LOS ANGELES, Calif. – No. 9 Stanford beach volleyball defeated No. 11 Cal, 3-2, in the first round of the 2021 Pac-12 Championships on Thursday at Mapes Beach. The No. 4-seeded Cardinal, now 21-9 on the season, will take on No. 1-seeded USC on Friday afternoon at 1:15 p.m.
The match began with a Cal win at No. 2, but the Cardinal No. 4 pair of Emmy Sharp and Amelia Smith pulled off an improbable, three-set victory to tie the match. After losing the first set 27-25, a set in which they had six set points, Sharp and Smith fended off several match points to pull off a 29-27 second-set win. In the third set, the Stanford duo got out to a quick 7-2 start, eventually claiming the win, 15-12. Sharp and Smith are now 17-2 on the season as a pair and just one victory shy of the school record for wins in a season by a duo.
The Cardinal went up 2-1 in the match with a victory at No. 1 by Xolani Hodel and Sunny Villapando. The duo, who just moved to the No. 1 spot last weekend, is now 4-0 in that position since the switch and 8-2 on the season.
Cal would tie the match with a three-set victory at No. 3, but Maddie Dailey and Jordan McKinney would win in straight sets, 21-12, 21-13, to pull out the Cardinal victory.
With a win over USC tomorrow afternoon, the Cardinal would move on to the winner's bracket championship match at 9 a.m. Saturday. With a loss against USC at 1:15, Stanford would play an elimination game in the contender's bracket at 4:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon against either Arizona State, Washington or Utah.
No. 9 Stanford 3, No. 11 Cal 2
Flight #1: Xolani Hodel/Sunny Villapando (Stanford) def. Mima Mirkovic/Carolina Schafer (Cal) 21-18, 21-3
Flight #2: Jordan Polo/Ainsley Radell (Cal) def. Charlie Ekstrom/Maya Harvey (Stanford) 21-18, 21-15
Flight #3: Alexia Inman/Ava Mann (Cal) def. Maddi Kriz/Kate Reilly (Stanford) 21-18, 17-21, 15-13
Flight #4: Emmy Sharp/Amelia Smith (Stanford) def. Maddie Micheletti/Maya Gessner (Cal) 25-27, 29-27, 15-12
Flight #5: Maddie Dailey/Jordan McKinney (Stanford) def. Brooke Buchner/Grace Paulson (Cal) 21-12, 21-13
Order of finish: 2, 4, 1, 3, 5