Cardinal Freshmen Power #3 Stanford to victory over #5 Penn State

Aug. 26, 2005

Omaha, Ne - Freshmen Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo combined for 38 kills to help lead the third-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team to a 30-24, 30-24, 28-30, 23-30, 15-10 victory over fifth-ranked Penn State in the opening round of the AVCA/NACWAA Showcase on Friday night at the Qwest Center Omaha. It was also the season opener for both teams.

Stanford, playing without its starting middle blocker, Lizzie Suiter (who is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle), had to mount a comeback for the win after Penn State got its game plan in order in games three and four.

'This was a good start for us,' said Cardinal head coach John Dunning. 'After the first two games, our serving and passing game went away, and Penn State started to play well. I thought we did a good job in game five after we got pushed around by Penn State in game four.'

Barboza, playing and starting in her first collegiate volleyball match, tallied 22 kills in 47 attempts and a hitting percentage of .362.

'Cynthia is a nice presence on the court,' said Dunning. 'She is getting better every day in practice. I'm glad she is on our side.'

Barboza, an alternate on the 2004 United States Olympic team, added 12 digs, two block solos and a service ace.

'This was a good match for both teams,' said Barboza. 'I knew Penn State would be a tough team.'

Akinradewo, a member of the United States Junior National team the past three seasons, added 16 kills (.293 hitting percentage) along with four blocks (two block solos).

Stanford featured a balanced attack that included 14 kills and 15 digs from All-American Kristin Richards and a career-high13 kills from Nji Nnamani.

Stanford gained the early match momentum with a 30-24 win in game one. A hitting error by Penn State and a service ace by Bryn Kehoe helped give Stanford its biggest lead in game one, 26-18. The Cardinal closed out game one thanks to Penn State which was charged with a net violation.

Six of Barboza's 22 kills came in game one along with a .455 hitting percentage. Akinradewo responded with two block solos and two kills in game one.

Although the Cardinal hit only .238 in game one, Stanford's defense held the Nittany Lions to a hitting percentage of .171.

Penn State led throughout much of game two, but still could not produce a victory against the determined Cardinal. The Nittany Lions led by as many as three points (13-16, 14-17), but Stanford tied the game (18-18) and went ahead for only the second time (21-20) in game two and extended the lead to 26-22 on a kill by Richards and a Penn State hitting error. Stanford then closed out the game (30-24) on a kill by Barboza.

Penn State dominated game three.The Nittany Lions jumped to a 11-7 lead, and although the Cardinal tied the game at 19-19, and went ahead, 21-20, on a block solo by Barboza, the Cardinal could not detain Penn State's momentum. Tied at 26-26 and again at 28-28, Stanford was charged with a service error and a setting error to give Penn State the game win.

The Nittany Lions momentum continued in game four. Penn State led from start-to-finish. Up 28-22, Penn State got kills from Cassy Salyer and Kate Price to close out game four, 30-23.

In game five, Stanford gained back its momentum. After being down 3-1, the Cardinal scored seven of the next eight points to take an 8-4 lead, and never looked back. Barboza produced the winning kill to give Stanford the 15-10 game five decision.

Stanford will play either top-ranked Nebraska or fourth-ranked Hawaii in Saturday's championship match (7:30 p.m. ct) on CSTV. Nebraska is currently playing Hawaii in the other semifinal match.

'We will be the underdog, but I'm happy to be playing Saturday night (the championship match),' said Dunning.

Stanford (1-0) 30 30 28 23 15
Penn State (0-1) 24 24 30 30 10

Cardinal Catalogue: Stanford holds a 7-3 advantage over Nebraska in their series ... The last Stanford-Nebraska matchup took place during the 2001 season in the semifinals of the NCAA Final Four in San Diego with the Cardinal scoring a 31-29, 30-28, 30-21 victory ... The Cardinal went on to defeat Long Beach State in three straight games (31-29, 30-28, 30-25) to give Stanford the NCAA title in head coach John Dunning's first season on The Farm ... Hawai'i holds a 15-10 margin of victory over Stanford in their series ... Their last meeting took place on Sept. 13, 2003, with Hawai'i scoring a 30-22, 29-31, 30-27, 25-30, 16-14 victory in Honolulu ... Hawai'i features a Bay Area product, sophomore defensive specialist Kelly Ong who is from Bishop O'Dowd High School ... The Cardinal is attempting to win its second AVCA/NACWAA Showcase championship ... In 2002, the Cardinal defeated Minnesota (30-21, 24-30, 30-27, 30-21) in the title match ... For her efforts in leading the Cardinal to the 2002 tournament championship, Logan Tom was voted MVP.

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