Stanford Participates In Bay Area Volleyball Media Day

Aug. 21, 2008

Berkeley, Calif. - Stanford Head Coach John Dunning, along with senior captains Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo, attended Bay Area Volleyball Media Day today, hosted by the University of California in the Haas Pavilion Club Room.

Dunning returns three All-Americans and 11 letterwinners from his 2007 squad that advanced to the national title match for the second straight year. Akinradewo, the reigning AVCA National Player of the Year, will pace the Cardinal in the middle, and, along with All-American outsider hitters Barboza and sophomore Alix Klineman, is key to one of the most potent offenses the program has ever seen. Stanford will be looking to defend two consecutive Pac-10 Championships, while competing in a conference that enters the year with five of the nation's top 10 teams.

The Cardinal, ranked second nationally in the AVCA preseason poll, opens the season at the Runza/AVCA Showcase in Omaha, Neb. next week, meeting No. 7 Nebraska in the season opener on Aug. 29. Three of the top-four teams in the nation will compete in the nationally-televised event, with Stanford battling No. 3 Texas in its second match of the weekend, Sunday, Aug. 31.

Opening Statement from Head Coach John Dunning:

'I want to thank Cal for hosting this event, and all of the media here for helping volleyball grow in the Bay Area again this year. Obviously a lot of attention is focused on the sport right now from what's going on in Beijing with all four teams doing so well over there. It was amazing this morning watching the women play, and watching Kerri [Walsh] and Misty [May-Treanor] play.'

'I'd like to introduce the two players that we have today with us. Cynthia Barboza is a senior this year from Long Beach, California, and Foluke Akinradewo is a senior middle blocker from Florida. We're actually going to go visit her home this year on a trip next month. I want to extend congratulations to both of them as well. They ventured away from our school this year, went to Colorado Springs and ended up pretty close to being able to be in Beijing. They probably would rather I didn't talk about it, because they'd rather be there right now, but I still think that we need to remember that they did some amazing things this year with our program and away from our program. They will be our two captains this year.'

'We had two seniors last year who had started for a long time in our program and done a wonderful job. We have 11 returning players and three new players in our program so we're pretty veteran. I think anyone that knows anything about Stanford volleyball knows that one of the key issues for us this year is that we had a setter set for us for four years and we have two players, Joanna Evans and Cassidy Lichtman, who are stepping up to play. We're going to figure out exactly what we're going to do in the next couple weeks with our setting, but they've both done a great job working very hard. I think they're both excited because they know that we have some very good hitters on our team.'

'We've been focusing on ball control and blocking to start with, not the offense so much. I think we're happy with where we're going to get to blocking, and be better fundamentally than we've been. Our ball control has surprised me; it's better than what I'd expect it to be this time of year. So I think we have a darn good chance to have a great season.'

'We head off this next weekend to Nebraska to play, where Gabi Ailes from our team is from, and then to Florida where Foluke and Janet [Okogbaa] are from to play Central Florida. Then we come back and play in Saint Louis, Missouri where Erin Waller is from, and then we head off into the Pac-10 pretty soon after that. Starting on the road for 11 days is a pretty good thing I guess. We'll be tired of being at Stanford by the time we leave for sure; I'm sure all of the teams are probably feeling that way. I want to wish everyone well this season. Bay Area volleyball as usual is dominant in the country and it's really neat to see everybody gathered here to kick off the season.'

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