Friday, 22 September 2023

International Volleyball

Loaded Stanford “ready to get after it” as NCAA season begins

Loaded Stanford "ready to get after it" as NCAA season begins

From left, Elia Rubin, Caitie Baird, Kendall Kipp, Elena Oglivie, Sami Francis, Kami Miner

There they are, all six of them proudly shown on a publicity graphic, all six Stanford starters on the preseason Pac-12 team.

Loaded and on a mission.

That’s because the stunning sting of the end of the 2022 season still looms large for the Cardinal, which not only lost to San Diego in the regional final, but lost in five on its home court.

Stanford, the Pac-12 champion, led two sets to one and was up 23-22 in the fourth set, oh so close to advancing to the NCAA national semifinals.

But San Diego won the fourth 25-22. 

And in the fifth, the Toreros broke a 9-9 tie by scoring the last six points. 

San Diego, the 2022 team of destiny, went on to Omaha.

Stanford players walked back to their dorms and apartments looking for answers.


The six are redshirt senior outside Caitie Baird, junior middle Sami Francis, fifth-year right side Kendall Kipp, junior setter Kami Miner, senior libero Elena Olglive and sophomore outside Elia Rubin. 

The six/Brandon Vallance,

The only starter not on the list is redshirt-senior middle McKenna Vicini, who led Stanford in blocks last year with 40 more than Kipp. And Vicini led the Pac-12 in hitting percentage (.427).

McKenna Vicini/Karen Hickey,


Kipp, Miner and Oglivie might be the three best players at their respective positions in the nation; Kipp and Miner for sure; you could argue a couple of others are right up there with Oglivie. But she’s elite.

“They’re special players and they’re special people and they make our team better,” Baird said. “I’m lucky to be on the same side of the net as them. In practice it’s never fun being on the opposite side. They make you work for every point.”

Pound for pound, when healthy — and that was a problem in 2022 — Stanford is the team to beat this NCAA volleyball season.

“I would agree,” Rubin said.

Rubin went through her freshman season relatively unscathed, although she quickly displayed her less-than-straight pinkie that she broke last year. Kipp has had concussions, Francis was out for a while.

Kami Miner/Glen Mitchell,

The 6-foot Miner, a second-team All-American last season, has stayed healthy throughout her first two years as she’s established herself as the next great American setter after the three at the top, Olympians Jordyn Poulter and Micha Hancock and Lauren…

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