No. 7 Stanford Gets Back On Winning Track Against New Mexico State

9/11/2008

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STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 7 Stanford women's volleyball team decisively showed that it was back on the winning track tonight, downing New Mexico State in three sets, 25-17, 25-16, 26-24, to begin the Stanford Invitational. In front of a crowd of more than 2,000, the Cardinal (5-2) put up a season-high 12 blocks and cruised to its fifth win of the season. New Mexico State falls to 4-5.

Sophomore Alix Klineman paced the Cardinal will 11 kills and three blocks, while senior Foluke Akinradewo came through with seven kills and six blocks. Fellow middle blocker Janet Okogbaa has seven kills as well, hit a career-best .583 and matched her season high with five blocks. New Mexico State was led by Lindsey Yon's 10 kills, and Stanford outhit the Aggies, .283 to .055.

Former Stanford great Kerri Walsh attended the match and was honored on the court after the second set. The four-time Stanford All-American greeted fans and signed autographs in the concourse of Maples Pavilion prior to the match.

With the victory, Head Coach John Dunning earned his 650th career win, the 17th coach all-time to do so.

Akinradewo's first of three blocks in the first set allowed the Cardinal to begin its process of inching away early on. The senior slammed a kill to make it 7-4, and after Cynthia Barboza ignited a three-point spurt, Stanford was up 11-6. With the help of teammates Erin Waller and Klineman, Akinradewo put up two more blocks to extend the lead to 17-10, putting the Aggies at a deficit they couldn't recover from. After back-to-back kills by Janet Okogbaa, Stanford raced ahead 22-15. The team took set point on a Waller kill at 24-17, and Akinradewo delivered her third kill of the set to finish things, 25-17. Stanford outhit NMSU .367 to .053 in the set, and was led by Barboza's four kills.

Stanford never let the Aggies get their bearings in the second set, using back-to-back Akinradewo blocks to take a 5-2 lead. Two more blocks by Okogbaa and Cassidy Lichtman pushed Stanford's lead to 11-4, and after a pair of Klineman kills, the Cardinal was up 13-5. Stanford rolled from there, with the team spreading out its offense to eventually take a 20-12 lead. The Aggies couldn't come any closer than six thereafter, and Barboza gave Stanford set point on kill at 24-16. An Aggie hitting error ended the set, 25-16. Stanford once again had the hitting advantage in the second set, .303 to .000.

Stanford was off balance to start set three, allowing the Aggies to take six of the first eight points. A Cardinal timeout fixed things in a hurry, however. Waller pounded her second kill of the night to start a 7-2 Cardinal run that put Stanford on top 9-8. Two kills by Amber Simpson helped the Aggies regain the lead, but three kills in a four-point span by Klineman put Stanford back in front, 16-13. Barboza pounded a kill soon after to make it 18-14, but New Mexico State wasn't ready to give up. Led by Yon, the Aggies put together a 7-2 run of their own and took over the lead at 21-20. Stanford stopped the run, but the Aggies squeaked out set point on a Yon kill at 24-23. Barboza pounded a kill off the block to tie things at 24, however, and an NMSU attacking error gave Stanford the chance to finish. Barboza blocked Whitney Woods for the final point, sealing the Stanford sweep with a 26-24 third-set victory.

Stanford returns to the court tomorrow night, battling UC Santa Barbara in its second match of the Stanford Invitational at 7 p.m. Santa Clara and New Mexico State will play at 4:30 p.m. to start the evening.

Article courtesy of Stanford athletics.

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