Keep `Em Comin': Stanford Rattles No. 9 BYU for Seventh Straight Win
Sept. 8, 2007
Stanford, Calif. - Add season-best performances by Stanford's three All-Americans to another stellar performance by freshman Alix Klineman, and the second-ranked Cardinal women's volleyball team came up with another winning combination. Stanford bounced back from a game one setback with its best blocking performance of the year, and downed the No. 9 BYU Cougars in the sixth and final game of the Stanford Invitational tonight, 28-30, 30-18, 30-22, 30-26 at Maples Pavilion. Stanford improves to 7-0 on the year, while BYU drops to 6-2.
Junior middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo once again came up big for the Cardinal when it counted, pounding a season-high 21 kills and adding a season-high eight blocks. Junior outside hitter Cynthia Barboza chipped in a season-high 22 kills, along with a season-high 16 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Senior setter Bryn Kehoe also had her best night of the year, with 61 assists and five blocks. Klineman added 14 kills to the Stanford effort. Kehoe, who also came up with 10 digs for her fifth double-double of the season, joined Barboza on the All-Tournament Team. Akinradewo was named the weekend's MVP with 47 kills, 19 blocks and a .547 hitting percentage over three matches.
The match started with a long rally, but Klineman got Stanford on the board first with a kill for the opening point. An even exchange followed, as BYU matched every Stanford point with a point of its own. Barboza ended the exchange with a decisive kill at 5-3, and started an 8-2 Cardinal rally that put Stanford at an 11-6 advantage. The Cardinal kept the lead until 14-8, but from there the Cougars caught fire. Led by five kills from Rachel Dyer, BYU rattled off seven straight points to take the lead, and after missing a serve, added six more to go up 21-15. Franci Girard finally put a halt to the Cougar onslaught and Stanford fought back. Barboza added her fifth kill of the game to spur a 6-1 Stanford run, and the team pulled within one when Akinradewo put down her third kill in four points at 23-22. The Cardinal stayed in the game, tying it at 27-27 on a Barboza kill, but BYU took three of the last four points to win, 30-28. Stanford was out-hit for just the second time of the season, and allowed an opponent to hit over .300 for the first time all year.
Stanford wasn't in the mood for an upset, however, and answered the setback with its best blocking performance of the year. The Cardinal recorded eight blocks, with four each by Girard and Erin Waller, in game two, gaining momentum it would never lose. The blocking effectively shutdown the BYU hitters, dropping their clip from .304 in game one to -.022 in game two. Akinradewo teamed up with Waller for the first one on the opening point, and the pair added a kill and an ace to give the Cardinal a quick 3-0 lead. The advantage became five after a pair of BYU errors at 8-3, and six when Klineman pounded down an overpass at 15-9. Girard then notched two kills and teamed up with Waller for two more blocks, all in a five-point span, to extend Stanford's lead to 21-12. The margin became double-digits on a block by Waller and Akinradewo at 24-14, and two straight blocks by Kehoe, one teamed up with Girard, put Stanford up 28-17. Klineman came through with a kill for game point, and a Cougar missed serve ended game two, 30-18.
Game three was a battle from the start, and BYU took away Stanford's initial lead with three straight points to go up 5-3. Stanford came back to tie at 9-9 on a Waller solo block and Barboza drilled her 16th kill of the match to give the Cardinal back the lead at 11-10. Barboza's kill turned into a 5-1 run, and by 14-11 Stanford was up three. Klineman then turned on the heat, delivering two kills and a solo block in a 5-2 Cardinal run, and an ace by fellow freshman Gabi Ailes pushed the Stanford lead to six at 21-15. Stanford capitalized on a series of BYU errors to run away with a 28-19 lead, and a Girard kill earned Stanford game point at 29-21. Klineman sliced a ball cross-court to give the Cardinal the 30-22 win. Stanford hit a whopping .457 in the game with 19 kills, including six from Klineman, and held BYU to a .263 clip.
In game four, Stanford was eager to finish things, but BYU was ready to put up a defensive battle. Akinradewo ripped two kills straight to the floor to start game four, but things stayed tight early on. The game locked in nine ties, before back-to-back Kehoe and Klineman kills propelled Stanford out of the deadlock. Klineman's kill gave Stanford a 12-10 lead and two Klineman kills later Stanford was on top 16-13. Akinradewo ripped back-to-back balls from the middle to extend the lead to six at 20-14. BYU roared back, however, using a 7-1 run to pull back within one at 24-23. Alex Fisher put a key kill off the Cougar block at 27-24, and Akinradewo added one a point later to make it 28-25. Barboza gave the Cardinal game point with a kill at 29-26, and, quite appropriately, it was the Cardinal's 15th and final block that gave them the game 30-26, and the match.
Stanford heads east next week, taking on the Cincinnati Bearcats on their home court before competing in the Yale Tournament with Yale, Delaware State and No. 3 Penn State. First serve with the Bearcats is set for Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Cincinnati.