No. 2 Stanford Looks to Continue Pac-10 Run in Oregon
Oct. 2, 2007
Stanford, Calif. -
THIS WEEK: The undefeated Cardinal women's volleyball team will look to continue its run this week, heading to the Oregon schools for a pair of road contests. Stanford aims to win its 45th straight match against the Beavers on Thursday night, then travels down the road to Eugene to square off with the No. 19 Ducks on Friday. Both matches are set for 7 p.m.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch both matches live on KZSU radio (90.1 FM) or online at kzsulive.stanford.edu. Friday's match with Oregon will be webcast on a pay-per-view basis at www.GoDucks.com.
LAST TIME OUT: Stanford showed the nation and a pair of season-high crowds at Maples what it was capable of last weekend, sweeping two top-five opponents in a matter of 24 hours. On Thursday night, the Cardinal took care of the No. 4 USC Trojans 30-21, 30-27, 30-21 behind Foluke Akinradewo's 18 kills and .680 hitting percentage. The very next night, Stanford topped No. 5 UCLA, 30-20, 30-23, 31-29 for its tenth sweep of the year. Freshman Alix Klineman led the charge for the Cardinal with 19 kills and a career-high 19 digs in the match.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal will be back at Maples, Oct. 11-12, to host Washington State and Washington. Stanford meets the Cougars first (Oct. 11), and squares off with the No. 8 Huskies the next night in a re-match of last year's NCAA semifinal. Admission to Thursday's match will be free with a Stanford football ticket stub from 9/29, while all Stanford faculty and staff will receive 2-for-1 general admission to Friday's contest.
SHOTGUN START: With an 14-0 opening record, Stanford has posted its best start in more than a decade. The Cardinal wrapped up the non-conference season undefeated on Sept. 15, a feat the program hasn't accomplished since 1994. That 1994 squad eventually went 32-1 and captured Stanford's second NCAA title.
TOUGHEST ROAD IN THE NATION: Stanford is one of only five top-25 teams that remain undefeated, and has accomplished that while playing the toughest schedule in the country. Nine of Stanford's wins are over current top-25 teams, and three are over top-five teams. No other ranked team has faced as many ranked opponents, much less beaten that many. Nebraska has topped six ranked teams, but the three of the other undefeated squads - Washington, Florida and Dayton - have played no more than one ranked opponent. No. 3 Penn State has topped four ranked opponents, as has No. 5 UCLA, while No. 4 USC has beaten three. Eleven teams on Stanford's schedule appeared in the preseason top-25, and 13 participated in the NCAA Championship last season.
EVERYWHERE TO TURN: With three hitters averaging more than 4.00 kpg, Stanford setter Bryn Kehoe has plenty of weapons at her disposal and Stanford has one of the most balanced offenses in the country. Stanford is the only top-10 team with that many, and the only squad with multiple 4.00 kpg hitters in the Pac-10. Of the nine players in the Pac-10 averaging that many kills, a third of them belong to Stanford. Penn State and Texas are the only other top-10 teams with multiple hitters averaging more than 4.00 kpg (two players apiece).
THE BIG THREE: Stanford has three returning All-Americans this season, and so far, they have been the foundation of Stanford's success. Outside hitter Cynthia Barboza, setter Bryn Kehoe and middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo have stepped up with their best performaces in some of Stanford's biggest wins. Barboza and Kehoe both have eight double-doubles this year, and have teamed up to post their best numbers against then-No. 9 BYU and No. 3 Penn State. Akinradewo is leading the team with a .497 hitting percentage and has hit above .400 in ten matches, seven of which were against ranked opponents.
SETTING THE RECORD, LITERALLY: Senior setter Bryn Kehoe continues to inch closer and closer to the program's career assist record. The North Bend, Ohio native started the season fourth on the list, passed Lisa Sharpley (1994-97) for third place on Aug. 31 and Carrie Feldman (1989-92) for second on Sept. 7. The two-time All-American began her final collegiate season with 4,214 to her name. So far she has 628 in 2007, and stands just 161 shy of becoming the all-time record-holder. Wendy Rush, who collected 5,003 assists between 1984 and 1987, holds the record Kehoe is chasing. The senior leads the Pac-10 with 14.27 assists per game, a mark that stands second nationally.
APPROACHING 1,000: Foluke Akinradewo will likely become the first current Cardinal player to join Stanford's 1,000-kill club this weekend. The junior middle blocker has 997 to her name and needs just three to reach the notable mark. Teammate Cynthia Barboza is just 64 kills away from reaching the milestone.
HARD TO HANDLE: Foluke Akinradewo is one of the hardest hitters in the nation for opponents to handle, as the junior middle blocker leads the Pac-10 in hitting percentage and records a kill nearly half of the times she touches the ball (.497). She has hit above .400 in ten of the Cardinal's 14 matches, with her season-high (.706) being 13 kills on 17 attempts with just one error on Sept. 2 against Ohio. Akinradewo set a school record last year, with a .431 season hitting percentage. She is currently hitting at a .426 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). Akinradewo is currently second on the team with 4.09 kills per game and leads the team with 60 total blocks.
SUDDEN IMPACT: Two Stanford freshmen, Alix Klineman and Gabi Ailes, have wasted no time making an impact at the collegiate level. Not only has the pair moved into the starting lineup, but both players have emerged as the team's leader in their respective specialties. Klineman has posted double-figure kills in 11 matches, has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week and leads the team with 4.40 kpg. Ailes, Stanford's libero, has recorded double-digit digs in the last 13 matches and currently leads the team with 4.30 dpg. Should the Bellevue, Neb. native keep her current pace, she will land second all-time on the program's single-season digs per game chart. Ailes and Klineman were named the Gatorade State Player of the Year in their respective home states (Nebraska and California) last year, and Klineman was honored as the Gatorade National Player of the Year.
HOW SHE COMPARES: Stanford freshman Alix Klineman has been compared to some of Stanford's greatest newcomers in program history. After her first 13 collegiate matches, Klineman is averaging a team-leading 4.40 kills per game, a mark right in the mix of Stanford's National Freshman of the Year winners. Cary Wendell averaged 3.15 kpg as a freshman in 1992, while Kerri Walsh averaged 4.78 kpg as a freshman in 1996. Logan Tom averaged 4.63 in 1999, Ogonna Nnamani averaged 3.89 in 2001 and Kristin Richards averaged 3.38 in 2003. All five won the National Freshman of the Year award following those seasons.
SWEEPING `EM CLEAN: Of Stanford's 14 wins this season, ten have been sweeps. The Cardinal has won 42 of its 47 games, and allowed just one match to go beyond four games. Stanford has swept six ranked opponents, including, most recently, No. 4 USC and No. 5 UCLA.
CONFERENCE CHATTER: Stanford is amidst one of the most challenging conference schedules in the nation. Why? The Pac-10 has won five of the last six NCAA titles and has sent six or more teams to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last seven years. The NCAA Final Four has included three Pac-10 teams two of the last three years and all 10 teams entered the conference season this year with winning records. Six Pac-10 teams are currently ranked in the top-25, and three are in the top-five. Overall, Pac-10 teams were 96-20 (.828) in the preseason, and 17-3 (.850) against ranked opponents. Of the 96 non-conference wins, Pac-10 teams swept 72 of them.
SCOUTING OREGON STATE: The Beavers are coming off of a rough 2006 season, during which they went 3-24 and lost all 18 conference matches. So far, 2007 has been different, however, as the team won seven of its first ten matches and swept then-No. 10 Hawaii on its home court. The Beavers are 8-8 overall and won a five-game battle with Washington State in the Pac-10 opener, but have been swept in their three conference contests since. Outside hitter Rachel Rourke, a member of the Australian National Team program, is the top player for the Beavers, averaging 4.47 kpg (second in the Pac-10). Sophomore middle blocker Bree Knitter leads the team with 1.48 bpg, and setter KC Walsh, a transfer from Loyola Marymount is averaging 10.75 apg.
THE SERIES WITH THE BEAVERS: The Cardinal is a perfect 44-0 against the Beavers, having topped them in every match since the teams first met in 1981. Last year, Stanford swept OSU twice, with Barboza tallying a combined 32 kills against the squad in six games.
SCOUTING OREGON: Head Coach Jim Moore, the 2006 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, is in his third season with the Ducks and has set in motion an impressive turnaround. Last season, he led Oregon to its first winning season since 1990 and earned the program a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly two decades. This year, the program continues to grow. The Ducks are ranked No. 19, have a 14-2 overall record and topped then-No. 20 Ohio State on Sept. 15. The Ducks are 3-1 in conference play, falling only in a five-game battle with No. 8 Washington. Junior outside hitter Gorana Maricic leads the conference with 4.92 kpg and 2006 All-Pac-10 Freshman Team selection Sonja Newcombe is averaging 3.65 kpg. Freshman Heather Meyers leads the conference in service aces (0.53 per game), and junior libero Katie Swoboda is third in the conference with 5.04 dpg.
THE SERIES WITH THE DUCKS: Stanford has had much success against the Ducks, and carries a 42-2 (.955) mark against them. The Cardinal lost to the Ducks twice in the 1980s (1986 and 1989), but has won every match since. Stanford has swept Oregon in the last ten meetings, including both matches last season.
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.
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. Still ahead, the Cardinal hosts seven conference matches at Maples Pavilion. 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 to Stanford's home matches are available at the door, 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.
NATIONAL POLL: Stanford came in at No. 2 for the seventh straight week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll and was the only school besides Nebraska to receive first place votes. Nebraska held onto the top spot for the seventh straight week, while Penn State, USC and UCLA remained the rest of the top-five. Six Pac-10 squads - Stanford, UCLA, USC, Cal, Washington and Oregon - 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: In 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 eight 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 was 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.
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