the right to keep the Axe for another year, it was only fair that nearly every former Cardinal in the NFL would lose. Despite the list of L’s, the following alumni were still able to make an impact for their team.
Stanford women’s volleyball (30-1, 20-0 Pac-12) continued their unstoppable march to Minneapolis and the NCAA Final Four this weekend, smashing their first and second round opponents without dropping a single set. The No. 1 seeded Cardinal rolled past the lowest seeded team in the tournament, the Alabama State Hornets (23-18), on Friday night, before taking down the Loyola Marymount Lions (21-10) on Saturday.
When the sun sets on 2018, Stanford football (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12) will look for its first win over Pitt (7-6, 6-2 ACC) in 90 years. For the second time in three years, the Cardinal will fly to El Paso, Texas for the Hyundai Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve.