Big Block Lifts Stanford Over Arizona State
Oct. 12, 2008
Stanford, Calif. - Senior Foluke Akinradewo paced a solid Stanford blocking effort, recording one of the highest single-match block totals in school history today at Maples Pavilion. Behind the senior's second career double-double, No.4 Stanford topped Arizona State, 25-18, 25-13, 25-16, and picked up its sixth consecutive sweep in conference play.
Stanford improves to 15-2 and 6-0 in the Pac-10 play, and will square off with the conference's other undefeated squad, No. 5 California, next Sunday. The Sun Devils drop to 10-8 overall and 1-4 in the Pac-10.
The sweep was the sixth consecutive in Pac-10 play for Stanford, marking first time in the program's 32-year history that the squad has opened the conference season with six consecutive sweeps. It is the first time since 1999 that the team has swept six conference opponents in a row. The Cardinal has now won 11 straight matches, and win 33 of 34 sets since beig upset by Saint Louis on Sept. 6.
Akinradewo entered the match needing just four blocks to become one of the top five blockers all-time on The Farm. The senior had her fourth before the first set was even complete, and went on to have one of the best blocking night's in school history. Her 12 blocks matched the ninth-best performance by a Stanford player, and were the most since she recorded 12 as a freshman in 2005 at UCLA. With 12 kills as well, Akinradewo picked up her second career double-double (other was at UCLA in '05) and matched her career high. She now joins the company of Kim Oden '86, Bev Oden '93, Laura Olesen '90 and Kerri Walsh '00 as the five best blockers ever to don a Cardinal uniform.
Sophomore outside hitter Alix Klineman also had a solid night, putting down 12 kills while hitting .357. Sophomore libero Gabi Ailes picked up 13 digs, and junior setter Joanna Evans led the team with 20 assists. Behind Akinradewo's 12 stuffs, and a career-high four by Cassidy Lichtman, Stanford notched its best blocking performance of the year with 15 blocks in three sets.
Arizona State was led by Margie Giordano's 11 kills. The Cardinal outhit the Sun Devils .323 to .009, marking the tenth consecutive match that Stanford has hit over .300 and the 10th time in the last 11 matches that an opponent has been held below .200.
Arizona State took 3-1 lead to start the first set, and Stanford hitting woes made it difficult for the team overtake the opponent right away. By 10-7 Stanford was down three, and only had two kills in the books, both from Klineman. Two Sun Devil hitting errors gave Stanford some momentum, however, and Akinradewo and Klineman stretched Stanford's run to four points with back-to-back kills that put Stanford in front, 11-10. The match went into seven ties from there, with the last coming at 17-17. Stanford had had enough at that point, and buried the Sun Devils with an 8-1 surge to the finish. The team took used consecutive Akinradewo blocks to take set point at 24-18, and end the set on the next point with a Klineman kill. Stanford was led by Klineman's five set-one kills and hit .273, while holding Arizona State to a negative percentage.
Stanford never allowed the Sun Devils to come close in the second set, using three Akinradewo blocks to win six of the first seven points. Junior Janet Okogbaa pounded two kills to help the Cardinal make another six-point push later in the set, finishing the run with a 17-9 lead. The Sun Devils briefly slowed the momentum, but Stanford had another six-point package in store. After two ASU hitting errors, Akinradewo blocked three balls in a row, two with the help of redshirt freshman Stephanie Browne. The senior's last stuff gave Stanford set point, and Klineman finished the job with her seventh kill of the match, 25-13. Akinradewo had six blocks in the second set alone, and the Cardinal won the hitting battle, .286 to -.100.
Stanford quickly established a lead in the third set, using two kills apiece by Klineman and Okogbaa to race ahead 7-3. Akinradewo teamed with Lichtman for her 11th block at 11-6, and the senior pounded a kill to push the lead to six a point later. Stanford maintained the cushion, and, when Akinradewo cam back in the front row, she pounded three kills in four plays to turn the last set into a rout at 21-13. The Cardinal strung together three more points to take set point at 24-16, and Klineman turned in her 12th kill of the afternoon to finish the sweep with a 25-16 third-set win.
Stanford remains at home next week, battling cross-bay rival California on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. in Maples Pavilion. The match, which features the only two remaining undefeated teams in the Pac-10, will be televised live by Fox Sports Bay Area.