SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – It was a sweet homecoming for senior Carly Wopat as the third-ranked Stanford women’s volleyball team swept UC Santa Barbara, 25-17, 25-23, 25-19, Friday, at the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif. It was the 2013 season opener for both teams.
Wopat, a Santa Barbara, Calif., native, paced the Cardinal on both sides of the ball, tallying 13 kills on a .545 attack percentage to go with eight blocks and two digs. Sophomore outside hitter Brittany Howard added 12 kills, hitting .409 in the match, while sophomore middle blocker Inky Ajanaku finished with seven kills and five blocks.
“It was really exciting for me to play at UCSB,” said Wopat after the match. “It is always really nice to come home. I grew up watching sporting events in the Thunderdome. The last time I played in this gym was during high school and we lost in the CIF Championship match my junior. So getting the win today was really nice and it was fun to have a lot of family and friends in the stands.”
Sophomore setter Madi Bugg controlled the offense, notching 40 assists to go with five digs and two kills. Junior libero Kyle Gilbert registered 17 digs to lead the defense. As a team, the Cardinal hit .305 and limited the Gauchos to a .088 attack percentage. Stanford also notched 13 blocks in the match, compared to just four by UCSB.
The Cardinal started out slowly in the opening set, trailing by as many four points early on, but settled in and won 25-17. Stanford hit .333 as a team, while holding UCSB to a .028 clip. An 8-0 run in the middle of the set, sparked by back-to-back blocks from Wopat and sophomore Jordan Burgess, gave the Cardinal the momentum it needed. Ajanaku paced the team with four kills and a solo block in the set. Wopat and Howard finished with three kills apiece, while Gilbert tallied five digs. Ali Spindt led the Gauchos with four kills.
Stanford took a 2-0 lead in the match, holding off UCSB 25-23 in the second set. Bugg continued to spread around the offense as she racked up 15 assists in the set. Burgess and Wopat put down four kills apiece to lead the team. Gilbert continued to have a strong defensive presence on the court, collecting seven digs. For the Gauchos, Spindt and freshman Phoebe Grunt each had three kills for UCSB.
The Cardinal completed the sweep with a 25-19 win in the third set. UCSB kept it close early on as there were 12 tie scores and four lead changes in the set. Trailing 18-16, Stanford reeled off six straight points to seal the win. As a team, the Cardinal posted a .297 hitting percentage in the third, while the Gauchos were limited to a .083 attack percentage. Wopat notched six kills and three blocks, including two solo, in the set. Howard added six kills, while Gilbert added five digs. Spindt finished with 11 kills to lead UCSB.
Stanford returns to The Farm for its home opener on Wednesday, Sept. 4 against Pacific. The match will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks at 7 p.m. PT from Maples Pavilion.