Playing at home for the first time in 26 days, the seventh-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team defeated No. 19 Colorado, 25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 25-18, Friday in Maples Pavilion.
The Cardinal moves to 10-3 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-12, while the Buffaloes fall to 10-5 and 2-3 in the conference. Stanford, which leads the nation in blocks per set, totaled 18 in the four sets and held Colorado to a .155 attack percentage.
Redshirt junior opposite Merete Lutz hit a team-high .407 with 12 kills and just one error on 27 swings. She also collected five blocks and two digs. Freshman Audriana Fitzmorris added nine kills and four blocks, while redshirt senior Inky Ajanaku had eight kills, seven blocks and the first two aces of her career.
The Cardinal continued to utilize a 6-2, with senior setter Kelsey Humphreys posting 25 assists and seven digs, while freshman setter Jenna Gray totaled 23 assists and six digs. Freshman libero Morgan Hentzracked-up 15 digs and three assists, while defensive specialist Halland McKenna was the third Cardinal player with double-digit digs (11).
Up next, Stanford plays host to Utah on Sunday at 1 p.m.
A raucous rivalry atmosphere and a two-goal deficit wasn't enough to stymie the 18th-ranked Cardinal Friday night as it won a 3-2 shootout thriller over Cal in its first game at Underhill Field in Berkeley.
The first half saw the Cardinal (6-4, 2-0 America East) outshoot the Bears 7-to-5, but Cal (3-7, 0-2 America East) made the most of their shots, scoring two in the half off of penalty corners. Stanford's offense started to click by the end of the period as it finally capitalized on one of its five penalty corners as time expired to see Kristina Bassi set up Nina Randolph for her third goal of the year to make it 2-1 headed into the break.
"I saw an incredible amount of growth in our team today," said Cardinal coach Tara Danielson, "In this game I saw us mature and really play for the team. Every player stepped up to give everything they had in a championship-type atmosphere. The team showed its resiliency, and even in a two-goal deficit they remained patient and focused on the game plan. I'm incredibly excited for what we showcased as a team today and the next step is to finish our attacks."
The second half was all Stanford as it went on full attack mode to put up nine more shots while shutting out Cal on offense. The Cardinal capitalized yet again on a deflection that Sarah Helgeson dropped in for her fourth goal of the year to knot it at 2-2 and send it into overtime.
The first overtime period saw the Cardinal continue dominating with four shots, while still holding Cal to zero. Stanford was given a green card in the period, but the impeccably stalwart defense was able to kill it without allowing the Bears an opportunity and sending it into double overtime.
The story remained the same in double OT as the Cardinal kept the pressure on with two more shots and blanking the Bears, but neither could end it in overtime as it headed to a shootout.
In a thrilling shootout, the Bears went first, but Kelsey Bing was an unreal presence in the goal, shutting out every Bear attack but one. The Cardinal found quick success as Millie Stefanowicz went first to outmaneuver Cal's Kori Griswold to take the 1-0 lead. Griswold held off the next two attacks, but Bing's play gave Fran Tew the opportunity to end it, which she did with an elusive reverse to put it past Griswold and clinch the win.
The Cardinal returns home to host conference-rival Pacific Sunday at noon.
Emma Higuchi topped Cal's Alexis Nelson, 6-1, 6-3, in the first round of the A Singles at the St. Mary's Fall Invitational on Friday.
Higuchi advances to meet USF's Gen McCloskey on Saturday morning.
Stanford sophomore Caroline Lampl was forced to withdraw from her first round match due to illness.
In B Singles, Stanford's Elizabeth Yao beat USF's Jiayu Mu, 6-3, 6-3, and will UC Davis' Samantha Martino on Saturday.
Noamie Rosenberg also advanced with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over Cal Poly's Louise Oxnevad. She'll play second-seeded Anna-Marie Nau of Sacramento State next.
Higuchi and Rosenberg dropped their first round doubles match.