A Season To Remember
GULF SHORES, Ala. – No. 6 Stanford beach volleyball saw its best season in program history come to a close on Friday with two losses at the NCAA Championship. The Cardinal, who finished with a program-record 23 wins, lost 3-0 to No. 3 Florida State in the morning before a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat to No. 7 Cal Poly in the afternoon.
Earlier this season, the Cardinal had defeated Cal Poly at home, 3-2, and nearly did so again on Friday. Charlie Ekstrom and Kate Reilly made quick work of the Mustangs on Court 2 to give Stanford a 1-0 lead, but Cal Poly took two-set wins on Courts 3 and 4 to grab a 2-1 lead.
On Court 5, Jordan McKinney and Maddie Dailey fended off six first-set points to win the set, 27-25, but dropped the second set 21-11. Similarly on Court 1, Xolani Hodel and Sunny Villapando won the first set but dropped the second. Both matches headed into a third set with Stanford needing wins on both courts.
Cal Poly jumped ahead early on Court 5, as the Cardinal duo on Court 1 also jumped out to an early third-set lead. As McKinney and Dailey continued to fight and fend off match point after match point (six in all during the third set), Hodel and Villapando clinched a 15-8 win to even the match.
But the match was tied for mere seconds, as Cal Poly would pull ahead with a 21-19 win on Court 5 to claim the match and end Stanford's record-breaking season.
The Cardinal says goodbye to seasons Villapando and Amelia Smith, who became the two winningest individuals in program history this season. Villapando ends her time on The Farm with 67 career wins, while Smith finishes with 60.
A plethora of individuals won 19-or-more matches this year as they chased the program record of 23 in a single season. Hodel, Smith and Villapando all won 22 matches this season, while Maddi Kriz and Emmy Sharp won 21. Dailey (19), Harvey (19) and Reilly (19) all won 19 for the Cardinal.
No. 3 Florida State 3, No. 6 Stanford 0
Flight #1: Xolani Hodel/Sunny Villapando (Stanford) vs. Maddie Anderson/Alaina Chacon (Florida State) 25-27, 10-13, unfinished
Flight #2: Keara Rutz/Torrey Van Winden (Florida State) def. Charlie Ekstrom/Kate Reilly (Stanford) 21-13, 21-9
Flight #3: Molly McBain/Payton Caffrey (Florida State) def. Maddi Kriz/Maya Harvey (Stanford) 21-13, 21-14
Flight #4: Sara Putt/Raelyn White (Florida State) def. Emmy Sharp/Amelia Smith (Stanford) 21-15, 21-13
Flight #5: Maddie Dailey/Jordan McKinney (Stanford) vs. Jenna Johnson/Liz Waters-Leiga (Florida State) 18-21, 17-17, unfinished
Order of finish: 2, 3, 4
No. 7 Cal Poly 3, No. 6 Stanford 2
Flight #1: Xolani Hodel/Sunny Villapando (Stanford) def. Emily Sonny/Macy Gordon (Cal Poly) 21-16, 20-22, 15-8
Flight #2: Charlie Ekstrom/Kate Reilly (Stanford) def. Jayelin Lombard/Amy Ozee (Cal Poly) 21-14, 21-15
Flight #3: Tia Miric/Mariah Whalen (Cal Poly) def. Maddi Kriz/Maya Harvey (Stanford) 21-18, 21-13
Flight #4: Sam Strah/Eleonore Johansen (Cal Poly) def. Emmy Sharp/Amelia Smith (Stanford) 21-19, 21-19
Flight #5: Josie Ulrich/Vanessa Roscoe (Cal Poly) def. Maddie Dailey/Jordan McKinney (Stanford) 25-27, 21-11, 21-19
Order of finish: 2, 3, 4, 1, 5