Lutz is lights out in top-ranked Stanford's block party


The top-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team threw a block party at visiting UCLA on Friday night, which proved to be successful, if not somewhat stressful.

Redshirt freshman Merete Lutz was the life of the party, recording 10 blocks to go with 12 kills as the Cardinal maintained its spotless start to the season with a 25-20, 30-28, 20-25, 27-25 victory over the Bruins in Pac-12 action.

Lutz, who also had a game-high .611 hitting percentage and leads the nation in that category, recorded half of Stanford's season-high 20 blocks in front of more than 3,000 fans at Maples Pavilion.

Stanford (9-0 Pac-12, 19-0 overall) hosts USC on Sunday at 5 p.m. The match will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks.

"Merete's blocking has improved," Stanford junior Jordan Burgess said. "She hits some crazy angles and she's hitting deeper. She can change it up and she hits over blocks."

The Cardinal, off to its best start since 1994, when it opened the season 20-0, outhit UCLA, .333 to .228, although the Bruins finished with 10 service aces and four blocks.

Junior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku led Stanford with 15 kills on a .583 hitting percentage and a season high nine blocks, making sure the party lasted all night.

Junior setter Madi Bugg directed the offense with 43 assists and continued to play solid defense with a team-high 14 digs to go with four blocks. She has a double-double in three straight matches and four of her last five.

Senior opposite Morgan Boukather continued her steady play with nine kills, five digs and three blocks, while juniors Brittany Howard and Burgess finished with seven kills each.

Howard posted a season-best six blocks, while Burgess tied her career high with five. Senior libero Kyle Gilbert had 13 digs, and has registered double-digit digs in all 19 matches this season.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics


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