On the road at the Texas A&M Tournament in College Station, Texas, No. 4 Stanford women’s volleyball (4-1) dropped its first match against No. 3 Penn State (5-0) — the team’s first loss since Nov. 12, 2016 — but rebounded with a win against Texas A&M (2-2).
The Cardinal kept Friday’s match close against their rival Penn State, but the Nittany Lions played a cleaner game, outhitting Stanford .257 to .214 on the night to take the 26-24, 25-17, 18-25, 25-19 four-set win. Penn State also committed fewer errors in over the match, combining for 16 to the Cardinal’s 26.
Despite the result, Stanford showed strong play throughout, a promising sign for the season to come. Sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Plummer delivered a career-high 27 kills with 11 digs. Fellow sophomore Michaela Keefe also tallied a career-high with 15 kills in the match. Guiding the offense, sophomore setter Jenna Gray was outstanding, finishing with 54 assists to go along with four kills, six digs and two blocks.
Defensively, sophomore libero Morgan Hentz and freshman defensive specialist Kate Formico packed a one-two punch in the back row. Hentz collected a match-high 21 digs and Formico finished with 16 for a career high. Junior middle blocker Tami Alade also had a strong night, finishing with six of the team’s seven blocks.
Looking to rebound against host Texas A&M on Sunday, the Cardinal delivered a 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 sweep, buoyed by Plummer’s 22 kills and a dominant team defensive performance. Stanford held the Aggies to a .089 attack percentage, and the team combined for 11.0 blocks in the match.
Alade and sophomore middle blocker Audriana Fitzmorris led the way with their blocks, posting six and five, respectively. Freshman outside hitter Meghan McClure added three blocks and a career-best 10 digs to her five kills in the match — the freshman has played in every set of the young season. Hentz was consistent once again in her role as libero, tallying 12 digs and a career-high seven assists, earning her the tournament’s ‘Best Libero’ accolade. Two Cardinal were recognized at the end of the tournament, with Plummer receiving the ‘Best Attacker’ award.
The Cardinal will travel again next weekend to compete in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. Stanford will take on host Illinois on Friday at 5 p.m. before getting a rematch against Penn State on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand ‘at’ stanford.edu.