Stanford Takes on No. 19 Oregon, OSU in Maples

Oct. 30, 2007

Stanford, Calif. - THIS WEEK: After four matches on the road, the No. 5 Cardinal women's volleyball team returns to Maples Pavilion to take on Oregon and Oregon State. On Thursday, the Cardinal will meet the 19th-ranked Ducks, and on Friday the team will look to extend its 45-match win streak against the Beavers. Both matches are set for 7 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.

CATCH THE CARDINAL: Both matches this week will be available free via live webcast on www.GoStanford.com. Fans can also catch both matches live on KZSU radio (90.1 FM) or online at kzsulive.stanford.edu.

LAST TIME OUT: Stanford headed to Los Angeles last week for one of its toughest road trips of the year, facing then-No. 7 UCLA and sixth-ranked USC. The Cardinal topped the Bruins in the Friday match, using Alix Klineman's 16 kills to win in four games, 30-20, 28-30, 30-22, 30-27. On Saturday, however, the Cardinal was upset by the Trojans at the Galen Center, 20-30, 30-25, 30-24, 30-28.

COME ON OUT: The first 100 fans to come out and support the Cardinal at the Oregon match on Thursday will receive free Nike duffel bags, while fans will be offered 2-for-1 general admission with a coupon as part of Recreation/Community Night against Oregon State on Friday. Tickets to both matches are available at the door, online at www.GoStanford.com or by calling 1-800-STANFORD.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal heads to Seattle for what looks to be a showdown with the Washington Huskies for the Pac-10 title on Nov. 8. The following night, the squad continues its northwest swing in Pullman, taking on the WSU Cougars on Nov. 9.

ANOTHER RECORD FALLS!: Freshman Gabi Ailes became the second 2007 Cardinal player to topple a program record last week. The libero tallied 31 digs against USC, the most for a single match in program history, and marked just the third 30+ dig performance all-time. In the 1997 NCAA Championship match, both Lisa Sharpley and Kerri Walsh posted 30 digs in five games to set the previous record. Should the Bellevue, Neb. native keep her current pace (4.57 dpg), she will land second on the program's single-season digs per game chart. With 343 in her first 22 matches, Ailes is already within 41 of breaking into the single-season top-10. Kristin Richards (2003-06) holds the single-season dig record, with 502 in 2004.

GIRARD'S FINEST: Senior middle blocker Franci Girard put up back-to-back double-digit kill performances last weekend, her second and third of the season. The Brooklyn, NY native posted 11 kills on Friday, 10 kills on Saturday and tallied seven blocks for the weekend. Girard is currently hitting .310, second among the team's starters, and broke into the Pac-10's top-10 in hitting percentage this week.

THE VIEW FROM THE TOP: Senior Bryn Kehoe is now the most accomplished setter in Stanford history, after shattering the program's all-time assist record on Oct. 12. Needing 43 assists in the match against Washington to top the previous record (5,003) set by Wendy Rush in 1987, Kehoe out-did herself with a season-high 62 assists. The record-breaker was a ball lofted to teammate Cynthia Barboza to give Stanford a 28-23 lead in game three. A two-time All-American, Kehoe became the first freshman in a single-setter offense to win a National Championship in 2004, and now is looking to bookend her career with another title. Going into the week, Kehoe leads the nation with 14.31 apg and has 5,230 for her career. Should she finish the season at her current pace, she will also shatter both the single-season and career assists per game marks.

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 (.478). She has hit above .400 in 16 of the Cardinal's 22 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 and is in position to best that record this season. She is currently hitting at a .428 clip for her career, a mark more than 60 points higher than Sara McGee and Jennifer Detmer, who hold the Stanford career hitting percentage record (.364). Should she continue at her current pace, Akinradewo will best both the Pac-10 career and single-season hitting percentage records.

GETTING IN ON THE ACTION: Junior opposite Erin Waller joined in on the double-figure kill action on Saturday for just the second time this year. All five Stanford hitters recorded double-figure kills in the loss to USC, and Waller matched a season-high with 11. The Ballwin, Mo. native recorded a season-high with 10 digs on Friday at UCLA, and also served a career-high three aces that night.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE DUTY: Junior outside hitter Cynthia Barboza recorded two more double-doubles last weekend, combining for 32 kills and 30 digs over the two matches. Barboza now has 13 double-doubles in 21 matches, and leads the team with 4.23 kpg. Barboza also leads the team with 26 service aces, while boasting some of the team's best numbers in digs (3.35 dpg) and hitting percentage (.304).

FRESHMAN PHENOM: Stanford freshman Alix Klineman has been compared to some of Stanford's greatest newcomers in program history. After her first 21 collegiate matches, Klineman is averaging 4.17 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.

MINGLING AMONG THE CAREER TOP-10: Bryn Kehoe is not the only current Cardinal player with her name etched in the Stanford career record books, nor is the assist ladder the only one that the senior has climbed this year. In addition to being Stanford's career assist leader, Kehoe is currently eighth on the Stanford career service ace chart (117) and eighth on the career digs chart (1,110). Foluke Akinradewo is tenth with 355 career blocks, and teammates Kehoe and Franci Girard are knocking on the door to make the list. Akinradewo and Cynthia Barboza are also already among the program's all-time top-10 in total attacks.

ONE OF THE BEST SHOWINGS IN THE NATION: The Cardinal attracts some of the best crowds in the nation, and currently ranks among the nation's top-10 programs in home attendance. So far, Stanford has averaged more than 2,300 fans per match, best in the Pac-10. Hawaii currently tops the national list with an average attendance of more than 6,000.

A START TO BE PROUD OF: Stanford's season-opening win streak ended on Oct. 12, but not before the team reached a number of notable milestones. The team's 11-0 non-conference record and 17-0 start were the program's best in more than a decade, when the 1994 squad won 20 straight and also went undefeated in non-conference play. The loss of just five games in 17 matches was also the best since 1994, no easy feat considering Stanford has won five NCAA titles and been to the Final Four nine times since that historic 1994 run. The 17-match win streak was the longest since the 2001 season, when Stanford rattled off 19 wins on its way to the NCAA title.

THE CONFERENCE RACE: With the loss at USC, Stanford fell a half game behind Washington in the Pac-10 standings, but will have a chance to challenge the Huskies for at least a share of the conference title next week. Stanford boasts the best hitting percentage in the Pac-10, both overall (.308) and in conference play (.295), while also leading the conference on both charts in kills and assists. In Pac-10 play, Stanford leads the conference in digs, with 18.95 per game.

1,000 TIMES OVER: Foluke Akinradewo became the first current Cardinal player to join Stanford's 1,000-kill club on Oct. 4 against Oregon State, and teammate Cynthia Barboza joined her on Oct. 12 against Washington. Just juniors, Akinradewo and Barboza are already among the program's most accomplished hitters, with 1,104 career kills and 1,060 career kills, respectively.

THE TOUGH ROAD: At 20-2, Stanford boasts one of the best records in the nation, but the feat is even more impressive when the challenging road the squad took to get there is taken into consideration. The Cardinal's schedule has been one of the toughest in the nation so far, as the squad has met 11 members of the current top-25, and is the only school other than Nebraska to have beaten nine of them. No. 5 Stanford and No. 2 Nebraska lead the nation in wins over currently ranked teams (9) and No. 9 UCLA is second with seven. Top-ranked Penn State has beaten just five ranked teams, and No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Washington have beaten just four.

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 matches. Barboza and Kehoe have combined for 24 double-doubles this season, 21 of which have come against ranked opponents. Akinradewo is leading the team with a .478 hitting percentage, and has hit above .400 in 16 matches. Ten of those matches were against ranked foes.

PERFECT BALANCE: With three of the Pac-10's top-10 offensive players on its side, Stanford has one of the most balanced offenses in the country. Alix Klineman and Cynthia Barboza are both averaging more than 4.00 kpg, while Foluke Akinradewo is chipping in 3.99 kpg. Stanford is the only squad in the Pac-10 with multiple 4.00 kpg hitters. It's no surprise then, that, as a team, Stanford leads the conference in kills per game (17.49), assists (16.13) and hitting percentage (.308). The squad is also third in the nation in kills per game, fourth in assists and fourth in hitting percentage.

BLOCK PARTY: 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 131 blocks in the last 12 matches, seven of which were against top-10 teams. The Cardinal has registered double-digit blocks in eight of those matches and matched a season-high with 15 team blocks against Oregon State on Oct. 4. Foluke Akinradewo is the team's leader with 92 total blocks (1.30 bpg), but reserve Janet Okogbaa has stepped in and delivered some key blocks when it counted. The sophomore middle blocker is averaging 1.21 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 20-2 record, but by the list of opponents' hitting percentages. Sixteen of Stanford's 22 opponents have hit below .200, with four not even able to hit .100. Penn State (.268), Long Beach State (.256) and USC (.284) are the only 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 12 times, above .400 four times and only four clubs have held the squad below .250 (Minnesota, Washington State, Washington and Arizona). Stanford recorded its best clip of the season on Oct. 19 at Arizona State, posting a .491 mark with all five hitters coming in above .400. The Cardinal's season hitting percentage (.308) currently ranks fourth nationally.

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 some of the team's best in their respective specialties. Klineman has posted double-figure kills in 17 matches, has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week and is second on the team with 4.17 kpg. Ailes, Stanford's libero, has recorded double-digit digs in the last 21 matches, broke a Stanford single-match dig record and currently leads the team with 4.57 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.

SWEEPING `EM CLEAN: Of Stanford's 19 wins this season, 15 have been sweeps. The Cardinal has won 63 of its 75 games, and allowed just two matches to go beyond four games. Stanford has swept seven ranked opponents, including then-No. 4 USC and then-No. 5 UCLA in late September.

NATIONAL POLL: Stanford fell from No. 3 to No. 5 this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. The Cardinal held the No. 2 spot for the first eight weeks of the season, but has dropped after losses to Washington and USC. Nebraska, which held onto the top spot for first ten weeks, dropped its first match of the season to Texas and fell to No. 2. Penn State took ober the No. 1 spot, while Texas and Washington round out the top-five. Six Pac-10 squads - Stanford, UCLA, USC, Cal, Washington and Oregon - are currently in the top-25, and, of the six, all but Oregon are in the top-10.

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 OREGON: Oregon (16-7, 5-6 Pac-10) enters this week's matches ranked No. 19 in the nation, and is coming off of a split with the Arizona schools last week. The Ducks started the season with 10 consecutive wins, and lost just one non-conference match, but have lost six matches since Pac-10 play began and are tied for sixth in the conference. Junior outside hitter Gorana Maricic leads the Ducks and the Pac-10 with 5.31 kpg and 5.94 ppg, while freshman outside hitter Heather Meyers is the league's best server with 0.43 aces per game. Meyers is also third on the team with 2.96 kpg, while 2006 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection Sonja Newcombe is chipping in 3.61 kpg.

THE SERIES WITH THE DUCKS: Stanford has had much success against the Ducks, and carries a 43-2 (.956) 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 11 meetings, including the teams' first meeting of this year on Oct. 5.

SCOUTING OREGON STATE: Oregon State (10-13, 3-8 Pac-10) is eighth in the Pac-10 and has lost 10 of its last 13 matches. Yet, the Beavers have pulled two major upsets on the road this year, stunning No. 10 Hawaii on Aug. 26 and No. 4 UCLA on Oct. 12. Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Rourke leads the squad with 4.53 kpg, a mark that stands third in the Pac-10. Rouke is also among the conference's top-10 in service aces and points with 0.36 and 5.34 per game, respectively. Junior setter K.C. Walsh, sister of Stanford great Kerri Walsh (1996-1999), averages 10.06 apg for the Beavers.

THE SERIES WITH THE BEAVERS: The Cardinal is a perfect 45-0 against the Beavers, having topped them in every match since the teams first met in 1981. On Oct. 4, Stanford swept the Beavers in Corvallis behind the 17 kills of Cynthia Barboza.

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 sticks close to home for preseason, conference and postseason action. Still ahead, the Cardinal hosts five 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.

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 next week. 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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