Kathryn Plummer recorded 21 kills and Meghan McClure recorded a double-double to help the second-ranked Stanford women’s volleyball team beat visiting No. 17 Oregon, 26-24, 25-22, 22-25, 25-11, Thursday to clinch at least a share of the Pac-12 Conference title with five matches remaining.
The Cardinal (23-1, 15-0) can clinch the title outright with a victory over visiting Oregon State on Friday, with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m.
Meghan McClure/Stanford Athletics
Stanford, which won its 21st consecutive match and its 30th straight at Maples Pavilion, hit .259 and had 18.5 team blocks. Oregon (16-9, 9-6), which entered the match second in the conference with a .261 hitting percentage, was held to a .171 clip.
Setter Jenna Gray controlled the offense with 47 assists. The junior set a season-high with seven blocks and matched her season-best with eight digs. Junior opposite Audriana Fitzmorris recorded seven kills and three blocks and junior libero Morgan Hentz finished with 13 digs.
Stanford was without senior middle blocker Tami Alade, who missed the match due to injury. Senior Courtney Bowen started in her place and tallied a career-high 10 blocks and had seven kills. Freshman middle blocker Holly Campbell hit .467 with eight kills and tied her career-high with eight blocks.
The postmatch Pac-12 trophy presentation Thursday night was about as muted as one could imagine after Stanford lost its regular-season finale to Cal, 1-0, on an 85th minute goal at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
Stanford received the trophy for having already clinched a share of its fifth consecutive Pac-12 championship. But the Cardinal, just under five minutes from claiming the title outright with a draw, instead was drained of the desire to celebrate.
Stanford still can win the conference outright, but must hope for something other than an Oregon State victory at Washington on Friday to do so.
The bigger question is whether the result can help Stanford in the NCAA tournament as it prepares to defend its three consecutive national championships.
“If anything positive comes out of this, hopefully it’s a good lesson to be learned,” Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. “We need to be all guns blazing. Nothing else is going to be good enough.”
Stanford (11-3-4 overall, 7-2-1) was on the way to extending its unbeaten streak to seven when Cal (7-9-2, 3-7-0) threatened with a scorching shot that goalkeeper Andrew Thomas parried over the crossbar while in full flight.
That set up a corner kick that Cal’s Sam Junqua struck with a left-footed outswinger into a crowded goal box. The ball was met with a diving header from JJ Foe Nuphaus that snuck inside the near post at 84:03.
The goal took away from a remarkable performance from Thomas, who earlier tipped a long-range shot away from the upper right corner with a flying cross-body save. Facing a one-on-one in the second half, Thomas cut the angle and deflected another dangerous chance. He finished with three saves; all spectacular.
“The game’s about scoring goals and stopping goals, so if you have a keeper playing well, it keeps you in games,” Gunn said. “Naturally, though, we want him to do as little as possible.”
Stanford outshot the Golden Bears, 12-10, but the Cardinal attack lacked flow and rarely tested Cal.
“Whatever your circumstances, you have to make positive of it,” Gunn said. “Certainly on a night like tonight, hopefully it reminds people that every challenge has to be made and we have to be completely committed to the incredible soccer that we usually play.”
Stanford and Cal have been playing each other since 1911, often for various cups and trophies that signify bragging rights in the local derby. The Pac-12 trophy, presented to captain Tanner Beason after the match, was significant even if it didn’t feel like it.
“It’s an amazing feat what this group has done, something that’s unprecedented,” Gunn said. “In that respect, it’s an awesome achievement. But on the night, we didn’t play like we can.”
The match closed the home regular-season careers of seniors Amir Bashti, Collin Liberty, Adam Mosharrafa, and Eduardo Palacios Fabre.
“We’ve finished the season in an unbelievable position,” Gunn said. “Now we draw a line behind the regular season and now we look forward to the postseason. We’ll be ready to go.”
Fourth-ranked Menlo College won nine of 10 matches, eight by pin or technical fall, and the Oaks thumped host Southern Oregon, 40-4, in their first dual meet of the season.
The night began with Hiba Salem picking up a forfeit victory at 101 freshman Alleida Martinez and Gracie Figueroa each earned their first career collegiate dual victories.
Martinez made quick work of her opponent, Jade Martin, pinning her in 47 seconds at 109 pounds. At 116 pounds, Figueroa was perfect in a 10-0 tech fall over Tara Othman.
Sophomore Tiana Jackson made it four straight wins when she won 10-0 via tech fall over Glory Konecny at 123 pounds.
Solin Piearcy won by tech fall (11-0) at 136 pounds, Angela Peralta pinned Julissa Taitano at 136 pounds and Iman Kazem won by tech fall over Olivia Pizano, 10-0.
The night ended with Precious Bell earning a 10-0 tech fall over Karrah Smith and Emily Sandoval winning a 12-2 tech fall over Tristyn Borden.
Sixth-ranked Menlo beat host Southern Oregon, 27-15, Thursday as freshman Riley Siason, wrestling in his first collegiate dual, won by way of tech fall (17-1) over Christian Rendon.
The Oaks early 5-0 lead proved vital in creating momentum that lasted through the match.
Blaysen Terukina followed with a pin at 6:22, Sebastian Marin rode out the last 1:30 of his match to earn a 3-2 decision and it was suddenly 14-0.
Jordan Bernal (165) defeated Micah Arakawa, 10-6, Young Woo An pinned Cody Stahl in 1:53 at 174 pounds and Anthony Orozco, wrestling up a weight class at 184, recorded a 12-2 major decision over C.J. McKinnis.
The Oaks return to action at the annual Roadrunner Open in Bakersfield on Nov. 18.
Henry Cornelious scored 15 points and John Paine netted 12 points to go with seven rebounds but Menlo College let a late lead slip away and fell, 61-58, to host Chapman in a nonconference game Thursday.
Kevin Marlow, who finished with 15 points, hit a 3-pointer with 4:24 remaining to play to give Chapman a 52-51 lead.
The Oaks led 51-47 after a Cornelious layup a minute earlier. Marlow scored the next eight points of the contest and Chapman, in its season opener, never looked back.
Menlo (1-3) plays an exhibition game at Long Beach State on Saturday.