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Sweep: Second-ranked Stanford steamrolls No. 7 Texas

Madisen Skinner serves for Texas/Matt Smith photo

AUSTIN, Texas — Second-ranked Stanford simply took it to No. 7 Texas on Sunday.

After battling to 25-23, 25-20 victories in the first two sets, the Cardinal cruised in the third 25-15, hitting .444 in the set with 15 kills and three errors in 27 attacks. Texas had eight kills and seven errors in 22 swings in the third.

“I think it was cool to see us, after the loss to Florida, bounce back,” said Stanford coach Kevin Hambly, whose team improved to 3-1. Stanford opened with victories at Northern Colorado and Colorado State, but got swept at home by Florida this past Tuesday.

Stanford hit .396 in one of the more highly anticipated matches of the young NCAA season. Texas, which dropped to 2-2, hit .130.

“I think that’s a really good offensive team, so that’s what I’m really happiest about,” Hambly said. “We competed on defense.”

Stanford of the Pac-12 held a 13-6 blocking advantage and had four aces — and 14 errors — to two by Texas.

As usual, right side Kendall Kipp led Stanford, this time with 15 kills while hitting .343. She had an assist, seven blocks and 10 digs.

The outsides came up big. Caitie Baird, who missed the first three matches, had 12 kills with one error in 24 attacks, an assist, an ace, four blocks and five digs. 

“It’s great to have her back,” setter Kami Miner said.

Elia Rubin had 14 kills with two errors in 24 swings to hit .500 and added two aces, a block and five digs.

“Our outsides got going,” Hambly said. “They made really good choices, when to swing high, when to take a seam, and I thought it was a good effort all around.”

Middle Sami Francis had five kills in nine errorless swings and three blocks and the other middle, McKenna Vicini, had no kills and an error in six attacks but a match-high eight blocks.

Miner was magnificent. She had a kill, 35 assists, an ace and three blocks.

“Kami did what Kami does,” Hambly said. “She’s so good.”

Miner also had a match-high 14 digs. Libero Elena Oglivie had 10 digs and six assists.

“It’s so exciting to be here,” Miner said as a sold-out crowd of 4,707 emptied out of Gregory Gym. “I’ve been looking forward to coming back here since we played here last in my freshman year. There’s nothing like the environment here … I’m so proud of our group and what we accomplished today.”

Texas got 12 kills from Madisen Skinner, but she had nine errors and hit .083 to go with an assist, a block and seven digs. Jenna Wenaas had 11 kills and three digs, but two of her six hitting errors were back-to-back to end the second set. 

Bella Bergmark had five kills and two blocks but the other middle, star Asjia O’Neal was rendered ineffective. She had four kills and 12 errorless swings, a block and two digs. Typically lethal right side Molly Phillips had a kill and an error in nine attacks and was benched after two sets.

“After playing Florida we talked about pushing ourselves to be better and holding one another to accountable to play our best volleyball,” Miner said. 

Stanford stays in Texas to play at Rice on Tuesday before heading home for a big weekend with Oregon, Minnesota and Ohio State.

Texas, home next Friday against Florida Gulf Coast, unveiled its 2022 NCAA-championship banner before the match.

“They played extremely well,” Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said of Stanford. “I was super impressed. They were getting great transition swings and we couldn’t slow them down.

“And on the reverse side, we could not score in transition.”

Texas celebrated its national-championship teams of 1981, 1988, 2012 and 2022 this weekend. It started with a fundraising gala on Friday at which former coach Mick Haley, who won the first two titles, and many of his former players were in attendance. From the 2022 team, two-time national player of the year Logan Eggleston and Zoe Fleck, joined the festivities and were court side when the banner was unveiled.

“It was incredible to see,” O’Neal said. “Every year since I’ve been here during games I’ve looked up at that place and said I wanted to raise a banner there. To be able to do that was crazy and being able to experience that with my teammates was so fun.”

Devin Kahahawai, left, and Texas teammate Bella Bergmark block Stanford’s Elia Rubin/Matt Smith photo