The sixth-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team remained within striking distance of the conference leaders after beating host Utah, 25-17, 25-15, 25-17, in a Pac-12 Conference match Sunday.
Sophomore middle blocker Inky Ajanaku led the Cardinal with nine kills on 14 attempts, with no errors, for a .643 hitting percentage.
Sophomore outside hitter Jordan Burgess also registered nine kills to go with eight digs, including the 600th of her career, and two blocks.
"I'm happy with the way we started," Ajanaku said. "That's how we want to start every match."
Senior Carly Wopat finished with eight kills and a team-high six blocks, while senior Rachel Williams added eight kills and six digs.
Sophomore setter Madi Bugg controlled the offense with 33 assists. She also recorded eight digs, three kills and three blocks. Junior libero Kyle Gilbert finished with a team-best 12 digs.
Sophomore outside hitter Brittany Howard finished with six kills and 10 digs. Howard notched her 500th career kill in the opening set. Overall, Stanford finished with nine blocks, while Utah posted seven.
"The passing has been awesome," Ajanaku said. "It makes running the offense easy when the passing is great."
Men's water polo
The Stanford defense clamped down on Long Beach State over the second and third periods Sunday as the Cardinal extended its winning streak to seven with an 11-8 win over the host 49ers in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation contest.
Alex Bowen posted a hat trick and Bret Bonanni scored twice to pace the Cardinal (17-4, 5-1 MPSF), which stayed on pace with the top of the conference.
Adam Abdulhamid, BJ Churnside, Conner Cleary, Nick Hoversten, Forrest Watkins and Charlie Wiser all added goals for the Cardinal as the offense forced 17 saves out of 49er goalie Pavo Ljepopio. In the Stanford cage, Drew Holland made 11 saves for the Cardinal.
Stanford kept its NCAA tournament hopes alive Sunday as sophomore Brandon Vincent blasted home a loose ball in the 91st minute to book a 1-0 victory over Oregon State in Corvallis.
The win upped Stanford's overall record to 8-6-3 overall and 2-5-2 in Pac-12 play. The Cardinal closes the 2013 regular season Wednesday night at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium with a Senior Night match at 7 p.m. against No. 4 California.
"We kept going after them. We kept building, playing in their half, we were the aggressors the whole game and we really deserved the victory," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said. "Dogged determination kept us going. I'm very proud of the way this team performed today in tough conditions."
It was a match in which the Cardinal stayed on top of the Beavers over the 91 minutes of action, outshooting them 17-8 and earning 12 corners to just three. Vincent scored his first collegiate goal, and the winner to boot, when a Cardinal corner kick rattled around the box and he latched on and blasted home straight-on from 10 yards out.
Defensively, Cardinal goalkeeper Drew Hutchins made a pair of saves to post his fourth clean sheet of the season. On the other end, the Cardinal attack forced Beaver goalie Matt Bersano into seven saves.
"There's not a better feeling than winning on the road and getting the result," Gunn said. "It was a special day for the team. We played a very tough game where Oregon State kept battling and battling, so it was really impressive that our team carried on looking for the winning goal."
Stanford improved to 3-0 on the season with a 30-4 nonconference dual win over Air Force, Sunday, in Colorado Springs.
Stanford captured wins in nine of the 10 bouts on the afternoon, highlighted by redshirt freshman Maxwell Hvolbek's first career fall and senior Bret Baumbach knocking off a ranked opponent.
Hvolbek started things off for the Cardinal with a fall in 6:46 against Natrelle Demison at 149 pounds. Hvolbek fell behind 5-0 in the first period, but was able to fight back to tie the match 8-8 in the third before ultimately pinning Demison.
Baumbach kept the momentum going with a 6-4 decision over 15th-ranked Josh Kreimier at 157 pounds. Tied 4-4 in the third, Baumbach secured an escape and registered 1:05 in riding time to secure the win.
After redshirt freshman Jim Wilson (165 pounds), senior Kyle Meyer (174 pounds) and sophomore Thomas Kimbrell (184 pounds) all posted decisions the Cardinal led 18-0.
Senior Dan Scherer then pulled out an overtime 3-1 decision over Greg Isley at 197 pounds. After both wrestlers scored escapes, Scherer scored the go-ahead points on a reversal in the first overtime period.
Redshirt freshman Josh Marchok (285 pounds), redshirt senior Ryan Mango, ranked No. 3 at 133 pounds, and sophomore Peter Russo (141 pounds) all tallied decisions on the afternoon to complete the scoring for the Cardinal.
Stanford plays host to No. 15 Maryland on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion.
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