STANFORD, Calif. -- In an early season showdown between top-ranked teams, the No. 2 Stanford women’s volleyball team took down No. 1 Penn State, 3-2, Friday night at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. The Cardinal moves to 3-0 on the year, while the Nittany Lions fall to 3-1.
Stanford and Penn State are no strangers to five-set matches, especially against each other. Last season, the Cardinal failed to win a five-set match, including the Lexington Regional final against the Nittany Lions.
Not this year. Stanford’s experience and leadership on the court prevailed, evening the all-time series against Penn State to 8-8. The Cardinal started all upperclassmen, who helped keep the team's composure even after a rocky start.
Senior Morgan Boukather led the Cardinal offensively with 15 kills on a .353 attack percentage. She notched her second double-double in as many matches, collecting 12 digs and four blocks.
Junior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku added 14 kills (.385) and four blocks, while junior Jordan Burgess registered her third double-double of the season with 10 kills and 13 digs.
Setter Madi Bugg directed the offense -- which hit .237 for the match -- totaling 43 assists and 13 digs for her first double-double of the year. Senior libero Kyle Gilbert anchored the defensive side of the ball with 19 digs. Middle blocker Merete Lutz also made an impact on defense with four blocks.
Penn State was led by freshman outside hitter Ali Frantti’s 22 kills and 11 digs, while junior Megan Courtney tallied 18 kills, nine digs and five blocks. Senior setter Micha Hancock finished with 57 assists and 13 digs, but had six service errors.
Stanford returns to Maples on Sunday to continue the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge against No. 9 Illinois.