Sports

Burgess records milestone as Stanford advances to Sweet 16

 

Jordan Burgess recorded 15 kills and had 18 digs, becoming the ninth player in Stanford women's volleyball history to accumulate at least 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs as the top-ranked Cardinal beat visiting Michigan State, 25-20, 25-22, 24-26, 25-23, Saturday to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16.

Stanford (31-1) meets a familiar foe in Oregon State next Friday in Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. The Beavers (21-12) upset Creighton in four sets in the first round and then squeezed past Arkansas-Little Rock with a 19-17 fifth-set victory on Saturday.

Illinois (26-7) and Florida (27-3) also will play at Iowa State in a regional semifinal. The Cardinal needed five sets to beat Illinois earlier in the season and lost to Florida in four sets the when they played last season. Stanford is 5-4 all-time against the Gators.

"Oregon State, what a story," Stanford coach John Dunning said. "They didn't have a fun season last year and now they are so much better. I'm really happy for them."

The Cardinal has never lost to Oregon State in 58 matches. The Beavers finished the Pac-12 tied for seventh with Utah and Arizona State. The Utes and Sun Devils were eliminated in the second round.

"You have to get better every week," Dunning said. "This time of the year is just awesome. I love this time of the year and I think the team does well."

Burgess netted her 17th double-double as Stanford qualified for its 19th Sweet 16 appearance in the past 22 years.

"I've been lucky enough to play all three years I've been here," Burgess said. "Madi (Bugg) does a good job of setting me. It was a must-win situation and the team stayed in control."

Inky Ajanaku, who added 13 kills on a hitting percentage of .458, called her one assist of the evening "my favorite stat." That's because it came on a kill to Burgess that moved Stanford to match point.

Bugg, who leads in the nation with about 12 assists per set, didn't have to take the reception "but I'm glad she did," Ajanaku said. ""I'm always confident in my setting."

Bugg, the two-time Pac-12 Setter of the Year, had 53 assists of her own, including the one to set up Burgess for the match.

Stanford has played 26 of its 32 matches against teams that reached the postseason and all that experience pays off at this time of the year. Michigan State won the third set, but not easily. The Cardinal recovered from a 15-7 deficit to take a 19-18 lead.

"I always expect us to make the hard comebacks," Ajanaku said. "It was great."

Brittany Howard, who rolled her ankle in Friday's win over Cal State Bakersfield, didn't seem bothered one iota by it against the Spartans. She had 12 kills and 10 digs for her second double-double.

Megan Boukather added eight kills and 10 digs and Merete Lutz had 10 kills and hit .450.

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