Oct. 9, 2010

LOS ANGELES - Behind senior outside hitter Alix Klineman's 27 kills, the No. 1 Stanford women's volleyball team came-from-behind to defeat No. 8 USC, 18-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-15, Friday at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. The Cardinal (14-0) keeps its undefeated record in tact and moves to 5-0 in the Pac-10, while the Trojans fall to 13-2 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

Klineman reached the 20-kills plateau for the fifth time this season and was one dig shy of a double-double. Senior Cassidy Lichtman controlled the offense with a season high 51 assists and added seven digs and three block assists. Sophomore Hayley Spelman tallied a career best 15 kills on 27 attempts with just two errors for a .481 attack percentage. Senior libero Gabi Ailes finished with 19 digs and two aces as the Cardinal hit .271 for the match.

Stanford fell behind early in the first set and was unable to fully recover, dropping a 25-18 decision to USC. Trailing 19-9, the Cardinal went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to four as Klineman and freshman Rachel Williams each put down kills during the stretch. Stanford continued to battle, pulling within three at 21-18, but the Trojans answered with four consecutive points to close out the first set. As a team, Stanford hit a season-low .125 in the set, while USC posted a .244 clip.

The teams traded points to start the second until USC went on a 5-0 run to take an 11-6 lead. Stanford rallied back with a 3-0 run of its own, including a kill by freshman Carly Wopat and two more by Klineman. Trailing 13-10, Spelman tallied a kill and her second ace of the season, and Klineman registered another kill to tie the score. Trailing again 19-18, the Cardinal posted another 3-0 run, including a kill and a block by Spelman, to regain the lead. USC fought back, tying the score at 23-23, but a service error by the Trojans' libero Natalie Hagglund and a huge block by Lichtman and junior Stephanie Browne gave Stanford the second-set win.

Klineman registered six kills, including three in a row, to put Stanford ahead 10-9 in the third. Up by one, Klineman recorded her 18th kill of the match and Lichtman put down an ace to give the Cardinal a little breathing room. An attack error by USC put Stanford on top, 19-15. The Cardinal outscored the Trojans, 6-5, down the stretch to capture the third set 25-20. Klineman posted 10 kills in the set, while Ailes anchored the defense with seven digs in the third.

Neither team was able to find its rhythm early in the fourth as the score was knotted up five different times. Nine straight points by the Cardinal, including four kills by Spelman and two aces by Ailes, gave Stanford a seven-point advantage. The Cardinal went on to win the fourth and final set, 25-15. Klineman and Spelman combined for 11 kills to lead Stanford to a .382 attack percentage in the set.

Stanford wraps up the weekend, Saturday, at No. 12 UCLA. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. from Pauley Pavilion.