Stanford Volleyball Sweeps Denver

Aug. 30, 2009

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- The No. 5 Stanford women's volleyball team swept Denver Sunday on the final day of the Shamrock Invitational at the Joyce Center in Notre Dame, Ind. Scores were 25-22, 25-23, 25-20 in the first meeting between the two programs. The Cardianl improve to 2-1 on the season, while the Pioneers fall to 0-3.

Red-shirt sophomore Stephanie Browne registered the first double-digit kill match of her career, finishing 12-for-25. Junior Cassidy Lichtman was one kill shy of a double-double with nine kills and 20 assists and junior libero Gabi Ailes added 16 digs for the Cardinal. Junior All-American Alix Klineman did not take the court against Denver.

In a close first set, the Cardinal took a 3-1 lead on kills by red-shirt senior Alex Fisher and red-shirt freshman Jessica Walker and a block by senior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa and freshman Hayley Spelman. The Pioneers would put together a run of their own, eventually taking an 8-7 advantage and leading by as many as four points. Kills from Spelman and Okogbaa and an ace from freshman Hannah Benjamin would tie it up at 14. Stanford would take a19-16 lead, but Denver would capitalize on Cardinal errors and tie the set at 22. Stanford posted three straight points to take a 1-0 lead, capped off by a kill from Browne. Browne led the Cardinal with five kills, hitting .556 after the first set.

Denver opened the second set strong, but service errors by the Pioneers kept the Cardinal within reach. Denver would increase its lead to 10-5. Stanford would counter with three straight points, including a kill from Spelman and a block by Walker and Spelman, forcing the Pioneers to call timeout. A huge block from Okogbaa and Lichtman would tie the set at 14, but Denver would outscore Stanford 6-3 and hold a 20-17 advantage. Three consecutive points by the Cardinal, including kills from Walker and Spelman, would tie the set once again. Stanford would fend off a late Denver rally to win the second set, 25-23, on a block from Okogbaa and Litchtman.

Stanford fell behind early in set three, but Browne's 10th kill of the match gave the Cardinal a 4-3 lead. Three kills from Okogbaa and one apiece from Spelman and Browne increased Stanford's lead to 14-11. Again, Denver would rally to pull within one of the Cardinal on multiple occasions. However, unforced errors by the Pioneers and a strong finish by the Cardinal would seal the sweep. As a team, Stanford posted its best hitting mark of the season at .330.

Up next, Stanford will travel to Stockton, Calif, to take part in the University of Pacific Banker's Classic Sept. 4-5. The Cardinal will take on the eighth-ranked Florida Gators on Friday at 5 p.m. PT and will face either Pacific or San Jose State on Saturday.

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