Stanford stuns Minnesota, Hawai’i breaks through

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Stanford celebrates its victory over Minnesota/Alan Chang, StanfordPhoto.com

If the first three days are any indication, this is gonna be one wild NCAA season …

Start with Stanford, which opened its season Friday by losing to San Diego but then the No. 11 Cardinal bounced back Sunday by beating No. 3 Minnesota in four. And that came a day after Minnesota beat San Diego.

In Hawai’i, the Rainbow Wahine, 0-2 for the first time in forever, broke through by beating Arizona on Sunday, leaving the Wildcats to go back to Tuscon at 0-3 and in a world of hurt.

And how about Creighton? The Bluejays, No. 3 in last week’s VolleyballMag.com Mid-Major Poll, opened the season Saturday with a five-set loss to Wichita State, but then beat Iowa State on Sunday. Speaking of which, the Shockers, No. 9 in the VBM poll, lost in three to Iowa State.

Also of note Sunday, Wisconsin improved to 3-0 by getting out of Hawai’i with a 3-0 victory over Kansas State.

Stanford freshmen Audriana Fitzmorris and Kathryn Plummer led the way over Minnesota 25-23, 25-15, 25-27, 25-19. Fitzmorris and Plummer had 13 kills and eight blocks each and Stanford, while hitting .233, held Minnesota to a .142 percentage to remain 7-0 all-time against the Gophers.

Junior Merete Lutz finished with 11 kills, .310 and had seven blocks for Stanford. Senior Inky Ajanaku, junior Ivana Vanjak and sophomore Hayley Hodson each finished with nine kills.

Here’s a link to the Pac-12 video report.

Hawaii's McKenna Granato against Kansas State Wildcats on Sunday/Andrew Lee, HMSWIRE photo
Hawaii’s McKenna Granato against Kansas State Wildcats on Sunday/Andrew Lee, HMSWIRE photo

Hawai’i, No. 6 in the AVCA Division I poll and No. 1 in the VBM poll, is decimated by injuries and young kids got coach Dave Shoji’s team back on track. Hawai’i trailed 0-2 in sets and was down 8-2 in the fifth before winning 15-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-13.

Hawai’i’ sophomore outside McKenna Granato led the charge, posting a career-high 33 kills and hit .469 while junior libero Savanah Kahakai notched her third 20-dig match in a row.

Here is a link to the UH highlight video, wacky music and all.

https://youtu.be/NZ578fQsEL4

Wisconsin swept K-State 25-18, 25-15, 25-20.

“I thought we were business-like,” Wisconsin coach Kelly Sheffield said. “There was a confidence about them but it was about hard work. They were locked in. Every point was ‘Here we go.’ There wasn’t a whole lot of too highs or too lows.

“We talked going into this, we’ve been here for a week and you’re playing three matches against really good teams and every match is a shorter break. This was going to show the kind of work they’ve put in in the summer. Then afterwards, this is one of those matches that shows that we are mentally and physically strong.”

Arizona, meanwhile, has a lot to figure out.

“It was our inability to play well enough at the end of games three, four and five,” Arizona coach Dave Rubio said. “We had the match in hand after the second set. We have to learn how to beat a good team and we haven’t learned how to do that yet.”

Senior outside Kalei Mau, who is from Hawai’i, led Arizona with 21 kills and 19 digs.

There is a busy week ahead here at VolleyballMag.com. The new VolleyballMag.com Mid-Major Poll will be released mid-day Tuesday, look for a feature story about African-American coaches in Division I on Wednesday, and much more as the week develops.

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