The nationally No. 2-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team fell in a heartbreaker at No. 7 UCLA, 25-18, 25-18, 23-25, 27-29, 15-9 on Friday in front of a raucous crowd in a packed John Wooden Center in Los Angeles. The Cardinal droppeds to 8-2 overall and 2-2 in the Pac-12, while the Bruins improved to 10-2 and 2-2 in the conference.
Stanford freshman Morgan Boukather registered a season high 13 kills on 28 attempts with just two errors for a .393 attack percentage. Sophomore Rachel Williams also recorded 13 kills and tallied 17 digs for a double-double. Sophomore middle blocker Carly Wopat finished 12-2-24 (.417), while junior Jessica Walker pitched in with nine kills.
Junior setter Karissa Cook also finished with a double-double with 49 assists and 13 digs. Junior Hannah Benjamin, who played libero for the first two sets, racked up 13 digs, while freshman Kyle Gilbert, who took over at the libero spot in the third, finished with a season high 22 digs.
Stanford dropped the first set, 25-18. The Cardinal was unable to get into any rhythm offensively, hitting .000 for the set. Despite the poor offensive showing, Stanford was able to keep it close on the scoreboard. The Cardinal pulled within two at 19-17, but UCLA went on a 6-1 run to close out the set. Walker led Stanford with four kills, two digs and a .375 attack percentage. UCLA junior Rachael Kidder led the Bruins with seven kills, three digs and two blocks.
UCLA captured the second set, 25-18, to put Stanford in a 2-0 deficit in the match. The Bruins hit .333 in the set, while holding the Cardinal to a .093 clip. UCLA, led by Kidder's five kills, maintained the lead throughout the set. Wopat and freshman Morgan Boukather paced the Cardinal in the set with four kills apiece.
Stanford avoided the sweep, winning the third set 25-23. The Cardinal posted a .300 attack percentage, while the Bruins recorded a .190 clip. Boukather continued to lead Stanford with five kills in the set. Wopat and Williams each chipped in three kills. Freshman Kyle Gilbert took over as the libero to start the set and tallied eight digs in the third. Sophomore Kelly Reeves led the Bruins in the set with nine kills.
The Cardinal forced a fifth set with a 29-27 win in the fourth set. There were 15 tie scores and nine lead changes in the set in which Stanford out hit UCLA .132 to .115. Williams led the team with four kills, while Boukather and Wopat each recorded three. Williams also anchored the defense with seven digs in the set.
It all came down to the fifth and final set in which UCLA took an early 2-0 lead and never looked back. The Bruins hit .333 in the set and went on to win 15-9. The Cardinal hit just .150 in the set and committed seven errors, including four service errors. Kidder led UCLA with five kills and finished with 30 in the match.
Several Cardinal alums from the area were in attendance Friday, including last year's Conference Player of the Year Alix Klineman. Also in the crowd were Cynthia Barboza, Cary Wendell and Bev Oden, among others.
Stanford wraps up the weekend at No. 12 USC on Saturday. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. from the Galen Center in Los Angeles.