Top-seed Stanford sweeps BYU to gain berth in NCAA volleyball championship match at Target Center
Since that long-ago night in August, when Stanford lost to Brigham Young, the Cardinal has been perfect. Despite a school-record streak of 30 consecutive victories, Stanford coach Kevin Hambly hadnt forgotten that 3-2 defeat in Provo, Utah.
We had a tough loss to them, Hambly said. I think were looking forward to trying to make that right.
The Cardinal did so emphatically, opening the NCAA Final Four with a 25-15, 25-15, 25-18 sweep of the Cougars in Thursdays semifinals at Target Center. Top-seeded Stanford, which leads the nation in blocks per set, subdued No. 4 seed BYU with 17 blocks, putting the brakes on the countrys best-hitting offense. BYU entered the match with a .315 hitting percentage, while Stanford averaged an NCAA-best 3.39 blocks per set.
The Cardinal (32-1) held the upper hand throughout, limiting BYU to a hitting percentage of minus-.026 on 29 kills and 32 attack errors. BYU (31-1) hit minus-.132 in the first set against Stanfords stout blocking and never got on track. Stanford hit .281, with 34 kills and only seven attack errors.
Stanfords Tami Alade led the Cardinal with 14 blocks, and Kathryn Plummer contributed 12 kills.
Stanford wobbled a bit in the first set, with four early serve errors that helped BYU to a 12-10 lead. But the Cardinals superior blocking fueled a string of 10 consecutive points. The Cougars consistently hit too low, and Stanfords defense tallied seven blocks in the set as it closed on a 14-3 run.
In set 2, Stanford used another big run, outscoring the Cougars 9-3 for a 22-13 lead.