No. 3 Stanford Begins NCAA Title Quest At AVCA/NACWAA Showcase

Aug. 23, 2005

AVCA/NACWAA Showcase, Qwest Center, Omaha, Ne (CSTV)
Friday, August 26, 6:00 p.m. (ct)
Stanford Cardinal (0-0 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) vs Penn State (0-0 overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

Friday, August 26, 8:30 p.m. (ct)
Nebraska (0-0 overall, 0-0 Big 12) vs Hawai'i (0-0 overall, 0-0 WAC)

AVCA/NACWAA Showcase, Qwest Center, Omaha, Ne (CSTV)
Saturday, August 27, 5:00 p.m.
Consolation Match

Saturday, August 27, 7:00 p.m.
Championship Match

Series Story
A 3-2 victory by Penn State at last year's Stanford Invitational has given the Nittany Lions a 4-3 edge in the series against Stanford ... Kristin Richards, Ogonna Nnamani and Jen Hucke combined for 69 of Stanford's 85 kills ... Kate Price led Penn State with 28 kills ... Stanford held Penn State to a .192 hitting percentage while the Cardinal checked in at .263 ... Stanford holds a 7-3 advantge over Nebraska while Hawai'i leads the series with the Cardinal, 15-10.

Coaches Corner
John Dunning begins his fifth season as head coach of the Stanford Cardinal ... Under Dunning's direction, the Cardinal has won two NCAA titles (2001, 2004) and produced a runnerup finish in 2002 ... His Stanford record is 120-20 (.857) against the toughest collegiate competition in the United States ... Dunning's career mark (16 seasons at Pacific, 4 seasons at Stanford) is 557-122 (.820) ... In 2005, Dunning was named recipient (along with Penn State's Russ Rose) of the USA Volleyball All-Time Great Coach Awards.

Scouting Stanford
Stanford lost one of its all-time great players to graduation, Ogonna Nnamani, who won numerous athletic and academic awards last year including AVCA Player of the Year, and Collegiate Woman of the Year (Honda/Broderick Award) ... Nnamani was a dominant, intimidating player for Stanford opponents, and her presence on the court will be difficult to match ... Stanford also graduated a second starter, Jen Hucke, who was a steady influence in terms of blocks and kills ... Leahi Hall was another Stanford senior who graduated ... Hall, a defensive specialist/libero, brought excellent defensive skills and a strong work ethic to the court ... Stanford returns a strong group of players, including five starters ... The list includes two-time All Pac-10 selection Kristin Richards, starting setter Bryn Kehoe, middle blocker Lizzie Suiter, outside hitter Franci Girard and libero Courtney Schultz ... Richards, a two-year starter and an All Pac-10 selection in 2004, set a school record last year with 502 digs and was second in kills (486) ... Kehoe etched her name into the Cardinal record book with a school record 1,637 assists as the team's starting setter as a freshman ... Suiter dominated at middle blocker with 198 total blocks, second-best in school history ... Girard started as a freshman last year and recorded 234 kills, third-best on the team ... Schultz averaged 2.61 digs per game as the team's starting libero ... Stanford also returns excellent depth with the likes of senior setter Katie Goldhahn, sophomore defensive specialist Kirsten Hornbeak, junior outside hitter Nji Nnamani, and junior middle blockers Michelle Mellard and Jennifer Wilson ... The Stanford freshman class is nothing short of outstanding ... Five new players are entering the Cardinal program, and their talent and work ethic will help continue Stanford's strong tradition in women's volleyball ... The list of newcomers includes Foluke Akinradewo, Cynthia Barboza, Jessica Fishburn, Alex Fisher and Erin Waller ... Akinradewo was an outstanding three-sport athlete in high school ... Akinradewo has been a member of the United States Junior National Team the past three years ... Barboza is a very gifted athlete who despite being in high school served as an alternate on the 2004 United States Olympic Team ... Barboza's talent is limitless ... Fishburn played outside hitter while in high school, but her marvelous ball control skills and her passion for playing defense means that she will probably make the change to defensive specialist and libero at Stanford ... Fisher, according to the Cardinal coaching staff, has the talent to make a contribution immediately at the outside hitter position or at the opposite position ... Waller has gained experience playing on some of the best club and high school teams in the nation.

Frequent Fliers,
Stanford believes in seeing all parts of the United States ... In 2000, Stanford started the year with nine road matches, and the following year, the Cardinal played its first eleven matches away from Maples Pavilion ... This year, the defending NCAA champion Stanford Cardinal will gather extensive frequent flier miles during the first three weeks of the 2005 season, first with two matches at the AVCA/NACWAA Showcase in Omaha, Ne (August 26-27) followed by the Boston College Tournament (Sept. 1-3), a road match at New Hampshire (Sept. 6) and then back to the Midwest to the Colorado Invitational (Sept. 8-10) ... Stanford will then return home to host the Stanford Invitational (Sept. 15-17) at Maples Pavilion.

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