PALO ALTO, Calif. – Fifth-ranked Stanford finally managed to halt third-ranked Washington’s 13-match conference win streak tonight, handing the Huskies just their second loss of the year at Maples Pavilion to split the season series. Washington (23-2, 15-2 Pac-12) had a chance to clinch a share of the Pac-12 with a win tonight, but Stanford (21-5, 14-3 Pac-12) stayed very much in the hunt with a 25-19, 25-21, 25-22 victory.
It was Washington’s first loss since a 3-1 defeat at Colorado on Oct. 4. That night in Boulder, the Huskies hit a season-low .135, and tonight was the only other time this season that UW was under .200, as the Huskies hit just .167 compared to .259 for the Cardinal. Tonight was also, amazingly, the first time all season that UW’s opponent finished with more service aces, as the Huskies had just one to Stanford’s three.
The Huskies were close late in all three sets, but Stanford played the late points better. In set one, the Huskies were down just 18-19, but Stanford finished on a 6-1 run. The second set was costly, as the Huskies were up 21-19, but the Cardinal won six straight points to close it out. In the third set, the Huskies battled back from an 11-16 deficit to tie it at 20-20, but Stanford finished on a 5-2 run to seal the win.
It was a tough night offensively for the Huskies, but reigning National Player of the Week Krista Vansant was strong again with a match-high 16 kills on a .306 attack percentage. Kaleigh Nelson had 12 kills but made eight errors to hit .125. No other Husky had more than four kills, while Stanford had five players with at least seven kills, led by a huge night from outside hitter Rachel Williams who had 11 kills on a .529 attack percentage.
Washington had one more block than the Pac-12’s leading blocking team, as Melanie Wade had six block assists, and Lianna Sybeldon, Nelson and Vansant each had five. Jenna Orlandini had a team-best 11 digs and Jenni Nogueras passed out 21 assists.
The Huskies will have to bounce back as they remain in full control of their Pac-12 destiny, but a big match looms again on Friday at No. 23 California at 6:00 p.m.