Rally Falls Short This Time At No. 1 Stanford
Nov. 8, 2012
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Capping an exhausting stretch of four matches in seven days with a showdown at the home of the No. 1 team in the country, the fifth-ranked Husky volleyball team looked as if it was staging a third straight dramatic comeback after winnings its past two matches in fifth sets. After falling behind 0-2, Washington (20-5, 11-5 Pac-12) won the third set and led 22-18 in the fourth set, but Stanford (24-2, 16-0) ended the set on a big run to stave off the fifth set the Huskies were hoping for.
The Cardinal extended their win streak to 22 matches, frustrating the Dawgs by the score of 25-23, 25-11, 21-25, 25-22. Leading the way for Washington was freshman Melanie Wade, who showed off for her family, friends, and a big group of former high school teammates from adjacent Palo Alto High School. Wade matched her season high with nine kills for the second match in a row, and she hit .571, making just one error on 14 swings.
Sophomores Krista Vansant and Kaleigh Nelson each had 10 kills. Senior Amanda Gil had seven block assists, freshman Katy Beals had a double-double with 22 assists and 10 digs, and junior Jenna Orlandini earned 18 digs.
In a battle of two of the Pac-12's top defensive units, Washington held Stanford to .190 on offense, but the Huskies hit just .133 themselves. A big difference all match long was at the service line, as UW made 14 service errors and had just two aces, while Stanford had five aces and just eight errors. The first set was especially costly, as UW outhit the Cardinal, but missed six serves to give Stanford a chance to hang around.
The Huskies will now have a full week to rest up after the hectic schedule stretch, returning home to host fourth-ranked Oregon on Friday, Nov. 16, followed by Oregon State on Nov. 17.
In the first set, Wade and Cassie Strickland got in on a block of Stanford's Inky Ajanaku for an early 5-3 lead. Consecutive kills from Wade and Vansant and a Cardinal miscue boosted that lead to 10-6 and Stanford called timeout. Stanford closed the gap to one at 14-13, but Nelson answered with a kill set by Jenni Nogueras, and Strickland followed that with a smash for 16-13. After a Wade kill made it 18-15, Stanford went on a 3-0 run to tie it up and force a Husky timeout. Vansant regained the lead with a kill, and then Nelson and Gil roofed Rachel Williams for a 20-19 edge. But Nelson then hit one out and Strickland was blocked and UW needed timeout again as the Cardinal had moved on top. Nelson bounced back with a kill for 21-all, and she tied it up again at 22 with a heavy swing, but Stanford answered with a kill, and then got a crucial bit of luck as its next serve caught the tape and just dropped over for an ace and set point Cardinal. Wade smacked down her third kill of the first set to save the first set point, and Vansant had a swing to tie it up on the next rally, but she hit it just wide as the Cardinal escaped, 25-23.
The second set started poorly for the Huskies, with Stanford winning the first four points. Wade got the Dawgs on the board with a quick strike. Nelson had three kills to keep UW in contact, and then Muñoz put one crosscourt and down for a 6-11 count. But things went south in a hurry for the Dawgs, as Stanford rode its momentum from the first set win, and began siding out consistently as the Huskies struggled to finish points. Stanford went on a 9-1 run to break the set wide open. Freshman Lianna Sybeldon subbed in and earned a block assist with Gabbi Parker, but by then Stanford was up double-digits and closed out the set, 25-11, the worst set loss of the season for the Huskies, when it was Washington that posted two 25-10 sets on Stanford last month, the Cardinal's worst set losses of the year. The Huskies could collect only six kills in the set while Stanford had 16.
The Huskies fell behind early in the third set, 3-6, but then showed some fight with three straight points to tie it up at 6-6. Strickland tipped for a kill and Nelson and Gil teamed up for a block of Jordan Burgess to knot the score. Another three-point Husky run started by a Gil kill, and followed up by a tap down from Nelson on an overpass and a kill through the block from Strickland put the Huskies on top, 9-7, as UW was on a 6-1 run overall. Orlandini missed a serve, but Wade got the momentum right back with a kill straight down from a well-placed Nogueras ball, and Stanford followed with an error and needed to call timeout as the Dawgs had gone up 11-8. Out of the break, Muñoz posted a couple big right side kills, and then the Husky block answered the call after the Cardinal cut the lead to one. Gil was in on two straight blocks, one with Vansant getting the most of the block and Nelson assisting the other to push the Husky lead back to four at 16-12 and force another Stanford timeout. The Cardinal missed one out of the break for a five-point Husky edge. Stanford pushed with two points but the Huskies answered right back with right side kills from Vansant and Nelson on consecutive plays for 19-14. Stanford came back with another run, this time taking four of five points to cut it to 20-18 and the Huskies called their first timeout. Stanford cut one more off the lead, but Wade kept the lead for the Dawgs with a big kill out of the middle, and Katy Beals served up an ace on the next point for 22-19. UW then had a big triple block, and Wade hammered down an overpass off a big Strickland serve for set point Dawgs. Stanford saved one, but Beals put the first ball up to Vansant on the next play and she ripped it to the court for a 25-21 Husky win.
The Dawgs continued to put the pressure on early in the fourth set. Despite missing another serve to start the set, the Huskies came right back with a 5-1 run to take a 5-2 lead and force an early Stanford timeout. Muñoz and Vansant had early kills, and Jenni Nogueras had an ace. Vansant hammered down an overpass as UW went up 7-3, but Stanford got yet another lucky bounce with an ace off the top of the net for 7-5, before Gil slammed the next point off the defense and out. A big roof from Wade and Nelson had an after-effect, as the Cardinal tried to avoid the block on the next two points and hit it out, as the Huskies pushed the lead back to 11-6 and forced Stanford into its second timeout. Muñoz added another transition kill out of the break, but then UW made two errors and called its first timeout, up 12-8. Washington could not break the Cardinal run as Stanford grabbed three more points to cut it down to 12-11 and the Huskies expended their last timeout as well. Wade managed to snap the run with a smart tip, and then a big Strickland serve led to an overpass and a Vansant slam for 14-11. Gil and Muñoz rejected Howard to extend the lead to 16-12. The teams traded several points, with Strickland ending a long, physical rally with a crosscourt kill for a 20-16 lead. Muñoz killed one on a third swing on another tough rally for 21-17. Vansant went off the block for 22-18, but Stanford all of a sudden ripped off four straight points to tie it up at 22. Vansant was blocked on the next play as the Cardinal took a 23-22 lead. The Huskies could not side out, as a Rachel Williams kill suddenly earned match point for Stanford, and again the Huskies couldn't get a good swing, and Williams swung again to finish it, 25-22, as the Huskies lost the last seven points in a row.