Penn State Suffers First Defeat of Season Against No. 1 Stanford
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Undefeated No. 1 Stanford defeated No. 4 Penn State 3-1 Friday night in Rec Hall, giving the Nittany Lions their first loss of the season.
Four tightly-contested sets pushed both teams to the limit, but after winning the first set, Penn State could not keep up with the lively momentum of the Cardinal as they took the next three sets. Stanford seniors Audriana Fitzmorris and Kathryn Plummer filled up the stat sheet for the Cardinal, each with 18 kills.
Rec Hall became a sea of white Friday night for one of the most highly anticipated matches of the season. Penn State students and fans wore all white to support their Nittany Lions, and they were loud and proud as always.
The first set was even more exciting than anticipated, as the Nittany Lions took the set 29-27. Both teams played aggressively, but the Nittany Lions had the edge as they took advantage of second-chance opportunities. Penn State senior libero Kendall White had a total of seven digs.
Despite an impressive comeback attempt by Penn State, Stanford took the second set 25-23. The Nittany Lions lacked momentum at the start as Stanford took a 19-10 point lead. A storming comeback end up being all for naught.
The third set was very similar to the first as the score was even most of the way, but Stanford took the set this time, 25-23. Finally, Stanford was able to close things out in the fourth set with a 25-21 victory.
Despite the loss, the Nittany Lions played aggressively throughout. Sophomore Gabby Blossom recorded an impressive 52 assists, while senior Kendall White had 22 digs.
“Gabby and Kendall played really hard,” head coach Russ Rose said in postgame.
Rose still doesn’t think the good news is good enough, however.
“I’ve been doing this here for 41 years, and I want to win every match,” Rose said.
The Nittany Lions will have a quick turnaround as they will take on the Oregon Ducks on Saturday night.
Jack McCune is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.