Kathryn Plummer Sparks Stanford to NCAA Title

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Dec. 21, 2019, 10:06 p.m. (ET)

NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship
Pittsburgh witnessed U.S. Women's National Team player Kathryn Plummer spark Stanford to its third NCAA title in four years

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 21, 2019) – Kathryn Plummer, playing in her final collegiate match, was a woman on a mission in leading Stanford University to a 25-16, 25-17, 25-20 victory over University of Wisconsin in the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship match on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

Kathryn PlummerPlummer, a member of the U.S. Women's National Team this past summer, finished the match with 22 kills and a .459 hitting efficiency. She added an ace, 10 digs and three block assists in the victory. In the opening set alone, she scored seven kills on 12 errorless attacks to set the tone for the match.

Graduate senior Madeleine Gates added 10 kills and a .529 hitting efficiency for Stanford. Junior Meghan McClure chipped in seven kills and 13 digs. Setter Jenna Gray set Stanford to a .358 (50-12-106) hitting efficiency with 37 assists. Senior libero Morgan Hentz provided solid defense with 17 digs without a reception error. Senior Audriana Fitzmorris chipped in eight kills and three block assists. Holly Campbell charted three kills on six swings and a team-high five block assists.

The Stanford defense limited the high-powered Wisconsin offense to a .152 hitting efficiency. The Cardinal held a 7-3 advantage in blocks. Entering the match, the Badgers were 15-1 in sets won in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

Stanford, seeded third in the NCAA tournament, finished the season with a 30-4 record while No. 4 seed Wisconsin ended the year at 27-7.

Wisconsin was led by Molly Haggerty’s 10 kills, one ace and a block assist. Dana Rettke chipped in seven kills and a block assist to close out her junior season before heading back to the U.S. Women’s National Team. Danielle Hart recorded six kills on 17 errorless attacks and two block assists. Grace Loberg added five kills in the loss. Sydney Hilley had 25 assists and 11 digs for the Badgers, while Tiffany Clark had 10 digs.

Stanford was making its second straight finals appearance and third in four years. Plummer, Gray, Hentz, Fitzmorris and Caitlin Keefe have won three NCAA titles – only the second time in Stanford history that has occurred.

Stanford has won more NCAA titles (9), more NCAA Tournament matches (131), made more Final Four appearances (23) and been in the national championship match (18) more times than any other program in the nation. In contrast, Wisconsin was playing in its third NCAA championship match but has lost each contest.

Plummer, who had won the AVCA Division I Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018 but wasn’t eligible this year after missing 10 matches due to an undisclosed injury, has set the stage for her next volleyball journey in the pro level. Her career has held several high points, whether through USA Volleyball or her NCAA experiences on the beach and hard courts. In 2015, she became the first player in history to win FIVB World Championship medals in both indoor (silver at FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship where she was named Best Opposite) and beach (gold at FIVB Girls’ U17 Beach World Championship where she was selected Most Outstanding Player). Plummer was named Best Spiker at the 2014 NORECA Girls’ U18 Continental Championship where she led Team USA to silver.

Stanford’s roster is loaded with talent that has come up through the USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline aside from Plummer. Hentz and Plummer each earned silver at the 2015 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship (Wisconsin’s Hilley and Clark were on the same roster).

Fitzmorris has represented Team USA on either age-group teams or the U.S. Collegiate National Team every year except 2017 from 2012 to 2019, highlighted by a silver-medal finish a the 2013 FIVB Girls U18 World Championship.

Further, Stanford’s coaching staff has national team experience. Cardinal Head Coach Kevin Hambley was an assistant coach on the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2001-2004, while assistant coach Alisha Glass Childress was the starting setter for Team USA that won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Associate head coach Denise Corlett played on the U.S. Women’s National Team in 1982 and 1983 after playing in the 1979 World University Games.

Other USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline notes

Stanford’ Holly Campbell played on 2017 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team at FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship

Stanford’s Meghan McClure played in 2019 World University Games as part of U.S. Collegiate National Team

Stanford’s Selina Xu member of 2018 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team

Stanford’s Kendall Kipp – member of the U.S. Girls’ Youth Team in 2016 and 2017

Stanford’s Caitie Baird played on U.S. Women’s Junior National Team at the 2018 NORCECA Women’s U20 World Championship.

Wisconsin’s Lauren Barnes played on the U.S. Collegiate National Team that competed in the World University Games.

Wisconsin’s M.E. Dodge was on 2018 U.S. Collegiate National Team – Detroit program