Stanford Heads Back to the Final Four With an Assertive Sweep of Texas

  0 Derek Johnson | December 10th, 2017 | Big 12, College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12


How they got here: 

  • #3 Stanford swept CSU Bakersfield and Colorado State before defeating Wisconsin 3-1
  • #6 Texas swept Fairfield and NC State before defeating #11 Utah in five sets

#3 STANFORD DEF. #6 TEXAS 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-21)

  • #3 Stanford improves to 30-3; #6 Texas falls to 27-3
  • Attendance: 2,933
  • Box Score

Defending National Champion Stanford asserted their dominance in a title rematch with Texas as the Cardinal earned a three-set sweep to advance to the Final Four. It’s the 21st all-time NCAA Semifinal appearance for Stanford too as ironically the win snaps the Longhorns’ 21 match winning streak. It also ends Texas five consecutive Final Four appearance streak while growing Stanford’s to a pair.

Stanford was uncharacteristically error riddled early in the match on offense, but eventually figured things out and used a strong serve and poor Texas serve reception to crawl back into the match. That would be how the Cardinal grabbed their first lead too and maintained their strong play for the match. It also didn’t hurt to have the Region’s Most Outstanding Player Kathryn Plummer (19 kills, .304, five digs) leading the way on the outside after starting 0-3 on swings.

Following a 25-21 opening set going Stanford’s way, Texas tried utilizing last night’s hero Yaazie Bedart-Ghani (four kills, .000) in the second over Lexi Sun (six kills, .111), who struggled early. It wasn’t enough though as Texas once again had problems in serve reception and fell behind Plummer, Audriana Fitzmorris (10 kills, .391, five blocks) and company pushed Stanford well in front. A late 4-0 Texas run made the score closer, but Stanford still took the set 25-21 with Jenna Gray (39 assists, two aces) feeding Plummer for the final point.

The Longhorns came out of the intermission in the third with more solid play in the serve reception game as Lexi Sun returned playing stronger. Micaya White (10 kills, 13 digs), Ebony Nwanebu (eight kills, .424) and Chiaka Ogbogu (seven kills, three blocks) helped too as the Longhorns led 13-12. Things settled back to Stanford’s favor once the serve became a problem again for Texas though, as the combination of that and Stanford libero Morgan Hentz (19 digs) gobbling up seemingly every tip or shot was bad news for Texas. Back-to-back Merete Lutz (seven kills, three blocks) kills to tie and take the lead put Stanford in front, as they never trailed again.

Even as one of the top blocking teams in the country, the offense of Stanford was too much. Add to it that the Longhorns didn’t serve aggressive enough or well enough to put the Cardinal out of system. That was apparent both in the third and the match, as the Cardinal finished off the sweep with the same score in each set, 25-21.

In total for the match, Stanford out-hit Texas .304 to .255, had more kills (50-42), assists (47-39), blocks (8-5) and aces (5-3) while the Longhorns posted more digs (52-47). Beyond the previously mentioned names, Morgan Johnson (six kills, .600), Ashley Shook (36 assists) and Cat McCoy (15 digs) posted big numbers for Texas while Meghan McClure (six kills, .353, 14 digs) and Tami Alade (six kills, .364) recorded high totals for Stanford.

For Texas, the senior class featuring Ebony Nwanebu, school career-digs leader Cat McCoy, likely four-time All-American Chiaka Ogbogu and reserve Mirta Baselovic will go out with fantastic resumes in their careers. Once again though the Longhorns have a bright future ahead though with many impact freshmen and sophomores this season.

For Stanford, their future is now – although future years look bright too with just one senior on the roster. They’re just two wins away from repeating as National Champions, but it won’t be easy as SEC Champion Florida meets them in the Final Four on Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET.

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