Musings from Maples: WVB vs. WSU

Stanford extended its win streak over Washington State last night, and the Cardinal now hold a 41-3 record in their series vs. WSU. But the women have a potentially tougher match tonight against ranked foe Washington. Above and beyond a simple recap of Women's Volleyball matches, we present some insightful observations, opinions and notes from the floor of Maples Pavilion.

Stanford Starters

OH – Alix Klineman
OH – Cynthia Barboza
MB – Foluke Akinradewo
MB – Franci Girard
S – Bryn Kehoe
OPP – Erin Waller
L – Gabi Ailes

Washington State Starters

OH – Cassie Robbins
OH – Stephanie Weishaar
MB – Tara West
MB – Brittany Tillman
S – Maureen Perez
OPP – Cassie Robbins
L – Kelly Hyder 

Stanford defeats Washington State, 3-0 (30-23, 30-19, 30-22)

• With every terminating set she handed out tonight, Bryn Kehoe drew closer to breaking Wendy Rush's 20-year-old career assists record. The 5'11" setter needs just 42 more assists to hold the school record after connecting with her hitters 26 times tonight. With Washington invading Maples Pavilion tomorrow evening, Kehoe could hit the mark in three games if the Cardinal run an efficient offense, but the more likely scenario for the senior to achieve the record on her home floor is if the match went to four or five games.

• Alix Klineman was the leading attacker for Stanford, but judging from the first game, you would never have realized it. The 6'4" freshman tallied just three kills on 12 swings with one error for a .167 hitting percentage. However, Klineman raised her game a level and then some for the subsequent stanzas, putting away 13 balls at an unbelievable .590 rate with no hitting errors. She flustered the Cougar defense in a variety of ways, mixing it up with hard-driven cross-court angle shots with smartly placed roll shots. For the match, the outside hitter finished with 16 kills on a .441 hitting percentage while adding six digs and one block to her stat line.

• The Game Ball of the Match goes to freshman Gabi Ailes, who registered a team-high 15 digs, many in spectacular fashion. The 5'9" libero was always in position to dig the Cougar's attacks and never hesitated to sacrifice her body to make the necessary defensive play. Her high energy and intensity helped focus the team in a rather ho-hum victory. In addition to her defense, Ailes also served superbly, picking up three aces, while also proving to be a more than a capable back-up to Kehoe at setter, dishing off nine assists.

• Foluke Akinradewo and Franci Girard did not play up to their potential tonight, but given that the opponent was last-place Washington State, it's difficult to be on your toes at all times. The connection with Kehoe for either player did not seem to be there tonight, as there were quite a lot of tips, more so than usual, and when there was a full swing at the ball, there wasn't much solid contact. Akinradewo had a particularly rough night, hitting a season-low .176 and ending up with only six kills.

• Stanford had a field day from behind the service line, consistently getting Washington State out of system thanks to a variety of serves. In all, the Cardinal totaled 11 aces compared to just five service errors, with Ailes and Cynthia Barboza leading the way with three apiece. Even when the serve did not result in an ace, Cougar setter Maureen Perez was running all over the court trying to save the errant pass.

• Head Coach John Dunning again utilized his deep bench, giving some of the younger players valuable playing time. Freshman Cassidy Lichtman came in for Alix Klineman to play back row during the first game, started on the right side in the second game, and played in all six rotations halfway through the third game in place of Klineman on the left and her kill from the antenna sealed the match. Sophomore Janet Okogbaa started for Franci Girard at middle blocker in the second game and later replaced Foluke Akinradewo in the third game, producing three kills and two blocks. Sophomore Joanna Evans got some much needed experience running the team, as Kehoe rested on the bench the entire third game and watched Evans rack up 11 assists.

• With tonight's triumph, Stanford holds a commanding 41-3 lead in the series with Washington State. The last time the Cougars took down the Cardinal was back in 2002 during the Cindy Frederick era. When Frederick bolted for Iowa back in 2004, Brian Heffernan took over the reins in Pullman, though he hasn't had much luck against Stanford. Not only have his teams lost all six times since he became the head coach, but the Cougars have only managed to win just one game.

• A familiar voice was heard on the airwaves tonight, as former Stanford Women's Volleyball head coach Don Shaw joined KZSU's Rebecca Harlow during the second and third games to provide color commentary. For volleyball enthusiasts out there, Shaw provides an expert eye on everything that's happening out on the court and from his unique perspective as a former Division I head coach, a lot can be learned from his comments and observations. There is a possibility that he might be doing more color commentary with Harlow in future home matches, so make sure to tune in to KZSU for all Stanford Women's Volleyball contests, but especially ones that are played at Maples Pavilion.

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