No. 2 Stanford Faces Three Ranked Foes in Minnesota
Aug. 28, 2007
Stanford, Calif. -
UP NEXT: The Cardinal women's volleyball team heads to the Land of 10,000 Lakes this week to compete in the competitive Diet Coke Classic hosted by the University of Minnesota. On Friday, the Cardinal meets No. 12 San Diego, before battling No. 9 Minnesota on the Golden Gophers' home court on Saturday. Stanford finishes the weekend with a match against No. 23 Ohio on Sunday.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal comes home Sept. 6-8 to host the annual Stanford Invitational, a tournament that includes Saint Mary's, No. 18 Cal Poly and No. 15 BYU. Stanford opens the event against the local Gaels in the team's home-opener Thursday night, before taking on Cal Poly on Friday night. Tournament action concludes with a re-match between the Cardinal and the BYU Cougars, a team that handed Stanford one of only four losses in 2006.
LAST WEEK IN LONG BEACH: Junior outside hitter Cynthia Barboza made a splash in her Long Beach homecoming, recording a double-double with 18 kills and 10 digs in the squad's season-opening sweep of Long Beach State on Saturday. Barboza and the Cardinal hit .427 on the night, a clip bested just twice by the squad in 2006, and topped the 49ers on their home court, 30-26, 30-19, 30-27.
FIRST TIME OUT: Three Cardinal freshmen made their first appearances on a collegiate court against Long Beach State last weekend. Alix Klineman, playing just down the road from her hometown of Manhattan Beach, pounded down her first career kill for Stanford's seventh point of the season and finished the match with seven kills. Cassidy Lichtman started in her first collegiate match, and added six kills to the Stanford tally. Playing back row, Gabi Ailes recorded seven digs in her collegiate debut.
COUNT ON ME: Against Long Beach State, junior middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo once again proved that when the ball comes her way, it's more than likely headed to the floor on the other side of the court. Akinradewo set a school record last year, with a .431 season hitting percentage and kept the pace up in her first match of 2007. Against the 49ers, the Plantation, Fla. native hit .667, notching 10 kills in 15 attempts without a single error. She is currently hitting at a .415 clip for her career, a mark more than 50 points higher than Sara McGee and Jennifer Detmer, who hold the Stanford career hitting percentage record (.364).
DOUBLE DOUBLE DUTY: With 18 kills and 10 digs, junior Cynthia Barboza added another double-double to her list of accomplishments on Saturday. Last season, Barboza had 13 double-doubles, including seven in a streak of nine games between Nov. 11 and Dec. 9. Senior setter Bryn Kehoe also recorded a double-double on the night, a feat she accomplished 15 times in 2006.
WHAT THEY'VE BEEN UP TO: During the off-season, a number of Cardinal players remained in the competitive spotlight. In April, Cynthia Barboza and Bryn Kehoe took to the beach, and took second in CSTV's Powerade Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship in San Diego. In June, Barboza competed with the US National Team at the Pan Am Cup in Colima, Mexico and helped the team to a fourth place finish. In July, Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo started for the US National Team that won a bronze medal at the Pan Am Games in Brazil. Just entering their junior seasons, the Stanford players were the two youngest on the roster, and two of only three current collegiate players. Cardinal newcomers Alix Klineman and Cassidy Lichtman were also active in the off-season, as both were members of the US Junior National Team that finished fourth at the FIVB U-20 Junior World Championships in Thailand.
TAKING AIM AT THE RECORD: Senior setter Bryn Kehoe continued her climb up the Stanford career assist chart on Saturday, and will likely move into third place this weekend. The two-time All-American began her final collegiate season fourth on the Stanford career assists chart, with 4,214 to her name. After adding 45 against Long Beach State, Kehoe needs just 29 assists to catch Lisa Sharpley (1994-97) for third place and 202 to catch Carrie Feldman (1989-92) for second place. The all-time Cardinal assist leader is Wendy Rush, who collected 5,003 assists between 1984 and 1987.
BRING IT HOME: Much of the collegiate volleyball excitement will be local this year, as the Cardinal will stick close to home for preseason, conference and postseason action. The Cardinal opens the home season with the Stanford Invitational, Sept. 6-8, and hosts nine conference matches during the fall. The Cardinal's own Maples Pavilion floor will also be one of four 2007 NCAA Regional sites, while the 2007 Final Four will be just up the road at ARCO Arena in Sacramento. Tickets for Stanford's 12 regular-season home matches are now on sale at www.GoStanford.com or by calling 1-800-STANFORD.
2006 IN REVIEW: Stanford finished 2006 with a 30-4 record, won an unprecedented 10th Pac-10 title and made a postseason run to its 12th NCAA title match, before falling to Nebraska in the national final. Stanford earned 25 of its 30 wins by 3-0 margins, went 16-2 in the conference and played 22 matches against eventual NCAA Tournament participants. Four Stanford players earned All-America honors, and three of those players - Bryn Kehoe, Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo - are back for 2007.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO: Like the Cardinal, the No. 15 Toreros posted a season-opening sweep of Long Beach State at the Gold Mine this weekend. And like the Cardinal, the Toreros are coming off of a 2006 conference championship and an NCAA run that ended at the hands of Nebraska. Head Coach Jennifer Petrie returns 11 letterwinners and six starters from her 26-6 Sweet Sixteen team, including 2006 All-WCC selection Laurel Abrahamson. Additionally, the Toreros return setter Jessica Nyrop, a redshirt junior who recorded 13.68 assists per game last season.
THE SERIES WITH THE TOREROS: Despite their relatively close proximity, the Toreros and Cardinal have met just twice, with the Cardinal getting the upper hand both times. In 2003, San Diego visited the Farm for the Stanford Invitational and was swept by the Cardinal, 3-0. The only other meeting between the two teams occurred in 1998, when Stanford once again won in three at a tournament hosted by San Diego State.
SCOUTING MINNESOTA: Head Coach Mike Hebert and the No. 9 Minnesota Golden Gophers are coming off of a 26-8 season, during which they finished second in the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals where they fell to Nebraska in a five-game thriller. Ten letterwinners and four starters are back for 2007, including middle blocker Jessy Jones, an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection, and outside hitter Kyla Roehrig, who was second on the team with 3.25 kills per game last season. The Gophers also return their setter, junior Rachel Hartmann (12.90 apg). Minnesota enters the tournament 1-0, after defeating Notre Dame, 3-0, last Friday.
THE SERIES WITH THE GOLDEN GOPHERS: Stanford has never been beaten by Minnesota, with a pristine 3-0 mark against the Golden Gophers. The last time the two clubs met was under the most exciting of circumstances - the 2004 NCAA Final. In that match, Ogonna Nnamani pounded down 29 kills to help Stanford sweep Minnesota and take home the 2004 NCAA title. Stanford also topped Minnesota, 3-1, at the State Farm Classic in Minnesota in 2002 and, 3-0, at the Jefferson Cup in Virginia in 2001.
SCOUTING OHIO: The Ohio Bobcats are coached by Geoff Carlston, a fifth year head coach who led Ohio to a 28-5 record last year, its fourth straight Mid-American Conference Championship and its third straight undefeated season in conference play. The team received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and fell to Kentucky, 3-2, in the First Round. This year, 11 letterwinners and four starters return, including outside hitter Stephanie Blackburn, a two-time All-MAC selection, and middle blocker Melissa Griffin, the 2006 MAC Tournament MVP. Ohio played two games last weekend, sweeping James Madison and Rutgers at home.
THE SERIES WITH THE BOBCATS: Stanford will be seeing Ohio for the first time in history this weekend. As a matter of fact, the Cardinal is relatively unfamiliar with the entire Mid-American Conference. Stanford has met just two MAC opponents all-time, topping Western Michigan in 1985 and Eastern Michigan in 1995.
TAKING ON THE BEST: Once again, Head Coach John Dunning has lined up one of the most challenging schedules in the nation for the Cardinal. Eleven opponents appeared in the preseason top-25, and 13 participated in the NCAA Championship last season.
NATIONAL POLL: Stanford came in at No. 2 for the second straight week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. The Cardinal began last season at No. 4 in the AVCA poll, and finished the year at No. 2. Stanford has started the season in the top-five five of the last six years. Defending National Champion Nebraska held onto the top spot in the poll this week, while Penn State, USC and UCLA rounded out the top-five. Five Pac-10 squads are currently in the top-25.
PICKED TO REPEAT: For the second straight season, the Stanford women's volleyball team was predicted to win the Pac-10 title by the league's coaches. Stanford, the defending Pac-10 Champion, claimed 89 points, 12 more than second-place USC, including eight of the ten first-place votes. Last season, the Pac-10 sent three teams to the Final Four and, over the last six seasons, the conference has sent 12 teams to the Final Four and captured five national titles. During those six seasons, the league has posted an impressive 568-171 (.769) record against non-conference opponents. The coaches have correctly picked the Pac-10 champion in 11 of the previous 18 polls.
HEAD COACH John Dunning: Beginning his seventh season at the helm of the Cardinal, Head Coach John Dunning is one of the most accomplished coaches in collegiate volleyball. Dunning has four National Championships under his belt, has taken his teams to seven Final Fours and owns a 58-18 record in the NCAA Tournament. During the 2006 season, he earned his 600th career win and will be looking for his 200th win with the Stanford program this season. In his first 22 years as a head coach, Dunning is 613-132 (.823), giving him a winning percentage that ranks among the top-five active Division I coaches. Dunning accumulated a 176-30 in his first six seasons on The Farm.