Freshman Hayley Hodson and senior Brittany Howard combined for 31 kills, but the second-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team lost to defending national champion and top-ranked Penn State, 25-21, 25-22, 25-18, at the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge on Saturday.
The teams have met in the NCAA tournament the past two years and have developed a rivalry. Penn State leads the series, 10-8. They are the only two schools in the nation to have participated in every NCAA tournament since its inception in 1981.
Hodson and Howard carried the Cardinal offense. They combined for a .467 hitting percentage, compared to .000 for the rest of the team.
Hodson had a season high and 16 kills with seven digs, two blocks, an ace and an assist. She had only two hitting errors on 31 swings for a .452 hitting percentage.
Howard had 15 kills, two off her career high, and only one hitting error in 29 attacks for .483. She also had 10 digs to earn a double-double.
Stanford lost in three sets for the first time since Oct. 4, 2013 at USC, a span of 58 matches.
Howard was especially effective in the first set, with seven kills. The Cardinal was up 9-5 after a Madi Bugg dump for a point. The set was tied six times until Penn State went ahead for good on a Stanford service error.
Stanford had trouble with its serve-receive at times, forcing the Cardinal to play out of system. Penn State took advantage and often set Haleigh Washington on the slide.
Washington had 12 kills and a .526 hitting percentage, and was among four Nittany Lions with double figures in kills. Penn State hit .327 as a team, with some of its most efficient hitting late in the match.
Stanford continues a four-match road trip at North Carolina on Thursday at Duke on Friday.
Men's water polo
No. 4 Stanford opened its season with a pair of lop-sided victories at the Bruno Classic on Saturday in Cambridge, MA.
The Cardinal topped MIT, 30-9, in the morning and came back to beat Harvard, 21-5, in the afternoon.
Stanford scored the first six goals of the game, en route to the victory over MIT in its first contest of the day. Senior Bret Bonanni guided the Cardinal with nine goals.
Led by five goals from freshman Kyle Weikert and four each from Bonanni and Adam Abdulhamid, the Cardinal posted the victory over Harvard in the evening.
Stanford responded from an early Harvard goal with an 8-0 run and never looked back en route to the win.
A 43-second spurt in the first quarter produced three goals with sophomore Cody Smith opening the scoring at the 4:44 mark of the opening period. Bonanni and Abdulhamid followed with goals at the 4:35 and 4:01 mark, respectively.
Stanford held Harvard scoreless for over 10 minutes, while getting two more goals from Abdulhamid, another each from Bonanni and Smith and a score from freshman Marco Stanchi to build the 8-1 advantage.
The Cardinal and Crimson traded goals over the final 3:18 of the second quarter to make it 10-3 at the half.
Stanford out-scored Harvard, 11-2, in the second half with Weikert producing four of his five goals over the final two quarters.
Sophomore Cody Smith (three goals), freshmen Marco Stanchi (two goals) and Blake Parrish (two goals), and redshirt freshman Grant Sivesind (one goal) each contributed scores for the Cardinal against Harvard.
Stanford will close play in the Bruno Classic with three games on Sunday as the Cardinal faces St. Francis Brooklyn at 6:15 a.m. PT, Bucknell at 8:45 a.m. PT, and hosts Brown at 12:30 p.m. PT on the Brown campus in Providence, R.I.