Only The Beginning
The 2021 Stanford beach volleyball season was one for the record books. But head coach Andrew Fuller knows it is only the beginning for a program continuing to rise on the national stage. The Cardinal qualified for the NCAA Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. for the first time in program history, earning the No. 6 seed in the process.
Stanford finished 23-13 overall, setting the program record for most wins in a single season. The previous high mark was 17, set in 2018. In his fifth season at the helm, Fuller was named AVCA Collegiate Beach Coach of the Year and also Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
The Cardinal had 11 wins over ranked teams, including five over Top 10 programs. Stanford's wins over ranked foe came against No. 5 Cal Poly, No. 6 Hawaii, No. 8 Grand Canyon (twice), No. 9 Cal, No. 11 Cal (twice), No. 11 Pepperdine, No. 12 Cal, No. 14 Arizona and No. 16 Long Beach State. All 13 of Stanford's losses came to ranked opponents.
Seniors Sunny Villapando (67) and Amelia Smith (60) finished ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, in career wins. Villapando was named AVCA first team All-American and All-Pac-12 second team. Villapando, Smith and freshman Xolani Hodel all finished with 22 victories on the season, tied for the third most in program history. Hodel was named AVCA first team All-American, All-Pac-12 first team and All-Pac-12 Freshman Team. Hodel and Villapando were the first duo in school history to be named first team All-Americans.
In addition to Hodel and Villapando, junior Charlie Ekstrom was named All-Pac-12 second team and freshman Kate Reilly earned a spot on the All-Pac-12 Freshman Team.
Armed with another strong recruiting class, the Cardinal looks to build upon the best season in program history and truly take off in 2022.