For the first time in program history, Stanford beach volleyball was selected to the eight-team, NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship field. The selection committee picked the Cardinal as one of two at-large teams.
Stanford is set to open play in Gulf Shores, Ala. on Friday against No. 3 seed Florida State at 10 a.m. PT on ESPNU. The entire field is: No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 USC, No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 LSU, No. 5 LMU, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Cal Poly and No. 8 TCU.
Stanford is 23-11 on the season, its most wins in program history by six. The Cardinal has 11 wins over ranked teams at the time of the meeting, including five over teams inside the Top 10. Seven of Stanford's 11 losses came to teams in the NCAA Championship field, with all 11 setbacks coming against ranked opponents.
Earlier this season, Stanford set a program record with a 13-match winning streak and achieved its highest ranking ever in the AVCA poll at No. 7.
The Cardinal features an exciting lineup, including four dynamic freshmen. Seniors Sunny Villapando (66) and Amelia Smith (58) are the two winningest players in program history, while junior Maddie Dailey's 39 career wins is fifth.
At each of its top four pairs, Stanford features a talented freshman to go along with a savvy veteran. At No. 1, Villapando plays with Xolani Hodel. That duo is 9-3 on the year with six wins in its last seven decisions. They were named Pac-12 Pair of the Week on April 28.
At No. 2, Charlie Ekstrom plays with freshman Maya Harvey. They are 3-3 as a pair, with recent wins over Cal and Grand Canyon. At No. 3, Maddi Kriz and Kate Reilly are 4-4 as a pair thus far.
At No. 4, Smith plays with Emmy Sharp and the duo is 19-3 overall. The 19 wins are a new school record, breaking the previous record of 18 wins by a pair, set by Smith and Morgan Hentz in 2018. The No. 4 pair recently won 13 straight matches, which was a school record.
At No. 5, Maddie Dailey and Jordan McKinney are 16-10 on the season.
Individually, Smith owns 22 wins, just one shy of the school record for a single season. The record is 23, owned by Villapando and Courtney Bowen, who both achieved that in 2018. Right behind Smith are Xolani Hodel, Maddi Kriz, Emmy Sharp and Sunny Villapando, who each have 21 wins, while Maddie Dailey and Maya Harvey have 19.