DAYTON, Ohio - The third-seeded Stanford women's volleyball team defeated Ohio State, 25-21, 24-26, 25-19, 25-18, Friday at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, to advance to its third Regional Final in four years. The Cardinal improves to 27-3 on the season, while the Buckeyes end their year with a 24-12 overall record.
Once again, senior Alix Klineman led all players with 29 kills, seven digs and a career-high tying three aces. Senior setter/hitter Cassidy Lichtman registered her team-best 17th double-double of the season with 10 kills and 27 assists, while also adding seven digs and a block. Sophomore middle blocker Jessica Walker finished with a career high 11 kills on 18 attempts with just two errors for a .500 attack percentage.
As a team, Stanford put down a season-best nine service aces to just one by OSU. Defensively, senior libero Gabi Ailes and sophomore defensive specialist Hannah Benjamin each recorded 11 digs for the Cardinal. Sophomore setter Karissa Cook added 10 digs to go along with 26 assists for her eighth double-double of the season.
The Cardinal pulled out a 25-21 win in the first set, which saw 10 tie scores and six lead changes. Despite being out hit in the opening set, .458 to .379, Stanford took advantage of three reception and two ball handling errors by OSU. Klineman led the way with eight kills and a .636 attack percentage, while also adding two digs and two aces. Lichtman added three kills and eight assists as Stanford won the opening set for the 26th time this season. Senior outside hitter Katie Dull paced the Buckeyes with five kills and two digs.
The second set was even closer, but this time OSU came out on top, 26-24. The Cardinal hit just .214 in the set as it committed nine attack errors. The Stanford defense picked up as it tallied 17 digs in the second, including four apiece by Ailes and Cook. Klineman once again led the team with five kills in the set, while Walker and Hayley Spelman each put down four for Stanford. Dull recorded five kills and five digs for the Buckeyes.
Stanford used the break to regroup as it came back to win the third set, 25-19. With a 17-16 advantage, the Cardinal reeled off four straight points, including two kills by Klineman, to pull away from the Buckeyes. Klineman finished with nine kills in the set to bring her match total to 22. Lichtman registered three kills, seven assists and four digs, while Walker added three kills. Stanford out hit OSU .342 to .289 in the set.
The Cardinal finished things off with a 25-18 win in the fourth set. With the only tie score in the set coming at 1-1, Stanford used a 6-2 run to take the lead and it never looked back. The Cardinal hit .351 in the set, while holding the Buckeyes to a match-low .219 clip. Klineman drilled seven kills in the set, while freshman Rachel Williams recorded four. Ailes, Benjamin and Cook all picked up three digs while leading the defense.
Up next, Stanford takes on Pac-10 foe and sixth-seeded USC, Saturday, at 4 p.m. ET. With a trip to the Final Four on the line, the team's will face off on ESPNU.