Stanford women avoid volleyball letdown, beats USC in an important Pac-10 Conference match


The third-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team avoided a letdown, beating visiting seventh-ranked USC, 25-19, 25-21, 25-19, Sunday in an important Pac-10 match.

The Cardinal (11-2, 20-2) remained tied with California for first place in the conference, while the Women of Troy (9-4, 20-4) remained third.

Stanford was coming off a tough match Friday night against UCLA while USC came to Maples Pavilion fresh off an upset over California. The Women of Troy had the opportunity to nudge the Cardinal out of a share for the conference lead.

"USC has been the hottest team in the conference the last three weeks," Stanford coach John Dunning said. "This was a scary weekend with both USC and UCLA coming to town. So to come back, recover and play this way after the UCLA match, which was a bit of a war, feels great for us."

Senior outside hitter Alix Klineman helped make sure Stanford would remain on top with 15 kills, a hitting percentage of .413 and 11 digs. It was her second double-double of the weekend.

It doesn't get any easier when Stanford travels to the northwest for matches at Washington State on Friday night and at 11th-ranked Washington on Saturday night.

"It's nice to be at home," Dunning said. "We can get ready for Washington, which will just be another big Pac-10 weekend."

Senior Cassidy Lichtman, in her dual role as setter and outside hitter, produced six kills, 24 assists and six digs, while senior libero Gabi Ailes finished with 14 digs, and is now eight shy of reaching 2,000 for her career.

Freshman middle blocker Carly Wopat had seven kills on nine attempts with no errors for a .778 hitting percentage. She also recorded two aces and three blocks as Stanford out hit USC, .360 to .241.

"I think we're growing up right now," Dunning said. "People are learning a lot. Karissa (Cook) is coming in and adding a lot. To beat USC at this time of the year is a big win for us."

Men's water polo

Brian Pingree recorded 11 saves and fourth-ranked Stanford turned defensive to limit visiting UC Irvine, ranked fifth nationally, to a pair of goals in the Cardinal's 7-2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation victory Sunday.

Stanford (5-1, 12-5) travels to UC Davis for a 6 p.m. contest on Friday before returning home to face Pacific at noon next Sunday.

Jacob Smith and Sage Wright each scored three times for Stanford, which won its fifth straight, while Jeffrey Schwimer added a goal.

UC Irvine scored its first goal with 3:37 left in the third period, ending a scoring drought of 20:23.

Women's golf

Despite a soggy day at the Stanford Golf Course, which caused a delay of nearly two hours Sunday, the Cardinal tied for sixth at the Pac-10-SEC Challenge.

Stanford completed the final round with a 16-over 300, and finished the tournament with a 30-over 882.

Fifth-ranked UCLA won the tournament with Sunday's low round, and finished the three-day event at 4-over-par. Third-ranked Alabama was second at 15-over-par, while second-ranked USC finished third at 23-over.

Kristina Wong led the Cardinal, shooting a 1-over 72 on the final day and finishing seventh overall at 1-over. She matched her season-best finish.

USC's Sophia Popov won the individual title at 6-under-par for the weekend. The sloppy conditions did nothing to hinder game as she Popov shot a 67 on Sunday, the low round of the day.


The weather forced the match inside but didn't seem to dampen the spirits of a full house at Burnham Pavilion in Stanford's 18-16 setback to visiting Northwestern Sunday.

The dual meet was originally scheduled to be held outdoors at the Taube Tennis Center, but the first rain in several weeks chased everybody indoors.

Stanford junior Nick Amuchastegui, ranked sixth nationally, registered a 14-2 major decision over Brian Roddy, at 174 pounds to lead the way. Senior Zack Giesen, ranked 11th in his weight class, won at 197 pounds, Dylan Rush won at heavyweight, Matt Sencenbaugh took his 133-pound match and 165-pound Lucas Espericueta added a decision.

The Cardinal goes to Cal State Bakersfield for its Pac-10 opener at 4 p.m. Saturday.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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