Falling short of the Final Four and its ultimate goal of a national championship, the No. 7 Stanford women’s volleyball team (27-6) was defeated by No. 2 Penn State (32-2) in a five-set thriller in the Lexington, Ky. regional final on Saturday, 25-22, 22-25, 26-28, 25-18, 11-15.
Stanford women’s volleyball
The No. 7 Stanford women’s volleyball team (27-5) advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament on Friday after it fought off No. 10 Minnesota (29-7) in straight sets, 28-26, 25-23, 25-22. In a match in which any of the games could have gone in either direction, late Cardinal runs at the end of the first and third games proved to make a big difference.
Perhaps nothing said more about the contrasting attitudes of the Stanford women’s volleyball team and its opponent, the Oklahoma Sooners, than the demeanors of their respective head coaches. While Sooners head coach Santiago Restrepo stood the entire match and was constantly in the ears of his players, 29th-year head coach John Dunning of Stanford was as calm and composed as usual. Dunning’s confidence in his team was evident, and rightfully so, as the Cardinal continued what it hopes will be a championship run in the NCAA tournament.
With pride and possibly the Pac-12 Championship hanging in the balance, Stanford women’s volleyball will host Washington tonight and, in doing so, hopes to avoid dropping both regular-season games to the Huskies for the first time since 2005.
Going into its Oct. 4 matchup against USC in Los Angeles, the Stanford women’s volleyball team had not been swept in 55 consecutive matches — a streak dating back to Oct. 29, 2011. But in a matter of 92 minutes, the Trojans ended the run by defeating the Cardinal in three sets.
After shutting out then-No. 16 Arizona State at Maples Pavilion on Friday night, the Stanford women’s volleyball team heads into perhaps its most difficult road trip of the season on a high note riding a seven-game winning streak.
Stanford men’s volleyball pulled out two dramatic five-set victories against No. 5 Pepperdine and No. 13 USC this weekend to avenge early season losses and establish itself as one of the toughest teams in the MPSF.