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Card Falls to Kentucky

Sep 19, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Tied midway through the fifth set, Stanford was outlasted by Kentucky in a match between programs that won the past three NCAA women's volleyball titles.

Caitie Baird scored Stanford's final three points of the fourth set – on a block and two kills – to force a fifth, but No. 8 Kentucky was able to pull out a 20-25, 25-20, 25-19, 22-25, 15-10 victory at Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.

No. 16 Stanford (5-3) closed out its nonconference season with a murderer's row of six consecutive ranked opponents, going 3-3. The Cardinal's past three matches – Penn State and Nebraska, both victories, and Kentucky – were among teams that have won every NCAA championship since 2013. 

Baird had 21 kills and Kendall Kipp 18 for Stanford, while Madi Skinner had 23 for Kentucky (7-3), the defending NCAA champ.

In their first meeting since 1989, Stanford dominated the first set while hitting a torrid .567. The Cardinal never trailed, opening with a Baird kill and service ace by Alex Lougeay. 

Stanford cooled off a bit after that, including a .059 third set. And it looked bleak for Stanford when it trailed 11-5 in the fourth. But a Kipp kill began a resurgence and consecutive aces by Elena Oglivie tied the score at 15-15. 

A kill by Sami Francis off a Kentucky overpass capped an 8-1 run that put Stanford in front, 20-16. Francis, a true freshman, was playing in her second match after missing the first six. 

Middle blocker McKenna Vicini, playing in her hometown, had a kill off the slide to tie the score at 16-16 and added a block to continue the run. Vicini won a joust that led to an unsurmountable 22-18 lead. 

In the fifth, consecutive blocks by Holly Campbell put Stanford ahead, 6-4, only for the Wildcats to rally. After three consecutive ties, the latest at 8-8, Kentucky outscored the Cardinal, 7-2, to close out the victory. 

Stanford opens Pac-12 play at Maples Pavilion on Wednesday with rivalry match against Cal at 7 p.m.