Lutz helps Stanford women rally in 5th set for volleyball win


Redshirt freshman Merete Lutz recorded a pair of kills and a block over Stanford's final four points to help the second-ranked Cardinal complete its comeback and record a 25-22, 19-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-12 victory over No. 9 Illinois on Sunday as part of the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge in Maples Pavilion.

After going 0-3 in five-set matches last season, Stanford (4-0) has won back-to-back five-setters. The Cardinal knocked off top-ranked Penn State in five sets on Friday night.

Merete Lutz
Lutz finished with nine kills on 14 swings for a .571 hitting percentage. She also had a hand in on six blocks, with one solo block.

Junior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku, named the tournament MVP, led Stanford with 16 kills and recorded a .500 hitting percentage. She was also in on six blocks.

Junior outside hitter Jordan Burgess added 13 kills and 18 digs as the Cardinal is off to its best start since opening the 2011 season with six straight wins.

Stanford looks to extend its streak on Friday when Duke visits for a 7 p.m. contest in the Stanford Individual. The Cardinal will also play Penn and Santa Clara in the tournament.

Lutz entered the third set with Stanford holding an 11-10 edge. Illinois tied the score but Lutz's ensuing kill put the Cardinal to stay. She combined with Burgess on a block that made it 13-11.

A service error gave Illinois another point but Lutz followed with another kill to put Stanford on the edge of victory, which came on an attack error moments later.

The Cardinal held the lead for most of the fourth set, though Illinois made it interesting at 22-20. A kill from Megan Boukather, who had 10 kills and 11 digs on the match, and a combined block from Brittany Howard and Ajanaku put Stanford ahead, 24-20.

Illinois saved two set points before Ajanaku finished it out with a kill.

Junior setter Madi Bugg recorded 51 assists and 13 digs, while senior libero Kyle Gilbert had 20 digs.

Bugg and Gilbert were also named to the all-tournament team.

Women's soccer

No. 4 Stanford tied a school record with its fifth shutout to open the season, but suffered the first blemish to its record with a 0-0 draw against No. 25 Notre Dame on Sunday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.

Stanford (4-0-1) had several strong opportunities to win, mostly later in the double-overtime nonconference contest, but was unable to convert against the Fighting Irish (3-2-1). Stanford outshot Notre Dame, 15-8, including 4-1 in the two 10-minute overtime periods.

"The performance was good," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said. "But in the final third we need to get a little sharper."

Sophomore goalkeeper Jane Campbell earned her fourth shutout this season and the 10th of her career. She made four saves, though the Irish never had a clear chance on goal.

"Jane has been a real good leader this year," Ratcliffe said. "She's much more vocal and directs the defense well."

Stanford has not allowed a goal in 489 minutes, 35 seconds, dating to last season. The back four of Maddie Bauer and Kendall Romine on the inside and Stephanie Amack and Laura Liedle on the outside, has been impenetrable.

Freshman Andi Sullivan at holding midfielder has been vital in helping stem attacks before they get too far and in retreating to help when needed.

"The whole team is contributing to the defense," Ratcliffe said. "The back four is very strong. The hardest part is scoring goals. That's where we need to keep growing. It was one of those days. That's where you need to finish the job."

In the 68th minute, Alex Doll got off a right-footed shot in the penalty area that was deflected but still headed for the goal before Notre Dame's Katie Naughton cleared it near the back post.

Seconds later, Taylor Uhl unleashed a hard liner that went barely wide.

In the first overtime, Lo'eau LaBonta sent a long ball that found Chioma Ubogagu on the run deep in the Notre Dame end. Ubogagu cut back and sent in a low shot toward the near post that was saved by Irish goalkeeper Kaela Little.

Stanford, which last opened with five shutouts in 1989, continues its difficult schedule by playing host to No. 8 Florida on Friday at 7:30 p.m., and then Dayton on Sunday at 1. Florida will be the fifth ranked opponent Stanford will have played this season.

Field hockey

Alex McCawley scored five minutes into overtime to lift 12th-ranked Stanford to a 1-0 victory over host New Hampshire in a nonconference match on Sunday.

The Cardinal (5-0), which has allowed one goal in its first five contests, host No. 20 Iowa on Friday at noon.

McCawley recorded her fifth goal of the season, and her third game-winning goal. She fired a low shot from the top of the circle at 74:54 that found the back of the cage and kept the Cardinal's perfect record intact.

Stanford controlled a majority of the game, reeling off 11 shots with seven on target. The Cardinal defense continued to shine, limiting New Hampshire to three shots and one penalty corner.

Dulcie Davies made two saves while the Cardinal backline did well to prevent the Wildcats from sustained pressure and opportunities in front of the goal.

It is Stanford's fourth shutout in five games and third consecutive. The Cardinal has not allowed a goal in 256:06.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics


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