Varied attack gives Stanford women a volleyball victory


Getting it done from the service line, the ninth-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team handed No. 13 Penn State its third straight loss of the season, sweeping the Nittany Lions, 26-24, 25-18, 25-22, Sunday, in the Big Ten-Pac-12 Challenge at the Coors Events Center.

It marked the first sweep for the Cardinal over the Nittany Lions since 2010, when Stanford ended the Nittany Lions' record 109-match winning streak.

Merete Lutz
Stanford put down a season-high eight aces in the win, while committing just two errors from behind the service line. Sophomore outside hitter Hayley Hodson recorded a career-high four aces for the Cardinal.

Stanford out hit Penn State .232 to .227, while the Nittany Lions held the advantage in kills (43 to 41), digs (50 to 49) and blocks (10 to 8). Nine service errors hurt Penn State, which failed to record an ace.

Redshirt senior Inky Ajanaku led Stanford with 11 kills on .476 hitting and three blocks. She needs just two blocks to move into eighth place on the Cardinal's all-time blocks list.

Hodson finished with nine kills and digs, while freshman Audriana Fitzmorris added eight kills on a .438 attack percentage to go with four blocks, two digs and an ace.

Senior setter Kelsey Humphreys racked up 21 assists and eight digs, while Jenna Gray totaled 13 assists, six digs and an ace.

Freshman libero Morgan Hentz finished with 14 digs and an ace and sophomore defensive specialist Halland McKenna registered four digs and an ace.

The Cardinal returns to The Farm next week to host the Stanford Invitational. Stanford will take on No. 24 Purdue on Friday at 8 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks and Cal Poly on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Field hockey

Jessica Welch scored twice and the Cardinal blew past visiting Kent State' 5-1, Sunday in a nonconference match.

Stanford (1-2) put up seven shots in the first half, while the defense kept the Flashes (2-1) at bay, allowing only two shots for Kent State.

Stanford broke the stalemate in the 26th minute as Casey Deeds sent in a penalty corner that Katie Keyser set up for Welch to crush into the goal for the 1-0 lead that held up through halftime.

"We were able to get our offense rolling and build connections into the attacking half," Stanford coach Tara Danielson said. "We showed a hunger around the goal and solid execution in the attacking defense."

The second half saw the Cardinal tear the game open as it needed about two minutes before Keyser collected her second assist by crossing it to Kristina Bassi for the put away. Marissa Cicione struck 11 minutes later off a penalty corner to jump out to a 3-0 lead.

Welch put away her second goal of the game with a nasty shot into the left side of the goal.

An all-rookie fifth goal closed out the game as Hailey Szybunka set up Nina Randolph with a textbook cross that Randolph finished.

The Cardinal hits the road to take on Boston College on Saturday and reigning NCAA Champion, Syracuse on Sunday. Both games are slated for 11 a.m. PT starting times in Syracuse.

— Stanford Athletics

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