The No. 8 Gophers volleyball team beat top-ranked Stanford 27-25, 27-25, 23-25, 25-20 in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in State College, Pa., ending the Cardinal’s 37-match winning streak.
Stephanie Samedy had 21 kills, 11 digs and six blocks for Minnesota (4-2), Alexis Hart 15 kills and 6-4 Regan Pittman 12 kills and seven blocks in one of coach Hugh McCutcheon’s biggest wins in his eight seasons as the Gophers coach.
“Really happy with the result, and I’m really happy with the way the team competed,” McCutcheon said. “I thought there has been a lot of growth over the last couple weeks of how the team competed, and it was good to see that exhibited here tonight.
“It was a tough turnaround for Stanford to play late last night [when the Cardinal beat No. 4 Penn State 3-1] and turn around and play us today, but we still had to go out there and play and I was really proud of how the team competed.”
Setter Kylie Miller, a first-year transfer from UCLA, had 50 assists and 17 digs for the Gophers while CC McGraw had a team-high 20 digs.
With the Gophers leading 23-20 in the decisive fourth set, Samedy, a 6-2 junior outside hitter, got her 21st kill. And then, on match point, Madeleine Gates of Stanford made an attack error.
Kathryn Plummer, the 6-6 senior outside hitter and two-time national player of the year, led the Cardinal (5-1) with 20 kills.
Stanford was 34-1 last season and returned Plummer and two other first team All-America players from a team that beat Nebraska in the NCAA championship game last year at Target Center.
The Gophers outhit the Cardinal .247 to .185 and had a 13-12 edge in blocks in beating Stanford for the first time in 10 matches.
Minnesota will play Clemson and Oral Roberts next in the Diet Coke Classic on Thursday and Saturday at Maturi Pavilion.