Sept. 21, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY - The sixth-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team staved off a hungry Utah team (17-25, 25-22, 25-23, 27-25), Friday, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Cardinal improves to 10-2 overall and 2-0 in the conference, while the Utes fall to 9-6 on the season and 0-2 in the Pac-12.
Freshman middle blocker Inky Ajanaku recorded 11 kills on 19 swings with just one error to hit .526 in the match. She also registered a career high seven blocks. Freshman outside hitter Jordan Burgess led the team with 16 kills and 17 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Junior middle blocker Carly Wopat tallied 11 kills and four blocks, while freshman Brittany Howard and junior Rachel Williams finished with seven kills each.
Freshman setter Madi Bugg posted a career high 54 assists to go with 16 digs and four blocks for her sixth double-double of the year. Sophomore libero Kyle Gilbert finished with 12 digs and four assists. For the first time this season, Stanford won a match while being outhit by its opponent. Utah hit .196, while the Cardinal posted a .192 clip.
Playing in the Huntsman Center for the first time since 1993, the Utes came out fired up and won the first set 25-17. Stanford struggled to find an offensive rhythm, hitting just .025 in the set. Utah posted a .275 attack percentage and 6.5 blocks in the set. Wopat and Ajanaku led the Cardinal with three kills apiece. Burgess and Williams added two kills each for Stanford. Shelby Dalton and Morgan Odale each had five kills for the Utes.
Stanford rallied back to even the match at one set apiece with a 25-22 win in the second set. The Cardinal hit .275 as a team and held the Utes to a .179 clip in the set, which had 11 tie scores and five lead changes. Stanford also racked up 19 digs and three blocks on defense. Burgess came alive in the second, recording seven kills and six digs. Wopat and Bugg added three kills each for Stanford. Alli Spurrier paced the Utes with four kills.
The third set proved to be yet another battle, with Stanford edging Utah 25-23. There were eight tie scores and five lead changes in the third in which Stanford hit .256 as a team. The Utes were held to a .189 attack percentage as the Cardinal posted five blocks. Howard led the team with six kills and four digs, while Ajanaku registered four blocks in the set. Odale came up with six kills to lead Utah in the third.
The Cardinal claimed the victory with a hard-fought 27-25 win in the fourth set. In another back-and-forth set, Stanford hit .208 and held Utah to a .149 attack percentage in the fourth. After 11 tie scores and seven lead changes the Cardinal came out on top behind five kills apiece from Ajanaku and Burgess. Boukather and Wopat each added three kills for Stanford. Odale tallied four kills and four digs to lead the Utes.
Stanford remains on the road next week as it travels to the desert to face Arizona and Arizona State. The Cardinal meets the Wildcats on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. in Tucson, Ariz. Stanford will take on the Sun Devils in Tempe on the Pac-12 Networks on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.