No. 4 Stanford Opens 2006 Season At Home Versus UCSB

Aug. 23, 2006

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COMING UP: No. 4 Stanford kicks off the 2006 season at home versus UC Santa Barbara this Saturday, August 26 (5:00 pm) at Maples Pavilion. On Friday night, the Cardinal squad will tune up against alumni in a scrimmage beginning at 7:00 pm at Maples, free to the public. Former Stanford greats Tara Conrad Cooling, Sara Dukes, Denise Hallerbach, Lindsay Kagawa, Debbie Lambert, Lane Harris Murray, Laurie Sawin-Quinn, Lisa Sharpley Vanacht and Lindsay Yamasaki are just a few of the alumni set to take on the 2006 squad.

2005 YEAR IN REVIEW: The Cardinal finished the 2005 season with a 26-6 mark, a 14-4 ledger in the Pac-10 (tied for second place) and a #13 national ranking. The Cardinal has now finished first or second in the Pac-10 in 24 of 25 seasons in league competition. For a 25th-straight season, Stanford competed at the NCAA Tournament after being awarded a fifth-seed and selected to host the first and second rounds. The Cardinal opened the tournament with a 30-25, 30-20, 30-21 victory over Nevada, but fell to No. 11 Santa Clara 30-23, 19-30, 27-30, 29-31 in the second round. Last season, 18 of Stanford's 26 wins were by margins of 3-0. The Cardinal's longest winning streak was 15 matches, during which the team generated a .348 hitting percentage (886-269-1772).

ABOUT THE GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara travels to The Farm after opening the 2006 season at Fresno State Friday night. The Gauchos won a fourth-straight Big West championship in 2005 with the help of returning all-conference honoree Brett Quirarte (Sophomore, MB). Head coach Kathy Gregory, now in her 33rd year, was named Big West Coach of the Year after leading her squad to a 21-9 overall record. UC Santa Barbara returns eight letterwinners in 2006, including three starters. UCSB leads the series against the Cardinal, 8-7, but fell to Stanford, 3-1 (30-28, 26-30, 30-23, 30-21), last season at the Stanford Invitational.

UP NEXT: Following Saturday's matchup against the Gauchos, the Cardinal will hit the road for a six-match road stretch. Stanford will first head to Provo, UT to take on BYU, Virginia Commonwealth and Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the BYU Tournment on September 1-2. The Cardinal will then trek to Honolulu, HI for the Waikiki Beach Marriott Volleyball Challenge (September 7-9), facing Northwestern, Fairfield and host No. 7 Hawai'i.

CSTV/AVCA TOP 25 POLL: Stanford opens 2006 with a No. 4 ranking in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll, garnering 13 first-place votes. Nebraska took top honors in the preseason poll with 14 first-place votes, followed by Penn State in second and defending national champion Washington in third. Local squad Santa Clara notched a sixth ranking, while Pac-10 foes UCLA and USC garnered 10th and 14th rankings, respectively. Cal was picked 17th in the coaches' poll and Arizona was the final ranked Pac-10 team at 18th.

PAC-10 PRESEASON COACHES POLL: The Cardinal has been picked to win this year's conference title by league coaches. Stanford picked up eight first-place votes in the preseason poll. UCLA has been ranked second in the Pac-10 with two first-place votes, while defending national champion Washington was picked third. Conference coaches have correctly picked the Pac-10 champion in 10 of the previous 17 polls.

SCOUTING STANFORD: The Cardinal boasts 11 returning letterwinners in 2006 and will add two oustanding freshman recruits to the squad. Returning All-Americans Foluke Akinradewo, Bryn Kehoe and Kristin Richards, as well as standout sophomore Cynthia Barboza, will form a high-powered offense for the Cardinal. Kehoe and Barboza each missed multiple games in 2005 due to a hand and knee injury, respectively, but have recovered fully for the 2006 season. Lizzie Suiter, Nji Nnamani, Franci Girard, Jessica Fishburn, Erin Waller and Michelle Mellard all started or saw significant action last season. Suiter's playing time was limited due to injury in 2005, but has also fully recovered and was one of Stanford's top performers in Europe in June. Nnamani was fourth on the team in kills last season, while Girard was fifth in kills. Girard was also limited by a foot injury in 2005. A three-year veteran and co-captain, Mellard will see action at middle blocker. Fishburn performed at a high level in Europe and is the strong choice for libero, while Waller will see significant time at outside hitter. Fisher redshirted the 2005 season due to a knee injury, but will see extensive action at outside hitter. Newcomer Heather Hernandez joins the team at outside hitter after competing for the Stanford Crew Team last year. The Cardinal welcomes freshmen Joanna Evans and Janet Okogbaa, both highly accomplished players at the international level and expected to make significant contributions to Stanford's program.

CARDINAL HAS THREE ON ALL-AMERICAN SQUAD: Three Cardinal players were named All-Americans by the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) for their efforts during the 2005 season. Kristin Richards was named to the AVCA First Team, as well as the AVCA All-Pacific Region and All-Pac-10 teams. Richards led the Cardinal in kills (544, 4.90 kpg, #3 Pac-10) to rank sixth-best in school history for a single season. Foluke Akinradewo, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season, was a Second-Team All-American selection, while Bryn Kehoe was named to the AVCA Third Team despite missing seven matches due to injury. Akinradewo lead the Cardinal and ranked third in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage at .397. Kehoe finished the year with 13.14 assists per game to rank second-best in the Pac-10 and still owns Stanford's single season assists record with 1,637 in 2005.

HEAD COACH John Dunning: John Dunning opens his sixth season as head coach for the Cardinal. During Dunning's tenure, the Cardinal have captured two NCAA championships (2001, 2004), as well as a runner-up finish in 2002. Dunning has amassed a 146-26 record on The Farm and a 583-128 in his 21 years of coaching at Stanford and Pacific, ranking him among the top five winningest active coaches in NCAA history (Division I). In 2005, Dunning was the recipient (along with Penn State's Russ Rose) of the USA Volleyball All-Time Great Coach Award.

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