Monday, December 3, 2007

Women's Vball NCAA Round 2 12/1/2007

Stanford 3 Sacramento State 0 (30-23, 30-11, 30-28) While I would have loved to linger on the field after Big Game to soak in the atmosphere, there was a 2nd round NCAA tournament volleyball game to attend. I made it to Maples during player introductions and instantly noticed how small Sacramento's team was compared to us. The crowd wasn't as big as I would have expected but I suspect that people wanted to celebrate/eat after Big Game.

We went early and often to Foluke and after establishing her, distributed it evenly to Alix and Cynthia. My favourite part of going to Foluke early is that it is demoralising for the opponent to have her hammer down devastating kills, and does wonders for our psyche. Sacramento State looked pretty bad in the first, struggling with serve reception and setting. Our block wasn't working well though (maybe it took us a while to adjust to their timing of their attacks) but it wasn't needed at all. With a 29-13, we subbed in Alex for Alix. Sac State went on a huge 10 point scoring run as Gabi had some trouble dealing with serve. After a time out, Duning finally put Alix back in and we won. I felt sorry for Alex because it wasn't entirely her fault.

Any momentum that Sac State might have gotten after staving off 10 game points in the first was quashed in the second which we absolutely dominated. Dunning used what I think will be his tournament rotation of Cassidy in for Erin in the back row with Jessica spelling Alix occasionally. I don't think Gabi will be serving much either. Janet got some playing time in the second and contributed with 3 kills off 3 attempts.

I wasn't too worried about the 3rd but we started making some hitting errors and Sac State was able to get through our block with worrying regularity. They definitely raised their level of play. We traded points back and forth for most of the game but as 30 approached, had a clutch back row kill from Alix. It was a win against an outmatched opponent that fought hard, as we witnessed in the 3rd.

There seem to be several upsets in the tournament with seeds dropping like flies. Washington is out at the hands of BYU and USC was taken to 5 games. We have Cal Poly up next on Friday (a team we swept earlier in the season) and if we win, an all Pac-10 showdown against either Oregon or UCLA on Saturday.

What a day! Big Game and then volleyball. And the weekend was not even close to being over yet. Albert and I were leaving for Oakland airport at 4:30am to catch our 6am flight to Denver for the Colorado men's basketball game. With a Big Game concert featuring Roots (I heard they were great), celebrating in SAE and KA till the wee hours, and a Christmas party turned surprise birthday party for me (thanks guys), it was a busy but amazing night. December 1st - definitely a day to remember!
~ Zhihao

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