VOLLEYBALL FALLS TO NO. 1 SEED STANFORD IN THE SECOND ROUND OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
STANFORD, Calif. – Cynthia Barboza (16) and Foluke Akinradewo (16) combined for 32 of Stanford’s 61 kills to lead the No. 1 seed Cardinal to a 3-0 (30-23, 30-11, 30-28) victory over Sacramento State in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament Saturday evening at Maples Pavilion.
With the loss, Sacramento State concludes its season with a 29-8 overall record. Winners of the Big Sky Conference Tournament, the Hornets were making their sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 10th in the last 11 years. Sacramento State reached the second round of the tourney by virtue of beating Minnesota, 3-1, in the first round yesterday while Stanford swept Santa Clara. The second-round appearance in the Big Dance was the second (1998) for the Hornets since the program joined the Div. I ranks in 1991.
Stanford, which is one of just two programs (Penn State) to reach the NCAA Tournament every year since the championships began in 1981, will advance to Regional play (Sweet 16) where the team will face Cal Poly next week inside Maples Pavilion. Stanford (29-2) is ranked fourth in the nation by the AVCA, and received the tournament’s No. 1 seed.
Sacramento State was playing its NCAA Tournament draw at Maples Pavilion for the fifth time in the last six years. The Hornets have fallen to Stanford in the NCAA Tournament four times during that time span (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007), with the other three matches coming in first-round tilts. Stanford is now 10-0 all-time against the Hornets, and owns the longest current winning streak of any team against Sacramento State. In fact, only one other opponent (San Diego) currently owns longer than a three-match winning streak against the Hornets.
The contest was also the last in the storied career of Sacramento State head coach Debby Colberg. In her 32nd and final season with the program, Colberg, who was honored in a brief ceremony before last night’s victory over Minnesota, will be inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame later this month. She finishes her career with an 828-292 record, along with two national titles, 20 NCAA Tournament appearances, 18 conference championships and 16 coach of the year awards. Her teams posted 30 winning seasons during her 32-year tenure with the Hornets.
Stanford took control of game number one, posting a 26-11 run after the match was tied up at 3-3 to take a 29-14 lead before Sacramento State rallied. Behind the service of junior defensive specialist Katie Van Der Wende and four kills and a block assist from senior middle hitter Lindsay Haupt, the Hornets went on a 9-0 run before a kill from Cardinal opposite Erin Waller put the nail in a 30-23 game one victory.
Game two saw Stanford rebound from the momentum the Hornets gained from the end of the previous game, running off eight of the first nine points, and never turning back. The Hornets mustered just seven kills on the game, hitting ,028 to the Cardinal’s .541 hitting percentage.
The final game was a back and forth affair that saw the Hornets rebound from an 11-7 deficit to take a 12-11 lead, behind the service of senior Missie Stidham, whose service ace gave Sacramento State a one-point advantage. The lead was then traded back and forth through the middle stages of the game, with the Hornets last lead coming at 22-21. Sacramento State went on a 3-0 run to tie the game at 28-28, before Cardinal freshman outside hitter Alix Klineman recorded a kill, which was followed by an attack error by Haupt to close out the match.
Sacramento State was led by Stidham and Haupt, who recorded 13 kills apiece, while senior outside hitter Jennifer Ferguson recorded nine kills, a team-high .320 hitting percentage and a match-high 14 digs. Haupt also added three blocks, and senior Michelle Franz tallied five kills and a solo block.
For the match, the Cardinal outhit the Hornets .409 to .191, with Stanford tallying 61 kills to the Hornets 40. Sacramento State was also outdug, 53-35, and outblocked, 9.5-4.0
Joining Barboza and Akinradewo in double-figure kills for Stanford was Alix Klineman (11). Franci Girard added nine kills and three blocks.
Sacramento State loses five seniors heading into next year. Those include middle hitters Haupt and Franz, outside hitters Ferguson and Stidham, and defensive specialist Alexandra Vidal. Haupt and Stidham were both first team all-Big Sky selections this year, with Haupt taking home conference MVP honors. Ruben Volta, who is currently in his eighth season on Colberg’s staff, will take over the head coaching duties next season.