The 10th-ranked Stanford women's sand volleyball team opened its inaugural season with a 4-1 win over Santa Clara, Tuesday, at the ACSR Sand Volleyball Courts.
"Adding a sport is a big deal," said Stanford head coach John Dunning, "and so this is a big day for the Stanford sand volleyball team. This is big time; this is cool.
"It's an amazing day out. It's awesome that people decided to come out for the first day."
A good crowd turned out to watch the first-ever match in the sand, featuring Stanford's 11 players from the indoor volleyball season.
Four of Stanford's five pairs earned wins in their debuts, while the fifth pair pushed its opponents to extra points in the deciding third set.
Stanford's No. 1 doubles team of Jordan Burgess and Carly Wopat secured the first win of the afternoon defeating Santa Clara's Taylor Milton and Dani Rottman, 21-18, 21-15. Wopat finished with 12 kills and nine digs, while Burgess turned in nine kills and 24 digs.
"That was a lot of fun," said Wopat. "I can't wait to get back out there.
"Coming into the first match, we (Jordan and I) were trying to have fun, and as we kept going we started to get better and better, noticing things and getting used to the game. I think if we keep doing that, keep on improving, it'll be great. And getting the first win feels awesome, it's really exciting. Jordan and I were just super stoked and happy."
Madi Bugg and Brittany Howard followed up with a three-set win over Kat Douglas and Sarah Vocano (17-21, 21-19, 15-9) to give the Cardinal the 2-0 lead in the match. Bugg put down an ace on match point to seal the win, totaling 10 kills, 19 digs and three aces. Howard added 15 kills, 12 digs and three aces.
In arguably the most competitive match of the afternoon, Santa Clara's No. 2 team of Haley Cameron and Alyssa Anderson posted a 23-25, 21-17, 17-15 win over Stanford's Kyle Gilbert and Rachel Williams. Gilbert notched 10 kills and 14 digs, while Williams tallied 18 kills.
Morgan Boukather and Megan McGehee clinched the win for the Cardinal with a 21-15, 21-19 decision over Kim Meyers and Lacey Maas.
Inky Ajanaku and Mary Ellen Luck also picked up a win for Stanford, defeating Katy Schatzman and Chloe Sliger, 21-16, 21-13. Ajanaku tured in 19 kills, 14 digs and three aces, while Luck added nine kills, 18 digs and three aces.
Among those in attendance for the inaugural match were Stanford alums and Indianapolis Colts teammates Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener, former Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor and former Stanford women's volleyball player Cynthia Barboza, who was part of the Pac-12 Networks broadcasting crew.
Dunning said 30 teams from around the country are playing this season. Sand volleyball was added to the list of NCAA emerging sports for women prior to the 2011-12 academic year. Fifteen schools competed in sand volleyball during the spring of 2012 and 15 more, including Stanford, have added the sport in 2013.
"We have some experience on our staff. Denise Corlett, our associate head coach for the indoor team, has been around (sand volleyball) a lot. Sara Dukes, our volunteer coach, played after she played here as an indoor player," Dunning told the Stanford Daily. "The main thing that I'm concerned with is what this is doing to make our indoor team do better, as well. We're competing to win here and all 11 who are playing here are on our indoor team as well, so it's going to help make our indoor team better, there's no doubt about it."
The Cardinal next will travel to the Sacramento State tournament on Sunday. Stanford will face the host Hornets at noon and St. Mary's at 3 p.m.
Senior Teagan Gerhart started the day on a good note and made sure it finished that way too. In between, Jenna Rich reached another milestone and No. 23 Stanford team enjoyed a doubleheader sweep, 7-0 and 8-6, of host Oregon State in Pac-12 action Tuesday in Corvallis.
Gerhart pitched a three-hitter in the first game and then came to record the final four outs of the second game to earn the save.
Rich moved into sole possession of second place on Stanford's all-time RBI list with her second-game performance.
She has 191, passing former Stanford All-American and three-time Olympian Jessica Mendoza. Sarah Beeson is the Cardinal career leader with 201 RBI, a mark Rich should surpass sometime this season.
In the first game, Kayla Bonstrom had two hits and drove in two runs as the Cardinal (4-4, 26-9) beat Oregon State for the seventh straight time, and nine of 10 overall.
Gerhart (14-4) threw her second consecutive shutout and fifth of the season. She walked one and struck out six, giving her 107 on the season.
Leah White had three hits for the Cardinal, while Hanna Winter and Rich each added two hits.
Sarah Hassman and Leah White each singled to open the top of the first inning. After White stole second, Bonstrom singled on a 1-2 pitch to score both runners.
The Beavers put their first two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh, but Gerhart, who lowered her ERA to 1.28, got out of the inning with a strikeout and two pop outs
Rich drove in four runs on three hits in the second game. Gerhart got the final four outs for her Pac-12 leading fourth save.
Leah White and Jessica Plaza also drove in runs for the Cardinal, which owns an eight-game win streak over Oregon State and has won 10 of 11 overall.
Stanford completes the series with the Beavers with a noon game Wednesday in Corvallis.
Rich has 26 RBI on the year, and the fewest she has ever driven in was 47 as a freshman. She's improved that mark every season.
A second consecutive double-double from Steven Irvin helped Stanford sweep host Pacific, 25-22, 25-21, 25-17, in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men's volleyball action Tuesday and snap a four-match losing streak.
The Cardinal (13-10 overall, 10-10 MPSF) got 11 kills and 12 digs from Irvin, 13 kills from Brian Cook, and 10 from Daniel Tublin to complete a season sweep of the two-match series against Pacific (7-17, 4-16), the only other NCAA Division I program in Northern California.
Stanford beat the Tigers for the 11th consecutive time and did so with a stout .313 hitting percentage.
The Cardinal improved its road record to 4-7 and maintained its spot among the conference's top eight teams with four matches remaining in the regular season.
The top eight advance to the MPSF tournament to play for the conference's lone automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Irvin, who also was in double-digits in kills and digs against Long Beach State on Saturday, helped the Cardinal end its longest losing streak since 2007.
Stanford next plays at No. 2 UC Irvine on Friday and UC San Diego on Saturday before completing the regular season at Maples Pavilion with matches against Cal Baptist and BYU on April 12-13.
Stanford won the St. Francis Interconference to highlight a weekend that saw the Cardinal sailors finish in the top five of four events. The Cardinal was second at the Southern New England Team Race, third at the Ferrone Team Race and fifth at the Dellenbaugh Women's Trophy.
Kieran Chung-Wolf and Yuri Namikawa won the A-Division of the St. Francis Interconference with 38 points as Hans Henken and Rebecca King totaled 30 points to win the B-Division. Stanford's 68 points put it ahead of second-place Washington (98) and third-place Long Beach (115) in the meet held in Bay Area waters.
Stanford went 11-5 at the Southern New England Team Race hosted by Connecticut College. A first-round 8-3 record was followed by a 3-2 mark in the next circuit with losses to Georgetown and Yale.
Sally Mace, Katie Riklin, Molly McKinney, Natalie Urban and Helena Scutt competed for the Cardinal at the Dellenbaugh Women's Trophy hosted by Brown, where the Cardinal was fifth overall with 169 points.
The A-Division tandem of Mace and Riklin was eighth (87) while McKinney, Urban and Scutt teamed to place sixth in the B-Division.
During the third-place run at the Ferrone Team Race in New Haven, Conn., Stanford (9-8) finished only behind Harvard (17-1) and Vermont (12-5).