This was huge. Never mind Washington's current record. A victory in Seattle is worth its weight in emeralds and the ninth-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team can trade it in for seeding purposes come NCAA tournament time.
The Cardinal unearthed a rare treasure in beating Washington, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 17-25, 15-9, on Wednesday night in a Pac-12 Conference showdown of top 10 teams.
Stanford (3-0, 9-2) took ownership of first place in the conference and even with 17 conference matches remaining on the schedule, including a rematch with the Huskies, this one had to feel good.
The Cardinal already know to be weary of No. 17 Washington State (2-0, 12-2), which currently has the best overall record of any Pac-12 team.
Even when the Cougars were out-manned, they always put up a good fight in Pullman and that's where Stanford visits for a 7 p.m. match Friday.
What makes this victory so Dawg-gone special is that it comes near the end of a road trip that carried Stanford through three different states in eight days.
The Cardinal had to cram in all these matches even while going through the aches and pains of a new school year that started Monday.
Stanford has also been without sophomore Hayley Hodson this road trip and her absence cannot be taken lightly even if the Cardinal is 5-0 without her in the lineup.
Hodson, one of the most fundamentally sound players on the planet, was the national Freshman of the Year and a first-team all-American last season.
Thanks to the recruiting efforts of the coaching staff (Denise Corlett takes a huge role in that department) and, just maybe, the genius of hiring former Cardinal all-American Cassidy Lichtman, Stanford coach John Dunning has a few quality spare parts in his tool box.
Kathryn Plummer, who apparently doesn't care what kind of surface she plays on, just needs a volleyball in her hands to do good things.
She contributed 18 kills and five blocks and Plummer probably deserves being named player of the match, though that may be a disservice to Inky Ajanaku (13 kills, six blocks), or Morgan Hentz (25 digs), or Michaela Keefe (7 kills, 17 digs), or Audriana Fitzmorris (9 kills, 7 blocks), or even the effective duo of setters Kelsey Humphreys and Jenna Gray.
In other words, Stanford's success is predicated on the whole being larger than the sum of its parts, which is why beating the Huskies without one of those parts makes it impressive.
Stanford out hit Washington (11-2, 1-2 Pac-12) .243 to .200, held a 90-79 advantage in digs and matched the Huskies with 13 blocks.
Plummer had a team-high 18 kills on .268 hitting and five blocks. Ajanaku totaled 13 kills and six blocks, while Fitzmorris had nine kills, seven blocks and a season-best four digs.
Gray recorded a season-high 35 assists and 11 digs for her second double-double of the season. Humphreys also had a double-double with 23 assists and 11 digs.
Ivana Vanjak added eight kills, seven digs and two blocks. Sophomore defensive specialist Halland McKenna finished with a season-high 13 digs, making it five Cardinal players with double-digit digs.