Undefeated Cardinal Returns to Maples to Host Washington State, No. 8 Washington
Oct. 9, 2007
Stanford, Calif. - THIS WEEK: The second-ranked Stanford women's volleyball team will look to extend its 16-game winning streak this week, welcoming Washington State and Washington to Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal will take on the Cougars Thursday, before squaring off with the No. 8 Huskies in a re-match of last year's NCAA semifinal match on Friday. Both matches are set for 7 p.m.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch Thursday's match with Washington State on live webcast at www.GoStanford.com. Friday's match will not be webcast, but televised by CSTV on tape delay, and is scheduled to air Sunday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. (PT). Both matches can be heard live on KZSU radio (90.1 FM) or online at kzsulive.stanford.edu.
IN MAPLES THIS WEEK: Fans attending Thursday's Washington State match will be admitted free with a ticket stub from the Stanford-Arizona State football game on Sept. 29. On Friday, all Stanford faculty and staff can come see the Cardinal take on Washington with 2-for-1 general admission.
SET TO SET THE RECORD: This should be the week! Senior setter Bryn Kehoe is now within striking distance of the program's career assist record, standing just 68 assists shy going into the match with Washington State. 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. A two-time All-American, Kehoe has 721 assists this year and 4,935 for her career. She currently leads the nation with 14.42 assists per game. Wendy Rush, who collected 5,003 assists between 1984 and 1987, holds the record Kehoe is chasing.
LAST TIME OUT: Stanford continued its winning ways in Oregon last week, sweeping both the Beavers and the No. 19 Ducks on their home courts. After cruising by Oregon State, 30-21, 30-20, 30-25, Stanford battled Oregon and finished with a 30-27, 32-30, 30-20 sweep, its 12th of the year. Junior outside hitter Cynthia Barboza led the Cardinal with two double-doubles, 35 kills and her best hitting clip of the season.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal will go on its first of two back-to-back Pac-10 road trips next week, heading to Arizona to meet Arizona and Arizona State, Oct. 18-19. Both matches are set for 7 p.m.
SHOTGUN START: With a 16-0 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, and now has won its first 16 matches, also a best since 1994. Why is that saying something? Stanford has had some pretty good teams in that time, to say the least. Since 1994, the program has won five NCAA titles and been to the Final Four nine times. The 1994 squad eventually won its first 20 matches, went 32-1 and captured Stanford's second NCAA title.
ON A ROLL: The Cardinal's current 16-match winning streak is the longest since the 2001 season, when Stanford won its final 19 matches on its way to the NCAA title.
1,000 TIMES DOWN: Foluke Akinradewo became the first current Cardinal player to join Stanford's 1,000-kill club last weekend, now with 1,022 for her career. The junior middle blocker made No. 1,000 count, drilling a ball to the floor to end the first game against Oregon State last Thursday. Teammate Cynthia Barboza will be the next to join the club, and has a good chance to do so this weekend. Going into the weekend, the junior outside hitter is just 29 kills away from reaching the milestone.
BIG TIME BARBOZA: Stanford's Cynthia Barboza was named the Pac-10 and National Player of the Week this week after turning in a pair of double-doubles against the Oregon schools. The junior outside hitter recorded her best weekend of the season, pounding the Oregon schools with 35 kills in six games (5.83 per game) to help the Cardinal improve to 16-0. Barboza not only led the team in kills, but hit better than she has all year, turning in a season-high .486 clip on Thursday, a .455 clip on Friday and a .471 clip for the weekend. On defense, the Long Beach, Calif. native also put up impressive numbers, adding 4.17 digs per game to the team effort.
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 two are over current top-five teams. No other ranked team has faced as many ranked opponents, much less beaten that many. Nebraska has topped seven ranked teams, but the three other undefeated squads - Washington, Florida and Dayton - have played no more than one ranked opponent. Rounding out the top-five, No. 3 Penn State has topped five ranked opponents, as has No. 4 UCLA. 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 - Alix Klineman, Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo - 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 has ten double-doubles this year, while Kehoe has nine, and the pair has teamed up to post their best numbers against then-No. 9 BYU and No. 3 Penn State. Akinradewo is leading the team with a .488 hitting percentage and has hit above .400 in 11 matches, seven of which were against ranked opponents.
BIG ON THE BLOCK: After putting up fewer than ten blocks in nine of its first ten matches, the Cardinal has been big on the block recently, turning in impressive performances against the best teams in the nation. As a team, Stanford has 69 blocks in the last six matches, four of which were against top-10 teams. The Cardinal has registered double-digit blocks in five of those matches, and matched a season-high with 15 team blocks against Oregon State on Thursday. Foluke Akinradewo is the team's leader with 69 total blocks (1.41 bpg), but reserve Janet Okogbaa has stepped in and delivered some key blocks when it counted. The sophomore middle blocker is averaging 1.33 bpg, second only to Akinradewo.
OPPONENT WOES: Opponents have had a difficult time getting much going offensively against Stanford, a fact shown not only by the Cardinal's 16-0 record, but by the list of opponents' hitting percentages. Eleven of Stanford's 16 opponents have hit below .200, with four not even able to hit .100. Penn State (.268) and Long Beach State (.256) are the only two clubs to hit more than .250 against the Cardinal this year, and no one has been able to reach .300. By contrast, Stanford has hit above .300 11 times, above .400 three times, and only Minnesota has held the squad below .250 (.242). Stanford's season-high was a .456 clip against Yale on Sept. 15.
HARD TO HANDLE: Foluke Akinradewo is the hardest hitter in the nation for opponents to handle, as the junior middle blocker leads the NCAA in hitting percentage and records a kill nearly half of the times she touches the ball (.488). She has hit above .400 in 11 of the Cardinal's 16 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).
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 12 matches, has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week and leads the team with 4.33 kpg. Ailes, Stanford's libero, has recorded double-digit digs in the last 15 matches and currently leads the team with 4.32 dpg. 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.
DIG IT UP: Freshman Gabi Ailes has been quite the defensive spark so far for the Cardinal. Should the Bellevue, Neb. native keep her current pace (4.32 dpg), she will land second all-time on the program's single-season digs per game chart. With 229 in her first 16 matches, Ailes is within 155 of breaking into the single season top-10. Kristin Richards holds the single-season dig record, tallying 502 digs in 2004.
HOW SHE COMPARES: Stanford freshman Alix Klineman has been compared to some of Stanford's greatest newcomers in program history. After her first 15 collegiate matches, Klineman is averaging a team-leading 4.33 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 16 wins this season, 12 have been sweeps. The Cardinal has won 48 of its 53 games, and allowed just one match to go beyond four games. Stanford has swept seven ranked opponents, including then-No. 4 USC and then-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 five are in the top-10. 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 WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars were 15-17 overall last season, and finished ninth in the Pac-10 with three conference wins. This year, things started out much differently, as the team won its first six matches and nine of its first 11. WSU has not won since Sept. 14, however, falling first to No. 17 Ohio, then dropping its next seven matches to fall to 9-10, 0-5 Pac-10. Senior outside hitter Adetokundo Faleti and sophomore outside hitter Jackie Albright have been the top performers for Washinton State so far, averaging 3.81 and 3.30 kpg, respectively. Senior middle blocker Tara West is one of the top-10 blockers in the conference (1.23 bpg) and sophomore libero Kelly Hyder is fourth in the conference with 5.00 dpg.
THE SERIES WITH THE COUGARS: Stanford is 40-3 (.930) all-time against Washington State and has won 11 of the 12 meetings in the John Dunning era. The 2002 Cardinal was the last to fall to WSU, dropping a match in Pullman, but Stanford has never lost to Washington State at home. Last season, Stanford swept the Cougars in both meetings and clinched the 2006 Pac-10 title against them on Nov. 25.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON: Washington was 29-5 last year and, like the Cardinal, was one of three Pac-10 teams to make it to the 2007 Final Four. Going into this weekend's matches, the Huskies are still undefeated, matching Stanford's 16-0, 5-0 record. Senior outside hitter Stevie Mussie has stepped up to lead the squad offensively, and ranks second in the Pac-10 with 4.67 kpg. The Huskies also have three returning All-Americans - outside hitter Christal Morrison, middle blocker Jessica Swarbrick and middle blocker Alesha Deesing - who make for a solid offensive force. Setter Jenna Hagglund has done an impressive job of filling the shoes of All-American Courtney Thompson, as the freshman is second in the Pac-10 with 13.80 apg. The team has played just one ranked opponent so far - Oregon on Sept. 21. The Huskies were down 2-0 to the Ducks in Eugene, but came back to top them in five games.
THE SERIES WITH THE HUSKIES: Stanford is 40-8 (.833) all-time against the Huskies, but five of those Cardinal losses have come since 2003. Last season, the teams traded regular-season sweeps, with Washington winning in Seattle and Stanford winning two months later at Maples. The squads met again in the Final Four in Omaha, and Stanford pounded the Huskies 30-12, 30-25, 30-15.
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 eighth 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 eighth 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.