Pac-10 Champs! Stanford Takes Third Straight Title Outright
Nov. 26, 2008
Eugene, Ore. - Stepping onto McArthur Court one win away from taking the Pac-10 title outright, the Stanford women's volleyball team calmly closed the deal tonight in front of a roaring crowd at No. 8 Oregon. The Cardinal bested the Ducks in four sets, 25-20, 19-25, 25-22, 25-23, and secured sole possession of its third straight conference championship.
Senior outside hitter Cynthia Barboza led the way for the Cardinal, slamming a season-high 21 kills at a .409 hitting clip. Along the way, she passed three-time Olympian and two-time beach gold medalist Kerri Walsh for ninth place on the school's career kill chart. The Long Beach, Calif. native now has 1,560 kills in her four-year career.
Stanford's three sophomores each had notable nights as well. Setter Cassidy Lichtman dished out 59 assists and picked up 13 digs for her ninth double-double of the season. Classmate Alix Klineman also had a double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs, while libero Gabi Ailes added a team-high 19 digs to climb onto the school's single-season top-10 chart for the second straight year (393).
Senior Foluke Akinradewo led the squad with eight blocks, helping the team turn in its highest block total of the season (16). The middle blocker also contributed 14 kills to the Cardinal effort.
Opposite Erin Waller added 12 kills, the most since she pounded 19 in last year's regional title match. The senior also led the team with a .526 hitting percentage (12-2-19).
Stanford outhit Oregon .347 to .270, marking the 20th time this season that Stanford has come in over .300. The Ducks were led by junior Sonja Newcombe's 18 kills.
Stanford took off on an 8-2 run early in the first set, and nabbed a four-point lead on a solo block by sophomore Alix Klineman at 11-7. The Ducks steadily fought their way back however, and were finally able to tie at 13 on Gorana Maricic's third kill of the night. A Duck hitting error sent the set to the media timeout with the Cardinal up 15-14. After another tie at 17, the Cardinal finally broke away for good. Klineman ripped a kill to start a 6-1 Stanford run, and put up a block with Foluke Akinradewo to end it at 23-18. The Cardinal took set point on another Akinradewo block at 24-19, and setter Cassidy Lichtman dumped the ball into the middle for the win, 25-20. Led by a combined 10 kills from Barboza and Klineman, Stanford outhit Oregon .324 to .143 in the opening set.
Barboza picked up two kills and blocked a Duck attack with Janet Okogbaa, helping Stanford take three straight points and jump out to a quick 7-5 lead. Stanford held the lead until 11-9, but led by Neticia Enesi, the Ducks put together a brutal 7-1 run that put them in front, 16-12. Cardinal hitting errors gave the home team another energizing three-point run soon after, and Stanford found itself down 20-14. The Cardinal made an effort to come back, but could come no closer than four thereafter. The Ducks took set point on a Maricic kill at 24-19 and won on their fifth block of the match, 25-19. Stanford was outhit .282 to .105 in the second set and was led by four kills apiece by Erin Waller and Barboza. Maricic had seven in the set for the Ducks.
Stanford overcame a brief deficit and took its first lead on a Barboza kill at 5-4 in the third set. The Cardinal built its lead to two on another Barboza kill at 8-6, then three on an Akinradewo stuff at 12-9. Oregon strung together three in a row to tie at 12, but back-to-back Klineman blocks gave Stanford its lead back for good. A Duck hitting error pushed the lead to three soon after, and Barboza and Akinradewo put down consecutive kills to later give Stanford its largest lead at 21-17. The Ducks made a valiant effort to fight the Cardinal off, but Stanford finally took set point on a deep Klineman kill at 24-21. After one Oregon point, Lichtman found Okogbaa in the middle for the winner, 25-22. Stanford hit .469 to Oregon's .200 in the third set.
The teams perfectly exchanged the first 20 points of the fourth set, but Stanford was eventually the first to score on serve when Barboza picked up a kill off the Duck block at 11-10. Waller put Stanford another point ahead with a kill at 15-13, but the Ducks scored two straight to knot the set again at 15. Akinradewo ripped a kill, then put up a block with Klineman to establish a two-point Stanford lead at 17-15 and the Cardinal was unable to build on the lead until Lichtman blocked a ball at 23-20. Oregon took two points in a row to creep within one, 23-22, but Akinradewo gave Stanford set point at 24-22 with her 14th kill of the night. After Newcombe pounded a kill to fight off the first Cardinal set point, Klineman finished the Ducks off, 25-23. Stanford hit a match-high .514 in the final set, while Oregon turned in its best clip as well (.439). Barboza led the Cardinal with seven of her 21 kills in the clinching fourth set.
After a day off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Stanford returns to the court for its regular-season finale at Oregon State on Friday. The Cardinal will look to extend a 47-match win streak against the Beavers and build momentum heading into the postseason. Stanford has earned the Pac-10's automatic bid to the 2008 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship, and will appear in the tournament for the 28th-straight year. The 64-team field will be announced on Sunday at 7 p.m. (PT) on ESPNU.
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