The second-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team ended, perhaps, the greatest winning streak ever by knocking off top-ranked and heretofore impenetrable Penn State, 28-26, 25-12, 25-18, on Saturday in the championship match of the Big Four Invitational hosted by Florida.
It was Penn State's first loss since a five-set setback to Stanford on Sept. 15, 2007 in the Yale Classic. The Nittany Lions' record-breaking winning streak was snapped at 109 matches.
During the streak, the longest Division I women's streak in history and second overall only to the Miami men's tennis team's streak of 137 matches, Penn State lost just 19 sets. The Nittany Lions won a record 111 straight sets from the final set of the 2007 national championship match against Stanford to the third set of the 2008 NCAA national semifinal against Nebraska. Penn State also won an NCAA-best 55 straight road matches and was not out-blocked for 68 consecutive matches.
Stanford senior outside hitter Alix Klineman, who recorded 16 kills and 10 digs in Saturday's victory, was named the tournament MVP. She was joined by teammate Cassidy Lichtman, Penn State's Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson, Florida's Kelly Murphy and Texas' Rachael Adams.
"I think it's really exciting for my team. We had lost some really big matches in that streak to Penn State, so to have a chance to win a match against them was really great," Stanford coach John Dunning said. "They're a great team and have been for a long time."
Klineman made it all the more special as she surpassed the 1,500-kill mark for her career, becoming the 10th Stanford player to do so. She accomplished it with her first kill of the match and now has 1,515.
Lichtman had 12 kills, 22 assists, seven digs and hit at a .438 clip, earning her spot on the all-tournament team.
Stanford (7-0) travels to Saint Mary's on Friday night as part of the Bay Area Challenge.
Stephanie Byrne scored the game-winning goal seven minutes into overtime, lifting No. 19 Stanford to a 2-1 victory over Iowa on Saturday morning in a neutral site contest played at Kent State.
The Cardinal (4-1) faces Robert Morris on Monday afternoon in hopes of a three-game sweep on the road trip.
Byrne, who scored her third goal in three games against the Hawkeyes, scored unassisted at the 76:36 mark when she converted on a rebound from three yards out.
Stanford controlled tempo throughout the game, outshooting Iowa 14-5 and holding a 9-4 advantage in penalty corners.
Xanthe Travlos scored her second goal in as many days, breaking a scoreless tie in the 50th minute with an unassisted goal just inside the arc on the left wing.
Iowa tied the game with less than two minutes remaining to set up Byrne's game-winner.
Becky Dru led all players with five shot attempts, while Byrne and Travlos each added three.