On a night when two of the nation's top hitters struggled, top-ranked Stanford turned to its treasure trove of volleyball talent to conduct business Friday night.
Jordan Burgess recorded a career-high 27 kills, libero Kyle Gilbert set a school record with 40 digs and the Cardinal managed to fend off yet another challenger to the throne, beating visiting Arizona, 25-20, 23-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-9, in a Pac-12 Conference match.
Stanford (14-0 Pac-12, 24-0 overall) doesn't get much time off, heading to Southern California to take on UCLA on Wednesday night and USC on Thursday night.
Burgess and Gilbert were not alone in recording record numbers against the Wildcats, who, allow with the Cardinal, are the top digging teams in the Pac-12. They combined for 219 of them.
Junior setter Madi Bugg and senior opposite Morgan Boukather also got in on the defensive action, each recording a career-high 24 digs. Bugg added 58 assists and three blocks for her 12th double-double of the year.
Burgess hit .375 after converting 27 kills on a career high 64 attempts with just three errors. She also registered 10 digs, including the 1,000th of her career, to notch her 15th double-double of the year.
Arizona did a good job of defending Stanford's middles. Junior Inky Ajanaku, third in the nation in hitting percentage, finished with 10 kills and five blocks, while redshirt freshman Merete Lutz, the national leader in hitting percentage, had seven kills and six blocks. They combined to hit .130.
Stanford gave away 10 points in the fourth set, but went error-free in the final set. The final six points for the Cardinal included three kills from Howard and three attack errors from the Wildcats.
Stanford was ahead, 21-18, in the fourth set before losing four consecutive points. Burgess tied the set at 22 when the Wildcats scored the final three points, two on Stanford attack errors.
Jessica Chisholm scored on a penalty corner with no time remaining to lift No. 4 Stanford past UC Davis, 2-1, on Friday at the NorPac tournament semifinals in Stockton.
The victory moved the Cardinal to 18-1 on the year, setting a program mark for wins, and extended its winning-streak to 12 games.
Stanford advances to its ninth consecutive NorPac Tournament Championship, meeting Liberty for the third straight year Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Friday's contest was eerily similar to the meeting between the two teams just a week ago with Stanford dominating the possession throughout the game but having trouble finding the back of the net. In both contests, UC Davis scored a late equalizer and the Cardinal responded with a winner from Chisholm on a penalty corner in the final minutes to secure the win.
The Cardinal held advantages in shots (15-3) and penalty corners (6-2). Stanford has limited opponents to one goal or less in 18 of 19 games this season.
Lauren Becker ended t in the scoreless drought in the 42nd minute, dribbling into the circle and sneaking a shot into the left corner of the cage for her ninth goal on the year.
The Cardinal remained in control for the rest of the half until UC Davis (5-14) threw numbers forward with five minutes to play. The Aggies' wer able to knot the score on their first shot of the contest.
Stanford refocused and controlled the run of play over the final four minutes. The Cardinal earned a penalty corner with half a minute to play.
As the clock struck 0:00, Elise Ogle inserted a pass to Maddie Secco, who set the ball for Kelsey Harbin.
Harbin deftly slid the ball to Chisholm, who fired a shot that deflected off a defender and landed in the back of the goal.