AUSTIN, Texas – The second-ranked Stanford women’s volleyball team dropped a 28-26, 25-17, 18-25, 25-22 decision to No. 8 Florida, Saturday, at Gregory Gymnasium in Austin, Texas. The Cardinal falls to 2-1 on the season, while the Gators move to 5-0.
Senior outside hitter Rachel Williams tallied a season-high 21 kills to go with 12 digs for her second straight double-double. Sophomore Brittany Howard added 12 kills and three blocks, while senior middle blocker Carly Wopat finished with 10 kills on a .450 attack percentage.
Sophomore setter Madi Bugg tied her career high with 54 assists and was one dig shy of a double-double. Junior libero Kyle Gilbert registered a match-high 16 digs. As a team, Stanford posted a .317 hitting percentage, but was unable to overcome 15 attack errors and 14 service errors. Florida finished with a .326 attack percentage.
Despite outhitting Florida, Stanford dropped the opening set 28-26. The Cardinal posted a .333 hitting percentage, but committed 14 errors in the first. Williams led all players with 11 kills on a .733 hitting percentage, tying her season high in kills in the set. Gilbert led the defense with seven digs. Ziva Recek led Florida with five kills and four digs.
Stanford put itself in a hole, losing the second set 25-17. The Cardinal went down 6-0 early in the set and was unable to recover. An ace by Gilbert pulled Stanford to within four at 14-10, but that was the closest it would get. As a team, Stanford committed seven attack errors to post a season-low .067 hitting percentage. Williams continued to lead the team with five kills in the second. Chloe Mann paced the Gators, who hit .308 in the set, with four kills.
The Cardinal turned it around in the third set, avoiding the sweep with a 25-18 win. Stanford hit .469 as a team, limiting itself to just one attack error in the set. Bugg controlled the offense, tallying 15 assists in the third. Sophomore middle blocker Inky Ajanaku came alive, recording five kills and two blocks, while Williams added three kills and seven digs for the Cardinal. Recek had four kills to lead the Gators.
There were 10 tie scores and four lead changes, but the fourth set ultimately went to the Gators, 25-22. Florida hit .429 in the set and recorded 18 kills. Howard led the Cardinal with four kills, while Ajanaku, Wopat and sophomore Jordan Burgess each tallied three. Recek again paced the Gators with seven kills and six digs.
The Cardinal wrap-up the weekend on Sunday, Sept. 8 as they take on defending national champion and eighth-ranked Texas in Austin at 1 p.m. PT. The Longhorns knocked off No. 1 Penn State in five sets on Saturday.