Dec. 7, 2007
Stanford, Calif. -
The Stanford volleyball program secured its 14th 30-win season tonight and, with it, a place in tomorrow's NCAA Regional Championship Match. With the help of Pac-10 Player of the Year Foluke Akinradewo, the top-seeded Cardinal demolished the 16th-seeded Cal Poly Mustangs, 30-15, 30-24, 30-20, in front of a crowd of 3,178 at Maples Pavilion and improved to 30-2 on the year. Cal Poly ends its season with a 23-8 mark.
Akinradewo ripped 15 kills to lead three Cardinal players in double-figures and junior opposite hitter Erin Waller recorded one of her best nights of the season with 12 kills on 15 tries. Waller hit a career-high .733, and Akinradewo turned in a .682 clip to lead the team as a whole to a .448 hitting percentage, one of the top three marks of the season. Cynthia Barboza added 10 kills to the Stanford effort and freshman Alix Klineman recorded nine kills and a team-high 15 digs. Senior middle blocker Franci Girard added nine kills and three blocks, while senior setter Bryn Kehoe tallied 47 assists.
Stanford hit above .400 for the seventh time in 2007, and outhit its 31st opponent by holding Cal Poly to a .200 clip. Ali Waller led Cal Poly with 11 kills on the night.
Stanford controlled the pace early, as Akinradewo blasted two kills and Klineman added another to give the Cardinal a quick 4-0 lead. Kehoe put up a solo block to stretch the lead to 8-2, and Cal Poly never came closer than four after that. At 13-9, Klineman drilled her fourth kill of the game, then served seven straight points to put the margin into double-figures, 20-9. Akinradewo returned to the front row and kicked off another 5-0 Stanford run a point later, and Klineman capped it at 25-10 with another shot from the back row. The Mustangs finally managed to stop the Cardinal onslaught, but at 29-15 Waller put down a kill to give Stanford game point. Akinradewo then sent a ball straight to the floor to finish things, 30-15. Stanford hit .404 to Cal Poly's .125 in the opening game, and Klineman and Akinradewo led the team with six kills apiece.
Cal Poly took the first lead in game two, and went ahead by as much as three before Stanford rallied back. Girard contributed a kill and an ace in a string of three Stanford points, and Waller tied the game with a solo block at 9-9. A Mustang hitting error gave the Cardinal its first lead at 12-11, and Stanford never looked back. Girard and Waller caught fire, combining for four kills and a block in a 6-1 Cardinal surge that pushed the lead out to 20-15. Klineman stepped up and served another long series of points, and the freshman's second ace of the match put Stanford at a 28-18 advantage. Cal Poly fought the Cardinal off with a 6-1 run to close in to a respectable margin, but a hitting error following a Cardinal timeout finally ended the game, 30-24. Stanford outhit Cal Poly .312 to .154 in the second game, and was led by Akinradewo's four kills.
Cal Poly held a brief lead in game three, but Girard nailed three consecutive kills to put Stanford back in charge, 7-5. The Cardinal ran away from there, with Waller and Girard leading the assault. Girard added a kill and a block, and Waller recorded two more kills to lead an 11-2 Stanford run that put the squad ahead, 17-8. The lead became double-digits on an Akinradewo kill at 19-9, and back-to-back Waller kills a few points later helped push it to 24-13. Stanford cruised to the finish, and took game point on a Barboza kill at 29-19. Waller then ripped her 12th kill of the match to seal the Stanford win, 30-20. Stanford hit a whopping .622 in the third game, with 24 kills on 37 attempts.
The Cardinal will return to the court tomorrow night in the Regional Final, battling Pac-10 rival UCLA for a spot in next week's Final Four in Sacramento. The match is set for 8:30 pm at Maples Pavilion and will be televised live on ESPNU.