A swift dismantling of host Oregon State on Sunday allows the seventh-ranked Stanford women's volleyball to focus on what might be the defining match of the season on Thursday.
Merete Lutz, Brittany Howard and Hayley Hodson each recorded 12 kills and the Cardinal topped the Beavers, 25-23, 25-21, 25-18, in a Pac-12 Conference match to keep pace with UCLA for third place in the conference standings, one game behind second-place Washington.
The Cardinal only plays the Trojans once this year and USC won that encounter in five sets. A win in Seattle would do wonders for Stanford's RPI rating, especially if the Trojans win out. The Cardinal and UCLA also have one meeting this season.
The Huskies are 12-0 at home this year and have won their last 39 regular-season matches at home, 45 of 47 overall including NCAA tournament matches.
Stanford showed remarkable poise in rallying from a deficit to beat Washington at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal players will need that same grit and determination this week.
Lutz produced a hitting percentage of .647 against Oregon State while Howard hit at a .400 clip. Hodson added 10 digs for her 10thy double-double. She also added three aces.
Senior outside hitter Jordan Burgess finished with five kills and tied freshman libero Halland McKenna with a match-high 11 digs. Redshirt sophomore Ivana Vanjak hit .444 with five kills and two blocks. Senior setter Madi Bugg had 39 assists and nine digs. Offensively, she was 5-0-6 for an .833 attack percentage.
It was deja vu in the first set for the Cardinal, which trailed the Beavers 17-11 before rallying to win, 25-23. Stanford also trailed Oregon 17-11 in the first set on Thursday and came back to win 25-23.
Stanford, which leads the Pac-12 in conference only matches in attack percentage, hit .365 as a team while holding Oregon State to a .248 clip. The Cardinal also led in the digs column, 48 to 35.
Thursday night's 8 p.m. contest will be televised by ESPNU.
True freshman Joey McKenna knocked-off returning All-American and top-ranked Evan Henderson of North Carolina to capture the 141-pound title, Sunday, at the Hokie Open in Blacksburg, Virgina.
Redshirt sophomore heavyweight Nathan Butler also placed first to give the Cardinal two champions in the tournament.
As a team, Stanford finished second behind Chattanooga (135.5) with 124 points. Duke finished third with 122.
Nine additional Cardinal wrestlers were the top 6, including runner-up finishes by redshirt freshman Brian Rossi (125 pounds), sophomore Mason Pengilly (133 pounds) and redshirt junior Jim Wilson (165 pounds).
Stanford heads to Fresno for the Roadrunner Open next Sunday.
Stanford sophomore Luke Muller finished sixth Sunday at the LaserPerformance Men's Singlehanded National Championship on Elizabeth River in Norfolk, VA.
Muller recorded placed first, second, third and fourth among his 11 races en route to 66 points. Yale's Malcolm Lamphire won the event with 44 points.
In the Women's Singlehanded National Championship, Cardinal sophomore Haley Fox struggled early, but rallied with eight consecutive top eight finishes and placed ninth overall with 96 points. Georgetown's Haddon Hughes won with 30 points.