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Season in Review

Jun 28, 2021

STANFORD, Calif. - In a truly unprecedented season, Stanford finished 2-8 overall and missed the postseason for the first time in program history, snapping a streak of 39 consecutive appearances.

The Cardinal may have had to the most unique season in all of NCAA Division I women's volleyball. When the team was finally able to return to The Farm in August of 2020 it was not to the comfortable confines of Maples Pavilion. Instead, due to COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County, the Cardinal set up sport courts in the Taube Family Tennis Stadium on campus and was limited to only two players touching the same volleyball during practice. Fighting through extreme heat and smoke from the California wildfires, the Cardinal made the most of the time they had together during that three-week stretch.

Once online classes started in mid-September, several members of the team lived together and trained in the San Diego area for a couple of months on their own. After the holidays, the entire team returned to campus in early January and was required to quarantine for 14 days. With the NCAA spring season on the horizon, the Cardinal was still unable to practice indoors due to continued restrictions in Santa Clara County. This time, the team practice on grass on the football practice field until the orders were lifted in late-January.

Stanford had to cancel its first four matches due to a lack of training time to prepare for the season. Finally able to play its season openers at Arizona on Feb. 5 and 7, the Cardinal learned prior to traveling to Tucson that a player had tested positive for COVID-19 and she, and two additional players, who were considered high-risk exposures, were required to go into isolation for 10 days. The team decided to still make the trip to Tucson with just eight available players – five sophomores and three freshmen. 

That became the path the roller coaster was on for Stanford in the spring. The Cardinal played in only 10 of its 22 scheduled matches, including just three at home. The team shared one final night in Maples on April 3 to celebrate its lone senior Meghan McClure. McClure finished her Stanford career as a three-time Pac-12 champion and two-time NCAA champion.

Hambly is now 274-103 as a head coach and is just four wins away from 100 at Stanford.

BY THE NUMBERS: Prior to the 2020 season, the Cardinal made 39 consecutive NCAA postseason appearances. Stanford has won more NCAA titles (9), more NCAA Tournament matches (131), made more Final Four appearances (23) and been in the national championship match (17) more times than any other program in the nation. 

TOP OF HER CLASS: Meghan McClure was tabbed a top 30 candidate for the Senior CLASS Award, presented to a student-athlete who excels in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character and competition. The science, technology and society major was named the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was also a recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

ALL-AMERICANS: For the first time since 1982, Stanford did not produce an AVCA All-American after seven straight seasons with at least four per year. Stanford's total AVCA All-America award count is 105 honors spread among 42 players.

PAC-12 HONORS: Redshirt freshman outside hitter Caitie Baird and true freshman libero Elena Oglivie were recognized by the Pac-12 following the spring season. Baird was named to the 18-player all-conference team as well as the Pac-12's all-freshman team. Oglivie earned All-Pac-12 Conference honorable mention. Stanford now has 149 all-conference selections all-time, including honorable mention.

WEEKLY HONOR: Freshman Elena Oglivie was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week on March 23 for her efforts against Arizona State. The libero averaged 4.88 digs per set against the Sun Devils, registering 18 digs in a sweep and matching her career-high of 21 on March 21. The Honolulu native posted double-digit digs in nine consecutive matches to end the season.

PRESEASON ALL-PAC-12: A pair of Cardinal were named Preseason All-Pac-12 Conference - senior Meghan McClure and sophomore Kendall Kipp. Both were recognized for the first time in their careers.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Stanford's sophomore class - Caitie Baird, Natalie Berty, Kendall Kipp, McKenna Vicini and Selina Xu - was rated the No. 1 overall recruiting class in 2019. The group is joined by the 2020 class, which was tabbed No. 5 nationally, and includes Alex Lougeay, Elena Oglivie, Annabelle Smith, Leilah Smith and Malia Tufuga. Ten of Stanford's 13 players on the 2021 spring roster were underclassmen.

COACHING EXCELLENCE: Kevin Hambly became the seventh head coach in Division I women's volleyball to lead a school to back-to-back titles. Hambly is now 96-17 (.850) in four seasons on The Farm, mentoring eight AVCA All-Americans to 16 awards and four Academic All-Americans. 

HOME SWEET HOME: In four seasons under Kevin Hambly, Stanford is 47-3 at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal won 32 in a row at home to begin Hambly's tenure at Stanford.

THE HAMBLY FILE: Kevin Hambly coached 12 AVCA All-Americans to 19 honors during his time at Illinois. He's had eight Cardinal players rack up 16 honors in four seasons at Stanford. He is the third head coach to lead Stanford to a national championship. The 2018 Pac-12 Coach of the Year became the first Cardinal head coach (any sport) to win an NCAA title in one of his first two seasons on The Farm since 2005.