Beach volleyball back in the desert
Stanford Beach Volleyball (14-3, 5-2 Pac-12) is on a roll. With 13 straight wins under their belt, the team broke the program record, an 11-game winning streak in 2018 and knocked out four top-15 teams in the process.
Whether the Cardinal can continue his winning streak through his toughest challenge yet will be determined this week. Back in the desert for the second time in two weeks, Stanford will face No. 12 Arizona, No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 USC and No. 11 Cal at the Pac-12 North Invitational on Saturday and Sunday. .
The Wildcats will kick off Stanford’s weekend at Phoenix with a game at 11:30 a.m. PT on Saturday. Arizona will be looking to avenge a 3-2 loss inflicted by the Cardinal two weeks ago at the Pac-12 South Invitational. Junior Charlie Ekstrom and senior Sunny Villapando earned the game’s first point as the No. 1 duo, but Arizona fought back with a No. 5 steal victory. The No. 2 pair of freshmen of Stanford, Xolani Hodel and Kate Reilly, made it 2-1 after beating Wildcats Brooke Burling and Sarah Blacker.
When Arizona responded with a win on court three, it was juniors Maddie Dailey and Jordan McKinney who clinched the victory for the Cardinal with a decisive 21-19, 19-21, 15-11 vol. 4. Both teams come into Saturday’s game with momentum – the Cardinal is obviously coming off their 13-0 streak and the Wildcats are coming off a dominating loss to No. 8 Pepperdine on April 3.
Stanford’s second contender on Saturday will be the last team to inflict a defeat on the Cardinal: UCLA. The teams last met Feb. 27 during Stanford’s season-opening trip to Southern California, and the Cardinal returned to the farm nearly empty-handed after losing both games to the bruins. A day earlier, Stanford shared a pair of contests against Long Beach State.
UCLA faced little resistance from Stanford in the teams’ second battle, in which the Bruins earned a 5-0 shutout victory. Only one Cardinal pair — Ekstrom and Reilly in flight No. 2 — managed to break 20 points, doing it in a single set against UCLA’s Devon Newberry and Lindsay Sparks, but couldn’t capitalize and fell 23- 21 after being downed 21-16 in the previous set.
While Stanford has climbed the rankings in recent weeks, UCLA has been little swayed from its No. .
USC begins Stanford action Sunday at 11:30 a.m. PT for the teams’ first meeting this season. Cal follows at 4:00 p.m. PT, and the Cardinal will look to repeat against the Golden Bears after picking up a 3-2 win over the rival earlier this month.