Four different players recorded at least five blocks and the second-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team used the diversity to beat visiting Minnesota 25-15, 25-23, 25-18, Sunday in a nonconference match at Maples Pavilion.
The Cardinal (2-0) hits the road for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in State College, PA next weekend, taking on No. 8 Illinois on Friday at 2 p.m. (PT) and No. 1 Penn State on Saturday at 5 p.m. (PT).
Tami Alade had six blocks, including a solo. Ivana Vanjak, Hayley Hodson and Madi Bugg were in on five blocks each, with Hodson and Bugg each recording a solo block. Brittany Howard added a pair of solo blocks as Stanford had 15 team blocks, which helped slow the Golden Gophers offense to the tune of a .095 attack percentage. Minnesota committed 26 hitting errors.
The Cardinal hit at a .253 pace and recorded six service aces, two from Jordan Burgess, who had a team-high 11 kills. Howard added 10 kills. Bugg distributed 26 assists.
Hodson finished with nine kills and 12 digs. Freshman libero Halland McKenna notched six digs and three assists, while sophomore defensive specialist Sarah Benjamin also recorded six digs for the Cardinal.
If the first two matches are any indication, this could be a wild ride for No. 6 Stanford, which scored late to force overtime a second time in as many games.
The difference in Sunday's nonconference match against No. 5 Duke is that the Cardinal took advantage and added the game-winner for an unlikely 3-2 victory over the Blue Devils.
Duke took a 2-0 edge just before halftime but the Stanford defense stepped up and gave the offense a chance to catch up, and then win.
Casey Deeds completed the comeback, scoring a sudden-death goal with 14 seconds remaining in the first overtime.
The Cardinal (1-1) lost to No. 4 Syracuse on Friday in overtime, after tying the match late in regulation.
"At halftime I told the team we need to pick up our defense and be tougher at the back," Stanford coach Tara Danielson said. "It took the whole game in regulation for us to come back but the girls came out and showed they really wanted it."
With just under 20 minutes remaining in regulation, Maddie Secco tipped a Millie Stefanowicz penalty corner pass past Lauren Blazing to cut the Blue Devils' lead in half.
Fran Tew made a powerful run into the circle in the final minute of regulation and fed Kristina Bassi, who scored her first career goal to send the game to overtime.
Dulcie Davies kept the Cardinal alive in overtime with two outstanding saves before Deeds scored the winner.
Caroline Beaudoin charged past several Duke defenders before slipping it to Deeds, who rolled it through the goalkeeper's legs.
"It's a huge turnaround for us," said Danielson. "It's the start of the season so everyone is still trying things out. Our team has made some good adjustments over the weekend, and to play two overtime games at the start of the season is great preparation."