Cardinal Tops No. 19 Cal Poly To Conclude Preseason
Sept. 20, 2008
San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Behind an extraordinary effort by senior outside hitter Cynthia Barboza, the Stanford women's volleyball team concluded the preseason on the right note, besting No. 19 Cal Poly (5-6) on its home floor, 25-17, 23-25, 26-24, 25-10. Stanford (9-2) finished the Mission Inn at Pismo Beach Invitational with a sweep of the competition, and picked up its fifth straight win. The Cardinal begins the conference season on Friday night, meeting Oregon State at Maples Pavilion.
Barboza led all players with a season-high 20 kills, hit a season-best .474 and added 14 digs for her fourth double-double of the year. The senior also delivered three blocks and tacked on two service aces. Senior Foluke Akinradewo was also in double-figures with 10 kills on 16 swings (.625) and turned in a season-high seven blocks.
Cal Poly was led by Kylie Atherstone's 17 kills and .237 hitting percentage. The Cardinal outhit the Mustangs, .331 to .094, marking the fifth consecutive match that it has held an opponent under .200.
Cal Poly took a 2-0 lead in the opening set, and the set went into four ties before Stanford finally took a lead on a Mustang attacking error at 8-7. Cal Poly scored four straight points from there, scoring on a Stanford service error, two Cardinal hitting errors and an ace. Stanford bounced back, however, won the set a few points later when junior Joanna Evans served six straight points and the Mustangs made four hitting errors. After a Cardinal service error, sophomore Alix Klineman followed Evans' run by serving five straight points of her own. In the combined 11-1 run, Cal Poly made six hitting errors and Akinradewo pounded three kills, giving Stanford a comfortable 21-13 lead. The Cardinal took set point on a Cassidy Lichtman kill a few points later, and won on Cal Poly's 13th hitting error of the set, 25-17.
Stanford was on the right track in the second set, but a series of uncharacteristic reception problems wreaked havoc on the Cardinal momentum. Caitlin Smith served five consecutive aces, giving her team a 10-5 lead. Atherstone added to the momentum, downing two kills to help the Mustangs build the lead to as much as seven at 13-6. The Cardinal bounced back, however, scoring points in threes to pull back into the game. Stanford finally tied the set when Erin Waller pounded down an overpass at 20-20 and took its first lead at 22-21, when Barboza served her first of two aces. After the senior's second ace gave the team a 23-21 lead, Cal Poly took a timeout. Ali Waller came up with three kills out of the break, and sealed the win at 25-23. Stanford hit .300 in the set, but the five aces allowed the Mustangs and their .235 clip to prevail.
Stanford pulled out to a small lead in the third set , with two Lichtman kills pacing the initial Cardinal effort. After a pair of blocks by Akinradewo, Stanford had a 13-9 lead, but three consecutive Mustang points allowed the home team back within striking distance, 13-12. From that point, a virtual back-and-forth ensued, with Cal Poly taking its last lead at 21-20. A Barboza kill and a Mustang hitting error reversed the advantage, and after one chance at set point at 24-23, Klineman slammed back-to-back kills on the Cardinal's second shot to win, 26-24.
Stanford had had enough of close calls, and came out to hit .550 and dominate the fourth set. Two Stanford blocks and more Cal Poly hitting woes all the Cardinal to race out to a 9-3 lead, and, after three consecutive Barboza kills and a Barboza-Waller block, the Cardinal's lead was 13-4. Barboza never let down, ripping another pair of kills in the three-point surge that pushed Stanford to its first double-digit lead, 18-7. A Cal Poly service error a few points later began the 6-1 Stanford surge down the final stretch, and fittingly, Barboza ended things with a roll shot at 25-10. The Mustangs had just eight kills in the fourth set and hit -.030, while Barboza alone had six kills in the set and hit .857.
Stanford begins the Pac-10 season on Friday, taking on Oregon State in Maples Pavilion at 7 p.m. The Cardinal continues conference action on Saturday against No. 12 Oregon, also at 7 p.m.