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Penn State Women's Volleyball Still #1 After Dominating Stanford

...but the Cardinal garner one first place vote? Yes, you read that right.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After struggling a little bit in dispatching then-#21 Colorado in the B1G-Pac 12 challenge on Friday night, on Saturday evening Russ's squad had the premier matchup of the NCAA women's volleyball non-con slate when the defending national champs took on #2 Stanford at Rec Hall.

Stanford entered the match having garnered 8 of the available 64 first place votes; Penn State got 54, with Texas and Nebraska each picking up one. Most expected a dogfight, with the match being broadcast live on the Big Ten Network--and it didn't disappoint, with the Cardinal coming out strong early, despite a season-ending injury to their star Inky Ajanaku that is causing her to redshirt this year. Near the end of the first set, though, the Nittany Lions roared back and claimed a lead over Stanford--one they would virtually never relinquish.

They took the first set 25-21, and stormed out to a lead in the second, going up 2-0 into the break, claiming the second 25-22. The third set ended up with an even more lopsided final score, 25-18--and what was supposed to be a dogfight, and what many expected to be another four (or five) set nailbiter, similar to the last few times the two teams met, ended unexpectedly early when the Lions swept Stanford.

The result? The awesome Haleigh Washington earned Co-Big Ten Player of the week, deservedly. And Penn State is still #1, earning most of the first place votes they hadn't gotten previously.

That's right, I said most--and if you see that graphic, you see that the one first place vote that didn't go to the Nittany Lions didn't go to the Huskers or Longhorns, who had each had votes prior. Rather, inexplicably, the lone dissenting vote went to Stanford--the same team that the Nittany Lions had just dispatched in straight sets.

I'm loathe to quote message board chatter here, let alone BWI, but this is just too good--according to a poster on that public forum, the one Stanford vote came from Bucknell head coach Anna Allison, who said "I watched the match-I thought Stanford although not as big-played more ball controlled, less sloppy vball-PSU certainly has the size, but just pure volleyball, I thought Stanford was a bit better this week."

Wait...what? Check out the thread for some good retorts to that baseless claim. As for Allison, she's been at Bucknell for 11 years (head coach since 2013) and they've never made the NCAA tournament since she got there--the program itself has been twice (in 1998 & 2000), losing to PSU in the first round in 1998. Overall in her two years at Bucknell, they haven't broken .500 in overall play let alone in-conference play in the Patriot League. But that has nothing to do with her vote, which every other coach in the nation would disagree with.