Stanford Staves Off Texas Comeback Bid in 3-2 Win


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OMAHA, Neb. - Alix Klineman had four of her team-high 21 kills in the fifth set, as second-ranked Stanford held off No. 3 Texas, 3-2 (25-17, 25-19, 25-27, 20-25, 15-10) at the Runza/AVCA Showcase in Omaha Sunday afternoon.

Klineman hit .312 on the match and added 13 digs, as she was one of three Cardinal hitters to record double-doubles in the win. Cynthia Barboza chipped in 18 kills and 14 digs, while Cassidy Lichtman nearly recorded a triple-double with 10 kills on .533 hitting, 31 assists and nine digs to help the Cardinal even their record at 1-1.

Texas' Destinee Hooker led all players with 24 kills on .365 hitting, while Ashley Engle added 12 kills and six stuffs, as the Longhorns fell to 1-1 on the campaign. Hooker rallied Texas back after the Longhorns dropped the first two sets, delivering eight kills in game three, as Texas fought off the Cardinal's first match point to keep the match alive.

In game four, Engle kept Texas alive with seven kills and two blocks, as the Longhorns forced game five with a 25-20 victory.

In the finale, Stanford fell behind 9-7, but three straight kills put the Cardinal ahead 10-9 on a Barboza kill. Hooker's final kill of the night tied it at 10-apiece, but a service error and a Barboza kill gave the Cardinal a lead they would not relinquish, as Texas closed the match with three straight hitting errors.

Press Conference Quotes

Texas Head Coach Jerritt Elliott

Opening statement
"This tournament was designed for real tough competition, and we got it. Stanford played a much better match tonight. They have a real great program. We were a little uneasy in games one and two and couldn't really get a rhythm going. In years past, I felt like we would have folded, but this year we battled back and put ourselves in a position to win game five. We really didn't execute in the end, but I'm pretty sure with this group's energy level, their focus and their competitive spirit that we'll be a real great team by the end of the year."

On what the team will take away from the Runza/AVCA Challenge
"I think a level of intensity and a level of execution it takes to win. We also will take away the ability to play through when we're not playing well and that's going to put us in a good position during other matches at the end of the season."

On the Texas hitters
"We have a lot of weapons and once we could control the ball, I felt that Michelle (Kocher) did a good job with the hitters. We were hitting one-on-one (situations) a lot. We were committed to it. I thought our approach speeds were really good. I thought that when we had a rhythm going, it was really good. We just could not sustain that in game five."

Right Side Hitter Ashley Engle

On taking Stanford to five sets
"I love that about this school, and Jerritt (Elliott) coming in and challenging us right off the bat. Obviously we have five freshmen, three of who are already seeing playing time in these huge matches. I think it's a great growing experience. I definitely think that it's awful to lose in five especially, but it's great to see that we have the fight to come back after not performing very well in the first two games. Stanford's a great team, so we can't take anything away from them. Now we just have to get back in the gym and work on it."

On the difference between sets two and three
"I think that we just made adjustments. We kind of knew what was happening, but we just weren't making adjustments quick enough. I think after game two, we really got into a panic mode because it's only three games if we're going to lose. We started picking up the tips and started slowing the game and playing Texas-style volleyball which got us our next two wins."

Stanford Head Coach John Dunning

Opening Statement
I'm really proud of our team for how we reacted after how we played on Friday night. We really kind of stayed together and gathered ourselves and played at a completely different level tonight. That is a really good thing for our season.

General thoughts on the Match
I think the key is how together they stayed and how hard they fought. They didn't let things bother them. We obviously played well the first two games, maybe surprised Texas and then they took the game away from us. We could have gone south, especially when they went ahead in game five, but I thought we were very composed and did a great job. A lot of that is due to our seniors; they held it together really well. Cynthia (Barboza) and Alix (Klineman) took a lot of really good swings on the outside so our setters must have set some really good balls.

We pretty much left it alone for game three. We tried to make an adjustment at game four, but it didn't work so well. I flipped the lineup around a little bit and we got someone new in the lineup. She did fine, but it just was difference. They started well and they were on us. Then in game five, I think we just kind of kept our composure. We decided to go outside with Cynthia a lot in the end, we had a good match-up for her and she took a lot of great swings.

Cynthia Barboza

General thoughts
The main difference between today and when we played Nebraska was our intensity level. We were fighting for points; we weren't just waiting for things to happen to us. I think we really came out wanting to feel different from the way we felt on Friday night, and I think we succeeded in that. Win or lose that match, we played so much better than we did the night before.

On the combating their play after the first two sets
We did a really good job of jumping on them in the first two games, but at no point in the match did we think they were ever just going to fold over. We knew they were going to come back after the second game with more intensity and more firepower, and they absolutely did. They played great all the way through to the fifth game. I'm just glad we ended up on top.

On what they learned
I think we learned how we want to be on the court, what the intensity level has to be for us to play our best. I think we did a really good job of staying together as a team and playing together.

Article courtesy of Stanford athletics.

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