Two Down! Cardinal Sweeps Long Beach State Punch Ticket To Round Of 16
Dec. 6, 2008
Stanford, Calif. - One of five seeded teams to face a ranked team in the second round, the No. 2 Stanford women's volleyball team made easy work of No. 24 Long Beach State tonight, defeating the 49ers in three sets at Maples Pavilion. The 25-15, 25-21, 25-15 victory marked Stanford's 21st sweep of the year and propelled the Cardinal into next week's round of 16.
Three players picked up double-doubles for the Cardinal, including senior Cynthia Barboza, who earned her team-leading 14th of the year. The outside hitter, who is a native of Long Beach, did the most damage to her hometown school with 15 kills and 10 digs while hitting a team-high .467. Barboza also recorded an ace in the first set that moved her in into a tie for ninth place on the Stanford career chart.
Sophomore outside hitter Alix Klineman (12 kills, 13 digs) and sophomore setter Cassidy Lichtman (41 assists, 16 digs) both turned in their 10th double-doubles. Lichtman's 16 digs led the team and were a career high, while her 41 assists were a career best for a three-set match.
Senior middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo rounded out the players in double figures, adding 10 kills to the Cardinal effort on 16 swings (.438). Sophomore libero Gabi Ailes reached double-figure digs for the 12th time in the last 13 matches, turning in 13 digs and two service aces.
Long Beach State was led by freshman outside hitter Caitlin Ledoux and senior outside hitter Quincy Verdin, who both contributed eight kills to the 49er effort. Senior libero Iris Murray led the team with 14 digs.
Stanford outhit Long Beach State .319 to .115. The Cardinal's sweep was its 21st of the year, matching its total from 2007. The win sent Stanford to the round of 16 for the third straight year and the seventh time in John Dunning's eight-year tenure. The program earned its 89th NCAA Tournament victory, tops in the nation.
Stanford wasted no time racing ahead in the opening set, beginning the match with an 8-2 run. Barboza and Akinradewo each had two kills to lead the opening spurt, and the Cardinal never looked back. Janet Okogbaa put up two blocks in a row to help Stanford take three in a row and go up 11-3, and Alix Klineman added a kill and a block back-to-back to make it 13-4. The Cardinal took its first double-digit lead on a 49er hitting error at 16-6. The Cardinal steadily made its way to the finish, and took set point on a Long Beach State service error at 24-14. Akinradewo sealed the win a point later with her fourth kill, 25-15. The Cardinal outhit the 49ers, .452 to .132 in the first set, and was led by Barboza's six kills.
Stanford pushed ahead quickly in the second set as well, using two kills and an ace by Barboza to nab a 6-2 lead. The 49ers hung tough, however, coming within two on six occasions before finally catching up. At 14-13, a Cardinal ball-handling error trimmed the lead to just one, and three 49er kills in a row soon after gave the visitors their first lead of the match, 16-15. Stanford took a timeout, gathered itself and responded with a 4-0 run to tak a 19-16 lead. Shortly after, Akinradewo put up two critical blocks in a row and put Stanford in position to win, 23-18. Erin Waller drove a ball down the line for set point at 24-21, and Barboza picked up the winner, 25-21. Stanford outhit LBSU posted its best hitting clip of the match (.163) but fell short to Stanford's .268 mark.
The third set played out similar to the first, with Stanford racing ahead out of the gates and never allowing the 49ers to get in the game. A Long Beach State hitting error at 2-2 started an 8-2 Cardinal run that was wrapped up by an Akinradewo kill at 9-3. Soon after, Klineman helped Stanford come up with another 8-2 run, pounding two kills in a rally that extended the lead to 17-6. From there, Long Beach State stopped the onslaught, but could do little to catch up. The 49ers best effort came at 20-13, when their third block of the night trimmed the lead to seven. Stanford rallied from there, however, and Klineman picked up a kill and a block to carry the Cardinal to set point, 24-14. After one LBSU point, Okogbaa tipped the winner onto the 49er side, sealing Stanford's third straight trip to the round of 16, 25-15. The Cardinal hit .268 in the final set to Long Beach's .045 clip. Klineman had five of her kills in the final set.
Stanford takes the court again on Friday in Fort Collins, Colo. at a time to be determined. The Cardinal will play 15th-seeded Florida as part of the Fort Collins Regional hosted by Colorado State. The winner will take on either Purdue or Hawai'i for a trip to the 2008 Final Four.