Lutz leads Cardinal women past Illinois in volleyball


Merete Lutz returned from a finger injury to record a career high 19 kills and the second-ranked Stanford's women's volleyball team downed No. 6 Illinois, 16-25, 27-25, 25-18, 25-21, Friday at Rec Hall in University Park, PA as part of the Pac-12/Big 10 Challenge.

The Cardinal (3-0) faces defending national champion and top-ranked Penn State on Saturday at 5 p.m. (PT), in a match to be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Maddie Secco/
Lutz, a redshirt sophomore and returning All-American, made her debut this season memorable, as she had a hitting percentage of .531 and added five blocks.

Freshman opposite Hayley Hodson recorded her second double-double in three matches with 13 kills and 11 digs to go with five blocks.

Seniors Jordan Burgess and Brittany Howard finished with 12 and eight kills, respectively as Stanford out-hit Illinois, .269 to .226, for the match. Both teams finished with 10 blocks.

The Illini came out fired up, hitting .448 in the opening set and took advantage of 10 Cardinal errors. After a back-and-forth second set, which had nine tie scores and two lead changes, Stanford gained control in the third.

The Cardinal reeled off nine straight points to turn a 3-point deficit into a big lead en route to the pivotal victory. Illinois made a final push in the fourth, but it wasn't enough as Lutz registered two kills and a block to finish off the Fighting Illini.

Senior setter Madi Bugg had a season high 49 assists and a team-high 14 digs for her first double-double. Freshman libero Halland McKenna turned in a career high 11 digs and an ace for the Cardinal. Redshirt sophomore Ivana Vanjak, playing just her third match as a middle blocker, hit .500 (4-0-8) and notched four blocks.

Field hockey

Maddie Secco scored in the 24th minute and goalie Dulcie Davies and sixth-ranked Stanford made it stand up in a 1-0 non-conference victory over visiting Indiana on Friday.

The Cardinal (2-1) hosts Miami of Ohio on Sunday at noon in a nonconference match.

Secco, who has scored a goal in each of the first three games, beat her defender and got her shot into the net through the goalie's legs.

"We were a little impatient at the back and disjointed through the midfield," Cardinal coach Tara Danielson said. "The good part is we have a team that is going to fight even when they don't have the momentum."

Stanford did just that, with Secco scoring shortly after a series of crucial stops from Davies, who had four saves in the game to earn her first shutout of the season.

"I was really happy with the performance. They weren't clicking but they stuck it out," said Danielson. "The second half you could see our set pieces were starting to work, but the challenge for this team is to be more consistent."

Danielson was also pleased with Secco, who leads the Cardinal in goals (3), points (6), and shots (7).

"Maddie executes her role well. She has a lot of experience and you can see when she gets inside the 20 that she is going to make something happen."

Secco led Stanford with four shots, Fran Tew had three, and Clemence Couteau two. The Cardinal outshot Indiana 12-10 and held a 5-3 advantage in penalty corners.

Stanford has opened the season with three matches all determined by a single goal.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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