No. 11 Stanford Drops Five-Set Thriller To No. 5 Florida

Sept. 4, 2009

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STOCKTON, Calif. -- The No. 11 Stanford women's volleyball team fell to No. 5 Florida in five sets, 20-25, 25-15, 25-16, 25-27, 9-15, in the first match of the 31st annual UOP Banker's Classic at the Alex G. Spanos Center in Stockton, Calif. The Cardinal drop to 2-2 on the season, while the Gators remain undefeated at 4-0.

Junior Cassidy Lichtman recorded a triple-double with 16 kills, 17 assists and 11 digs in the loss. Red-shirt freshman Jessica Walker turned in the best match of her young Cardinal career. The middle blocker set a new career high with eight kills (8-3-15). Junior All-American Alix Klineman added nine kills, six digs and four block assists, while junior libero Gabi Ailes totaled 20 digs. Stanford registered 13 blocks and hit .247 for the match.

The Cardinal began the match strong, opening with a 7-2 lead over the Gators. Walker had four kills during the stretch, matching her previous career-high. However, an 8-3 run by Florida would tie the match at 10 all. The first set would see the score tie seven times before Florida would use its size to take a 23-19 advantage on three key blocks. Klineman and Lichtman each recorded three kills and two assists in the first set for the Cardinal. Stanford hit .206 in the first, while Florida posted a .406 clip.

The second set started shaky for both squads as the teams traded points on several attack errors. Kills from Klineman and Walker pushed the Cardinal ahead at 10-8. Taking advantage of Florida miscues, Stanford opened its lead to 19-13 with kills from Klineman and red-shirt sophomore Stephanie Browne and an ace from senior Joanna Evans. Consecutive kills from freshman Hayley Spelman put the Cardinal up 21-14. An attack error by the Gators, kills from Lichtman and Walker and the first ace of Walker's career sealed the second set for Stanford.

Stanford joined in on the block party in the third set, as Walker and Lichtman stuffed Florida for a 2-1 lead. Spelman and senior Janet Okogbaa came together for a block of their own and a 5-2 advantage. After two kills from red-shirt sophomore Stephanie Browne, Stanford put together a run of four straight points for a 13-7 lead, forcing the Gators to call a timeout. Two straight blocks from Klineman and Okogbaa pushed the Stanford lead to 21-14 and put the third set out of reach for Florida. Overall, the Cardinal totaled seven blocks in set three.

The teams kept it close to start the fourth set, however, kills from Lichtman and Browne and another block from the combination of Okogbaa and Browne gave Stanford the 11-6 edge. Two kills and a block from Okogbaa increased the Cardinal lead to 19-13. The Gators would make it interesting, tying the score at 24 and eventually capturing the fourth set, 27-25.

The fifth and final set was a battle from the beginning. Lichtman had two kills and block, while Okogbaa added a kill to tie the score at 5-5. However, a 4-1 run by the Gators would lead to a Stanford timeout. The Cardinal would score the next two points, pulling within one of Florida. However, the Cardinal would be unable to

Up next, Stanford will face either Pacific or San Jose State in the consolation match of the UOP Banker's Classic Saturday at 5 p.m. PT.

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