No. 2 Stanford Sweeps Long Beach State To Punch Ticket To Round Of 16


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STANFORD, Calif. - One of five seeded teams to face a ranked opponent in the second round, the No. 2 Stanford women's volleyball team made it look easy. The Cardinal handily defeated No. 24 Long Beach State tonight, 25-15, 25-21, 25-15, at Maples Pavilion, and cruised into next week's round of 16.

The Cardinal enters its third consecutive NCAA Regional with a 28-3 record, and will play Florida in Fort Collins, Colo. on Friday. Long Beach State, the 2008 Big West Champion, ends its season with a 26-6 record.

Stanford wrapped up its home season with a 13-1 record at Maples Pavilion. Currently riding a season-long 13 match win streak, Stanford is one of five Pac-10 teams to advance to a regional semifinal this year.

In just an hour and 21 minutes, three Cardinal players managed double-doubles, including senior Cynthia Barboza, who earned her team-leading 14th of the year. The outside hitter, who is a native of Long Beach, did the most damage to her hometown school with 15 kills and 10 digs. She also hit a team-high .467 and recorded an ace in the first set that moved her in into a tie for ninth place on the Stanford career chart.

Sophomore outside hitter Alix Klineman (12 kills, 13 digs) and sophomore setter Cassidy Lichtman (41 assists, 16 digs) both turned in their 10th double-doubles of the year. Lichtman's 16 digs led the team and marked a career high, while her 41 assists were a career best for a three-set match.

Senior middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo rounded out the players in double figures, adding 10 kills to the Cardinal effort on just 16 swings (.438). Sophomore libero Gabi Ailes reached double-figure digs for the 12th time in the last 13 matches, turning in 13 digs along with two service aces.

Long Beach State was led by freshman outside hitter Caitlin Ledoux and senior outside hitter Quincy Verdin, who both contributed eight kills to the 49er effort. Senior libero Iris Murray led the team with 14 digs.

Stanford outhit Long Beach State .319 to .115. The Cardinal's sweep was its 21st of the year, matching its total from 2007. The win sent Stanford to the round of 16 for the third straight year and the seventh time in John Dunning's eight-year tenure. The program earned its 89th NCAA Tournament victory, more than any other school in the nation.

Stanford wasted no time racing ahead in the opening set, beginning the match with an 8-2 run. Barboza and Akinradewo each had two kills to lead the opening spurt, and the Cardinal never looked back. Junior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa put up two blocks in a row to help Stanford take three straight points and go up 11-3, and Klineman added a kill and block back-to-back to make it 13-4. The Cardinal took its first double-digit lead on a 49er hitting error at 16-6, then steadily made its way to the finish. Stanford took set point on a Long Beach State service error at 24-14 and Akinradewo sealed the win a point later with her fourth kill, 25-15. The Cardinal outhit the 49ers .452 to .132 in the first set, and was led by Barboza's six kills.

Stanford pushed ahead quickly in the second set as well, using two kills and an ace by Barboza to nab a 6-2 lead. The 49ers hung tough, however, coming within two on six occasions before finally catching up. At 14-13, a Cardinal ball-handling error trimmed the lead to just one, and three 49er kills in a row soon gave the visitors their first lead of the match, 16-15. Stanford took a timeout, gathered itself and responded with a 4-0 run, however, never allowing the 49ers back in front. Akinradewo later put up two critical blocks in a row and put Stanford in position to win, 23-18. Senior Erin Waller drove a ball down the line for set point at 24-21, and Barboza picked up the winner, 25-21. LBSU posted its best hitting clip of the match (.163) but fell short of Stanford's .268 mark.

The third set played out in similar fashion to the first, with Stanford racing ahead out of the gates and never allowing the 49ers to get in the game. A Long Beach State hitting error at 2-2 started an 8-2 Cardinal run that was wrapped up by an Akinradewo kill at 9-3. Soon after, Klineman helped Stanford come up with another 8-2 run, pounding two kills in a rally that extended the lead to 17-6. From there, Long Beach State stopped the onslaught, but could do little to catch up. The 49ers best effort came at 20-13, when their third block of the night trimmed the lead to seven. Stanford rallied from there, however, and Klineman picked up a kill and block to carry the Cardinal to set point, 24-14. After one LBSU point, Okogbaa tipped the winner onto the 49er side, sealing Stanford's third straight trip to the round of 16, 25-15. The Cardinal hit .268 in the final set to Long Beach's .045 clip. Klineman had five of her 12 kills in the final set.

Stanford's match with No. 11 Florida will take place on Friday in Fort Collins, Colo. at a time to be determined. The winner will take on either Purdue or Hawai'i on Saturday for a trip to the 2008 Final Four.

Article courtesy of Stanford athletics.

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