It took a little more work than expected, but the nationally fourth-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team still was able to sweep visiting No. 20 Arizona in a Pac-10 match on Wednesday night in Maples Pavilion.
The Cardinal improved to 14-3 in the conference and 23-3 overall with its 25-17, 26-24, 25-23 triumph as the Wildcats fell to 9-8 in league (20-10 overall).
And thanks to Arizona State's five-set upset of No. 2 California, Stanford moved back into a tie for first place in the conference with the Bears.
If Stanford and Cal wind up tied for first the Bears will still get the Pac-10's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament because of their season sweep of Stanford.
Six different Cardinal players registered at least six kills against the Wildcats. Sophomore Hayley Spelman led the way with 10, while senior Alix Klineman finished with eight kills, five digs and three blocks. Senior setter/hitter Cassidy Lichtman totaled seven kills, 19 assists and five digs, while freshman Rachel Williams chipped in with eight kills.
With her eight kills, Klineman became just the fourth Stanford player ever to register 1,900 career kills. She is currently fourth all-time at Stanford and ninth-best in Pac-10 history with 1,901.
Senior libero Gabi Ailes tallied 15 digs for the Cardinal, which finished with nine team blocks. Stanford also out-hit Arizona .384 to .284.
Stanford opened the match with a 25-17 win in the first game. With a 16-15 advantage, the Cardinal reeled off five straight points to take control of the first. The Cardinal hit .406 as a team and put down four service aces in the opening set. Spelman led the team with five kills, while Lichtman, sophomore Jessica Walker and freshman Carly Wopat each posted three for the Cardinal. Senior outside hitter Tiffany Owens paced the Wildcats with six kills and six digs.
The Cardinal edged the Wildcats, 26-24, in the second game. Stanford held Arizona to a .263 team hitting percentage and recorded five blocks in the set. Klineman, Spelman and freshman Rachel Williams each registered four kills for the Cardinal, while Ailes continued to lead the defense with five digs. Arizona's Cursty Jackson put down five kills to lead the Wildcats.
Stanford completed the sweep by grabbing a 22-15, but the Wildcats went on an 8-2 run to cut the lead to one. However, it wasn't enough as Klineman drilled her eighth kill to put the game away. Klineman, Lichtman, Walker and Williams all tallied three kills.
Stanford concludes the 2010 Pac-10 season on Friday as it hosts Arizona State. Stanford's three seniors will be honored prior to the Cardinal's match against the Sun Devils, scheduled for 7 p.m.