No. 5 Stanford Survives Scare from No. 20 Colorado in Five Setter

  0 Wendy Mayer | September 24th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12


  • No. 5 Stanford def. No. 20 Colorado 3-2 (20-25, 25-13, 27-29, 29-27, 15-12)
  • Stanford moves to 9-2, 2-0 Pac-12; Colorado falls to 10-3, 0-2 Pac-12
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Attendance: 1,980
  • Box Score


BOULDER, Colo. – No. 20 Colorado boasted a 2-1 lead in the match but could not hold on for the upset against No. 5 Stanford on Sunday.

The Cardinal played without sophomore middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris due to injury, shifting redshirt senior Merete Lutz into the role, while Kathryn Plummer moved to right side hitter.

After splitting the first eight points of Set 5, Stanford went up 8-5 at the changover as Lutz downed three kills and Plummer added two. A kill by junior outside hitter Alexa Smith and service error had Colorado within two at 8-6, but the Cardinal pulled away with four of the next five points, including a pair of Plummer putaways. Two Smith kills and a stuff by senior middle Anna Pfefferle closed the Buffs within two at 12-10. Plummer and freshman outside Meghan McClure notched kills to put Stanford on the hill for the match at 14-10. Colorado fought off two match-point tries, before Lutz notched her 17th kill to prevent the upset.

Stanford outhit Colorado .282 to .181 in the match and outblocked the Buffs 15-9. Both teams tallied three aces.

Plummer led a group of four Cardinal in double-digits with 18 kills, to go with a match-high 19 digs, six blocks and two aces. Junior middle Tami Alade (17), Lutz (17) and McClure (10) followed. Alada also turned in a match-leading nine block, while Lutz notched five stuffs. Sophomore libero Morgan Hentz (18), McClure (14) and freshman defensive specialist Kate Formico joined Plummer with double-digit dig tallies.

Smith put down a match-high 25 kills and added a team-leading 12 digs to pace the Buffs. Senior opposite Joslyn Hayes (16) and junior outside Frankie Shebby (12) also added double-digit kill efforts. Naghede Abu notched seven kills and a team-leading six blocks. Shebby rounded out a double-double with 11 digs, while freshman setter Brynna Deluzio notched a 52-assist, 11-dig double-double and junior libero Gabby Carta-Samuels chipped in 11 digs.

The Bufflaoes jumped out to an 8-3 lead in Set 1 with help from four Stanford miscues. After a brief pause, Colorado upped the lead to 10 at 15-5, putting up four blocks, three by Abu. The Cardinal cut the margin in half at 15-10 as Lutz managed a kill and a block and CU helped with two miscues. Joslyn Hayes, Shebby and Smith turned in two kills apiece as Colorado went up 24-15. Stanford squashed five set-point tries as Plummer registered two kills and a block and the Buffs made two mistakes. The Buffs called timeout and went to Smith out of the break for the final kill.

Stanford rebounded with a 10-4 edge to kick off Set 2. A pair of Plummer aces capped the early run, but a service error slowed the Cardinal momentarily. It was a 10-point game soon after as Stanford got kills from four different players en route to a 17-7 advantage. The Buffaloes would get no closer than eight the rest of the way. Lutz, Michaela Keefe and Alade notched kills and Alade teamed up with Jenna Gray on the set-clinching block.

The teams tied 14 times in a back-and-forth Set 3 with neither gaining more than a two-point edge. Stanford snapped an 11-all tie with four of the next five points, with two kills by Alade. Down 15-13, Colorado took control at 16-15 with two Smith kills and a block. The teams traded points, leading to four ties, last at 19, before a Plummer putaway and solo stuff by Alade gave Stanford a 21-19 advantage. A Lutz kill put the Cardinal up 23-21, but a Smith kill and Stanford miscue tied it up again. Lutz and Plummer teamed up for a stuff to give Stanford the first of its three set-point tries at 24-23. A Shebby kill and Pfefferle ace gave the Buffs a shot at 25-24. The Cardinal tried again at 26-25 and 27-26, but, in the end, a Hayes kill and two from Smith gave Colorado the 29-27 win.

Set 4 was more of the same, featuring 17 ties and eight lead changes.  A a pair of Stanford miscues gave Colorado a 14-12 midset advantage. The Cardinal tied it up at 16 and 17 before surging ahead by four at 21-17 with three Buff errors and two kills and a block by Alade. Colorado answered with a 6-0 run, featuring three kills and a block by Smith, to take a 23-21 lead of its own. A Hayes kill gave the Buffaloes their first set-point attempt at 24-23. Stanford had its first try at 26-25 and another at 27-26 as Lutz notched three putaways. A Colorado block evened the set at 27-all, before Alade came through with a kill and a block alongside Plummer to force the decisive fifth set.



Courtesy: Stanford Athletics

Playing with another new lineup, No. 4 Stanford escaped with a 20-25, 25-13, 27-29, 29-27, 15-12 victory over No. 25 Colorado, Sunday, at the Coors Events Center.

It was a new look for the Cardinal as sophomore Audriana Fitzmorris had to miss the first match of her career due to injury. Redshirt senior Merete Lutzfound herself back at middle blocker, a position she played her first two seasons at Stanford, while Kathryn Plummer made the adjustment back to the right side.

Stanford (9-2, 2-0 Pac-12) hit .282 as a team after struggling for most of the first set. The Cardinal finished with season-highs as a team in digs (74) and blocks (15.0). Colorado (10-3, 0-2 Pac-12) finished with a .181 attack percentage and 9.0 blocks.

Four Cardinal players finished with double-digit kills and four with double-digit digs. Plummer notched her fourth double-double of the season with 18 kills and a career-high 19 digs. The Aliso Viejo, California native also had a season-best six blocks and two aces.

Junior middle blocker Tami Alade finished with career-highs in kills (17) and blocks (9) while hitting .483. Her previous career-best in kills was seven. Lutz chipped in with season-highs in kills (17), blocks (5) and hitting percentage (.625).

Freshman Meghan McClure also tallied double-digit kills, totaling 10 and had a career-high 14 digs for her first collegiate double-double. Sophomore libero Morgan Hentz finished with 18 digs, four assists and her first kill of the season.

Sophomore setter Jenna Gray controlled the offense with a career-high 64 assists to go with three kills and two blocks. Redshirt freshman Michaela Keeferecorded seven kills for Stanford, while junior Payton Chang notched her first career ace.

Junior outside hitter Alexa Smith led Colorado with 25 kills and 12 digs, while senior opposite Joslyn Hayes posted 16 kills. Junior Frankie Shebby also had a double-double for the Buffaloes with 12 kills and 11 digs.

Stanford moved to 18-1 all-time against Colorado. The Buffaloes are the only team besides Penn State to win a set against the Cardinal this season.

Stanford returns to The Farm next week to host Arizona State on Wednesday and Arizona on Friday. Both matches are slated for 7 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.


Courtesy: Colorado Athletics

The No. 25 Colorado Buffaloes (10-3, 0-2 Pac-12) had the reigning NCAA Champion and fourth ranked Stanford Cardinal (9-2, 2-0 Pac-12) on the ropes on Sunday afternoon, but was unable to complete the upset, falling 3-2 at Coors Events Center.

The Buffs took the first set 25-20 before the Cardinal rallied back with a second set victory of 25-13, tying the match up 1-1 heading into intermission. CU came back to record a third set win (29-27), but SU responded by taking the fourth set with the same score. Despite a valiant effort by the Buffs, the Cardinal took the fifth and deciding set, 15-12.

WHAT HAPPENED: Junior Alexa Smith led the match with 25 kills and added 12 digs. Senior Joslyn Hayes also performed well for the Buffs, tying a career-high 16 kills, while junior Frankie Shebby also recorded double-digit kills with 12.

Defensively junior Naghede Abu posted six blocks while adding seven kills. Three Buffs tallied 11 digs a piece; they were Shebby, freshman Brynna DeLuzio and junior Gabby Carta-Samuels.

On the opposing end, Stanford sophomore Jenna Plummer recorded 18 kills along with 19 digs. Freshman Meghan McClure tallied 10 kills and 14 digs. Junior Tami Alade and Senior Merete Lutz also assisted in the Stanford victory with 17 kills each, while Alade added nine blocks.

SET 1: Colorado got out to a great start, taking an 8-3 lead before the Cardinal took its first timeout. The Buffs continued to dominate, going up by 10 points (15-5) to force SU to take its final break of the set. The Cardinal rallied with a 5-0 run following the timeout before CU was able to side-out. The Buffs were able to go back up by nine points again at 23-14 and looked to close the set before Stanford recorded a 6-1 run to bring the score to 24-20. After a CU timeout, Smith came up with a huge kill to give the Buffs the 25-20 victory.

SET 2: The Cardinal got out to a 10-4 lead, causing the Buffs to take a timeout. A service error by SU gave possession back to the Buffs, but it did not slow down SU as it increased the lead to 18-8 and went on to take the set 25-13.

SET 3: The third set was a lot closer than the previous two, as neither team had a lead larger than two-points through the first half. Stanford had the slight 15-13 edge at the media timeout. Smith hammered two straight kills out of the break to even the set and a block by DeLuzio and Abu put the Buffs up 16-15. The two teams continued to battle, but after the Cardinal went back up by two (21-19), CU needed to take a timeout. The Buffs took the next two points off a kill from Smith and an SU attack error to tie the frame again.

Stanford took the following two points (23-21), but again the Buffs answered with another pair of points. Stanford took the following point with a block, but CU responded with a kill from Shebby and an ace by Pfefferle to give CU set point (25-24). After a SU timeout, the Cardinal took two straight points to get to set point, but the Buffs did not let up and Hayes recorded a kill to tie it back up (26-26). SU had set point again after a kill, but the Buffs answered with three straight points on kills from Hayes and a pair from Smith to earn the hard-fought 29-27 set.

SET 4: The fourth set was another tough battle with 19 total ties. Stanford had a 19-17 lead late in the frame, causing CU to use a timeout. SU took the next two points for its largest lead of the set but the Buffs responded with a 5-0 run, which included three straight kills from Smith, to go up 22-21. The Cardinal needed to take a timeout and was able to even it up at 23-23. The set would be tied four more times before the Cardinal were able to win the set 29-27.

SET 5: Stanford took a 7-4 lead in the race to 15, causing the Buffs to take a break. CU would take its second timeout a short time later after SU increased its lead to 11-6. Shebby recorded a quick kill for the Buffs as they used a 3-1 run to bring the score within three points (12-9). After a Cardinal timeout, Anna Pfefferle posted a block solo, but SU responded with two straight points to get to set point (14-10). The Buffs fought off two match points with a kill from Hayes and a SU attack error, but Stanford finished it off with a kill, taking the set 15-12.

NOTES: This was the first home court loss for the Buffs as they are now 4-1 at Coors…The Buffs are 2-1 in five-set matches this season…Stanford has only lost to Penn State this year (twice)…Penn State is the only team that has taken a set off Stanford as the Cardinal have only lost three sets prior to the meeting against CU…Alexa Smith hammered 12 kills alone in the third set…This was the fourth time this season DeLuzio has recorded 50 or more assists in a match.

TEAM STATISTICS: Stanford out-hit the Buffs .282-.181. The Cardinal had 73 kills and 25 errors on 170 attacks, while CU recorded 65 kills and 31 errors on 188 swings. Both teams served up three aces. Stanford also held the advantage defensively with 15.0 blocks to CU’s 9.0. The Cardinal also had 74 digs to CU’s 62.

NEXT UP: The Buffs stay at home next weekend and will host Oregon State on Sept. 29 and No. 8 Oregon on Sept. 30.

Head coach Jesse Mahoney
On the overall assessment of the match
“Moral victories don’t go on the chalkboard. I thought we played extremely well in four of those five sets. I thought that we executed the game plan really well and our seven made really nice choices. We played at a really high level consistently for a long period of time. We probably should have closed it out in set four if I hadn’t used all my challenges on the 23-21 point. It could have been 24-21 and I think we would have closed it out. I’m happy with the effort we had. If we play like that, we’ll be in a good place this season.”

On the upcoming road games against the Oregon schools and what can be taken from this match
“The message is always the same. The stuff that’s not going well, we try to diagnose and fix it. There are reasons why we lose points and we know what they are. We’ll go back into practice and work on those things. But, there are a lot of things that we’re doing well now that we’ll continue to improve upon. The Oregon schools are both flying high this season, so we’re going to have great matchups. We’ll put a game plan together and try to execute it. I think we’ll be better next week. Honestly, we’ve become better each weekend; we had a down night in Utah. But, if we play like this, we’re in a great place. We have to hold on to the things we’re doing well and keep working on the things we’re struggling with.”

On the challenge used in set three
“Alexa (Smith) never misses that shot so I knew it was in. I was going to challenge that no matter what because it was a pivotal point. In high level matches, every point is pivotal. So if we feel that the referees missed something and we can get that point, we’re going to challenge it. I used my third challenge early in set four. If I could have it back I would take it. All the other challenges I was positive about.”

On if in the second year Coach Mahoney has learned when to use his challenges
“I know what cameras see in this building a little bit better so that’s helpful. But like I said, if I think that we can get a point back no matter where we are in the match, we’re going to try to get it. Every point is pivotal as we saw in the end of set three and the end of set four. My players do a really nice job of giving information about what they see and hear. That’s really important because if they say, ‘that was definitely this’ or ‘that was definitely that’ we can make a decision. And frankly the crowd does a really good job too.”

Junior Alexa Smith
On being able to say that they pushed the defending National Champions to 5 sets:
“I think that it shows how we can play. We need to live up to that level.”

On what sparked her high level of play during the third set:
“I owed it to my teammates, especially Brynna (DeLuzio) because she sets up the offense. I also owed it to the rest of the hitters up there with me. They were able to pull the blocks away from me. I was able to do it because of them.”

On how she put up the numbers she did against Stanford’s big blockers:
“Stanford has some big girls that can block. My teammates told me that they would cover me and to keep swinging. Eventually, after that second set, I was able to find the floor a little more.”

Senior Joslyn Hayes
On being able to say that they pushed the defending National Champions to 5 sets:
“Those types of moral victories don’t mean much to us. We had that set and we let it go. We have to be sharper. It’s pretty frustrating.”

On the difficulty of hitting around Stanford’s #17, Merete Lutz:
“She is a phenomenal player. She has height and athleticism. It was difficult but not impossible. It was exciting paying against her because we knew we could keep up with a player of that caliber, but we weren’t sharp in all of our plays against her.”

On if the expectations of the team changed, once reaching the Top 25:
“The expectations are the same. They are always very high. No matter if we are in the Top-25 or not, we have high expectations and expect to play at a high level.”

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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