Stanford Unveils Challenging 2006 Schedule

April 24, 2006

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Stanford, Ca - Three regular season tournaments, including a trip to the Hawaii Tournament, a rematch against South Bay rival Santa Clara at the Stanford Invitational, and an 18-match schedule in the always tough Pacific-10 Conference, highlight the 2006 Stanford women's volleyball schedule, announced today by Cardinal head coach John Dunning.

'This will be a very challenging and tough non-league schedule which will lead into the Pac-10, a league that has captured five straight NCAA titles. The Pac-10 will again be the toughest league in the country.'

Stanford opens the 2006 campaign on August 26 at Maples Pavilion against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, a school that has competed in every NCAA Tournament.

Then the Cardinal hits the road to compete in the BYU Tournament from August 31 - September 2 in Provo, Utah. The tournament field will include Virginia Commonwealth, Texas A & M/Corpus Christi and host BYU.

After a five day break, Stanford then travels to Honolulu to compete in the Hawaii Tournament. Stanford will face a field that will include Northwestern, Fairfield and Hawaii, a team that will be among the contenders for the NCAA title in 2006.

More tournament action is on the agenda when the Cardinal hosts the Stanford Invitational (Sept. 14-16). The first night of action finds Stanford facing South Bay rival Santa Clara at 7 p.m. The 5 p.m. match will pit Georgetown vs UC Irvine.

The next night (Sept. 15), UC Irvine will play St. Mary's at 5 p.m. followed by Stanford vs Georgetown at 7 p.m. On the last day of the Stanford Invitational (Sept. 16), Santa Clara will face UC Irvine at noon followed by Stanford vs St. Mary's at 5 p.m., and then Santa Clara vs Georgetown at 7 p.m..

The Pacific-10 Conference has produced the last five NCAA champions, and according to head coach John Dunning, the league will again be the strongest in the country.

'We will have to be ready to play every night of every match,' said Dunning. 'The league is again very strong.'

Stanford begins league play on the road on Sept. 21 at Washington State. The next night, Stanford visits Washington which captured the NCAA title in 2005 with a three-game sweep over Nebraska.

'Everybody in the league will be much improved,'said Dunning. 'Washington lost some key seniors, but they are again going to be a very strong team.'

Stanford begins home Pac-10 play against Arizona and Arizona State on Sept. 29 and 30.

In all, Stanford will have 13 home matches during the 2006 season.

Stanford has participated in every NCAA Tournament (25 years) and with the return of a high-powered offense, a tough defense and the addition of several key freshmen recruits, the Cardinal will be among the top teams in the country. A trio of All-Americans returns including outside hitter Kristin Richards, middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo and setter Bryn Kehoe. Richards was a first team All-American and named to the All Pac-10 team for the third straight season in 2005. Richards led the team in kills (544) and her 4.90 kills per game average was third-best in the Pac-10. Akinradewo, the 2005 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, was a AVCA second team All-American. Akinradewo, a middle blocker, was first on the Cardinal, third in the Pac-10 and 13th in the nation in hitting percentage at .397. Kehoe, despite missing seven matches with a broken right hand, was selected as a third-team All-American.

Stanford will also return such standouts as Cynthia Barboza, Jessica Fishburn, Franci Girard, Michelle Mellard, Nji Nnamani, Lizzie Suiter and Erin Waller from a team that finished the 2005 season with a 26-6 record, a 14-4 ledger in the Pac-10 (tied for second place) and a #13 national ranking.

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