Sophomore Jordan Burgess can look back and smile at some of the good things she and her Stanford women's volleyball teammates did Wednesday night.
The result, a five-set loss to visiting No. 4 USC, wasn't a good feeling but the knowledge the Cardinal is close could ignite something for the remainder of the season.
Burgess had 17 kills and matched her career-high with 25 digs in Stanford's 25-16, 23-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-9 Pac-12 Conference loss to the Trojans. She also hit .368, committing just three hitting errors in 38 total attacks.
"There were definitely points we felt good about," Burgess said. "Game one, we killed it and coming back in game four was fun. Playing with these girls is a blast and when we look back we can see some positives."
The loss just hurt. The Trojans swept the season series and took over sole possession of second place in the Pac-12, leaving Stanford (8-3, 15-5) alone in third, two games behind first-place Washington.
The Cardinal will find a way to rebound against UCLA, which visits Friday for an 8 p.m. first serve.
"I'm just angry," Stanford coach John Dunning said. "I didn't think it would turn out this way. My immediate reaction to losing is to vomit. I still think we can end up being the best team in the nation."
Stanford isn't in this position very often. The Cardinal has won six of the past seven conference titles, including last year, and third place must feel like a shed in the backyard.
"Losing the second game when we had the lead is a sign we weren't mentally focused," Stanford sophomore setter Madi Bugg said. "It takes rededicating ourselves every play. We have to learn to do the little things on the plays that aren't necessarily the big plays."
The Trojans were ranked first in the nation earlier in the year and came in having lost two of their last three matches.
Stanford has lost two of its last four matches. The lesson is it's not too late. The Cardinal has nine more regular season matches and will likely host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.
"It's all about learning," said Bugg, who recorded a career-high 61 assists and a career-best 17 digs. "You just learn more from losing."
Added Burgess: "We're at a point in the season that we realize we've been working hard for 10 months to get where we are. It's time to kick it into a higher gear."
Inky Ajanakju had 14 kills and recorded a .524 hitting percentage. Brittany Howard added a career-high 17 kills to go with 16 digs, Rachel Williams had 10 kills and 13 digs, Carly Wopat had 12 kills and libero Kyle Gilbert recorded a career-high 33 digs and set a school record in the process.
No. 11 Stanford completes its regular season Thursday, when the Cardinal pursues its fifth consecutive victory over California, at 3 p.m. in Berkeley in a match to be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
Stanford (13-4, 4-1 NorPac) shut out Cal (6-10, 2-3 NorPac) 3-0 in their last meeting on Sept. 20. Since ending a streak of 18 consecutive losses to Cal in 2007, Stanford has won 13 of the past 17 matchups.
The Cardinal clinched its fifth consecutive NorPac West Division regular season title Monday night with a 3-0 victory over Pacific. Elise Ogle, Fran Tew and Alex McCawley each scored to give the Cardinal its 15th victory in a row over the Tigers.
Stanford earned a 2-1 decision on Friday against Michigan, limiting the Wolverines' prolific attack to five shots, one penalty corner and one goal. Down 1-0 early, Tew scored the equalizer in the 18th minute before Hope Burke scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season, at 55:53, for the winner.
Burke, Tew and Kelsey Harbin were named the NorPac offensive, freshman and defensive players of the week, respectively, for their efforts against Michigan. their communities.
Stanford University will unveil its new Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center (AOERC) on Friday with a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. The doors will open for Stanford community members at noon.
Located on Roble Field at 285 Santa Teresa Street on the Stanford campus, the facility provides an additional 75,000 square feet of indoor recreation-based facilities and a new 50-meter outdoor pool to the university.
Features include a state-of-the-art climbing wall, three all-purpose indoor courts for basketball, volleyball and badminton, three exercise studios, academic classrooms, a 14,000 square-foot fitness center and dedicated space for sports medicine and cycling programs.
The swimming pool will be named for the Avery family and will offer recreational and instructional swimming. Men's and women's locker rooms and showers are available.
The Outdoor Education Center houses the student-run adventure program and outdoor equipment rental. In the 3,000 square-foot space there exists is a lounge, library, collaborative working area, classroom, student officer working area, trip registration, rental desk, and retail shop.
The ceremony will include a ribbon cutting and comments from key stakeholders before being opened for community use.