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Stanford women pull out final swim relay to sink Texas

 

The Stanford women's swimming team needed a win in the final event, the 400 free relay, to beat host Texas in their nonconference meet.

Lia Neal touched the wall over two seconds ahead of her Longhorns' counterpart to help the third-ranked Cardinal do just that. Stanford remained undefeated on the season with its 154-146 victory over No. 8 Texas.


Lia Neal
Maya DiRado won three individual events and led off the winning 200 medley relay team's win to help put the Cardinal (5-0) in position. Neal also won the 100 free.

Andie Taylor and Felicia Lee each won two events for Stanford, which returns to action Jan. 24 with a conference meet against visiting Arizona.

"It was fun to race a strong Texas team," Cardinal coach Greg Meehan said. "Coming off our training camp, we didn't get out to a good start through the front half of the meet, but we rebounded really well. Meets in early January are more about toughness than going fast and I thought both teams worked through that."

Stanford, which traveled from the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., held a 3-point edge entering the final relay. Maddy Schaefer, Lee, Julia Anderson and Neal swam 3:18.98 and beat Texas' best group by almost 2.5 seconds.

Lee, the Pac-12 November Swimmer of the Month, was a pivotal part of the Cardinal's win, swimming on both relays in addition to her individual events.

Stanford jumped to a lead through the first two events, but Texas quickly cut the Cardinal margin to one by going 1-2-3 in the 200 free. Stanford's wins came in the 200 medley (DiRado, Katie Olsen, Lee, Maddy Schaefer) in 1:40.53 and with Taylor's 9:57.01 in the 1,000 free.

Top spots from Lee (100 back, 53.91) and DiRado (200 fly, 1:59.04) continued to keep Stanford ahead, but Texas had the three bests off of the one-meter boards to take its first lead after eight events.

The Longhorns advantage did not last long, as Stanford's swimmers won four of the next five events.

Neal and DiRado won the 100 free and 200 back in back-to-back fashion. Neal's 49.75 was 0.78 faster than Texas' Alex Hooper and DiRado followed with a 1:57.35 in the 200 back to beat the Longhorns' Tasija Karosas (1:58.21).

After Olsen and Sarah Haase went 2-3 in the 200 breaststroke, Taylor and Lee gave the Cardinal back-to-back wins once again.

Taylor touched the wall four seconds ahead of the field in the 500 free and Lee was nearly two full seconds faster than teammate Nicole Stafford in the 100 fly.

Texas once again grabbed a lead after diving, this time owning the top four positions in the three-meter competition, but DiRado and Stanford's 400 free relay propelled the Cardinal.

DiRado's third win came in the 200 IM, as she swam a 1:59.60. Texas had two in the top five of the event to setup the deciding showdown in the 400 free relay.

Men's volleyball

Brian Cook recorded 16 kills, one of four Stanford players with at least 10 kills, and the fifth-ranked Cardinal opened its regular season with a 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-22 victory over No. 4 UCLA and a seventh-place finish at the ASICS UCSB Tournament on Saturday.

"I think we played a nice, consistent match," Stanford coach John Kosty said. "We didn't have highs and lows. We just played at a good solid level throughout, and I was very pleased with that."

Cook, who also had a hitting percentage of .367, was joined by double figure kills by senior outside hitter Steven Irvin, who added 14 kills on a .387 hitting percentage, redshirt junior Daniel Tublin, who hit .381 and notched 12 kills, and sophomore middle Conrad Kaminski, who recorded a team-high .769 attack percentage and finished with 11 kills and five blocks.

Sophomore setter James Shaw directed the balanced offense, racking up 53 assists in the win. He added five digs, two kills and a block for the Cardinal.

"I think James Shaw set a really nice, balanced match which allowed us to spread out UCLA's defense and keep a high sideout percentage," Kosty said.

Redshirt junior libero Grant Delgado finished with a match-high 18 digs which sparked several Cardinal points. As a team, Stanford outhit UCLA, .433 to .252.

Stanford hosts Lewis University in its home opener on Friday at 7 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.

— Stanford Athletics

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