Stanford Swings To Central Florida For Tuesday Matchup

Sept. 1, 2008

UP NEXT: The Stanford women's volleyball team continues its season-opening road trip in Orlando, Fla., meeting the Central Florida Knights on Tuesday at the Renovated UCF Arena. Playing in the home state of reigning AVCA National Player of the Year Foluke Akinradewo and junior Janet Okogbaa, the Cardinal will look to continue its momentum from a five-set win over No. 3 Texas on Sunday.

LOOKING AHEAD: Stanford continues its 11-day road trip in the hometown of senior Erin Waller on Friday. The team will take on Illinois, William & Mary and host Saint Louis as part of the Billikin Invitational, Sept. 5-6.

CATCH THE CARDINAL: The four Cardinal matches this week will not be covered by KZSU radio. Live stats for all four matches will be available via Gametracker at www.GoStanford.com.

FLORIDA HOMECOMING: Both of Stanford's starting middle blockers - senior Foluke Akinradewo and junior Janet Okogbaa - will be playing the first match of their careers back in their home state this week. Akinradewo, a three-time all-state selection who picked up volleyball as a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, has gone on to become the 2007 AVCA National Player of the Year and a three-time collegiate All-American. Okogbaa, a Tampa native who played at Berkele Prep, was one of the best players in the state during her prep days, and carries the highest hitting percentage on the team through two matches this season (.368).

SWINGING FOR THE RECORD: Entering her senior season, Foluke Akinradewo has already rewritten the hitting percentage column in the NCAA, Pac-10 and Stanford record books. Last year, she posted the second highest hitting percentage in NCAA history (.499) and shattered both the Pac-10 and Stanford single-season records by more than 50 points. After the first weekend of her final collegiate season, Akinradewo is hitting .437 and on pace to finish with the best career hitting percentage ever recorded by an NCAA Division I player.

CATCHING ON QUICKLY: Sophomore Cassidy Lichtman wasted no time transitioning into her new setter/hitter role last weekend. Lichtman recorded two double-doubles, and set new personal bests for kills (10), assists (31), blocks (2) and hitting percentage (.533). In the opener against Nebraska, Lichtman had 11 assists and 10 digs, then came within one dig of a triple-double and 10 kills, 31 assists and nine digs against Texas. Along with teammate Cynthia Barboza, the sophomore was named to the eight-player Runza/AVCA Showcase All-Tournament Team.

BARBOZA BRINGS IT: All-American Cynthia Barboza came out with two more impressive performances against a pair of top-10 opponents last weekend, recording double-figure kills in both matches. The senior has now recorded double-figures in her last nine collegiate matches, and in the team's last 18 matches against ranked opponents.

QUEEN OF THE COURT: Stanford's Foluke Akinradewo begins her senior season as the reigning AVCA National Player of the Year. Akinradewo tallied 4.11 kpg last season, while leading the nation with a .499 hitting percentage. She is the eighth AVCA National Player of the Year from Stanford, and the fourth that Head Coach John Dunning has produced since coming to The Farm seven seasons ago.

ALL-AMERICAN FIREPOWER: Stanford returns an arsenal of All-American hitters for 2008 - Foluke Akinradewo, Cynthia Barboza and Alix Klineman. Together, the trio boasts six career All-America honors, including four first-team selections, along with a National Player of the Year award and a National Freshman of the Year award. The threesome brings back a combined 12.22 kills per game while hitting at a clip well above .300. All told, the trio's accomplishments amount to more returning firepower than the Cardinal program has ever seen.

RECORDS CHASE: Senior Foluke Akinradewo continues to climb Stanford's career block chart, and is close to joining the school's kill leaders as well. The middle blocker is currently eighth on the block list with 413, 12 short of catching Barbara Ifejika for seventh place. She needs 35 more kills to make the top-10 list in that category, a feat she could accomplish on the team's current six-match road trip.

OFFSEASON OF CHAMPIONS: Stanford's three returning All-Americans all spent the offseason training with the U.S. Women's National Team in Colorado Springs. Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo competed in the FIVB World Grand Prix and were both alternates for the 2008 Olympic Team. Akinradewo and Barboza were the only two players with collegiate eligibiliy remaining named to the 19-player Olympic preliminary roster. Alix Klineman, the youngest player in Colorado Springs at just age 18, trained with the team from January to June, toured China with the squad in March and, along with Barboza, competed in the Pan Am Cup in June.

VETERANS ALL AROUND: The Cardinal boasts 11 players who have been to a national championship match, including seven who have taken the team to the coveted match twice. Six members of the starting rotation return from last year, including all four primary passers. Between the 11 veterans, the 2008 Cardinal boasts 12 years in the starting lineup and more than 3,500 kills. Entering 2008, the veterans had already contributed to 88 Cardinal wins, two conference titles and a pair of Final Four appearances. Ten members of the Stanford roster have postseason court experience.

NATIONAL POLL: Stanford came in at No. 3 this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. The Cardinal began last season at No. 2 in the poll, but dropped a spot after losing the season opener to Nebraska. Defending national champion Penn State and Nebraska took the top two spots in the poll, while Texas and California rounded out the top-five. Five Pac-10 squads remain in the top-10.

PICKED TO THREE-PEAT: The Stanford women's volleyball team was unanimously chosen by the league's coaches to win the Pac-10 volleyball title for the third consecutive season. Stanford claimed the maximum 90 points in the preseason poll, 15 more than second-place UCLA, including the first-place votes of each of the league's nine opponent head coaches. Once again, the Pac-10 sent three teams to the Final Four in 2007 (Stanford, USC and California). It marked the third time in four seasons that the Pac-10 made up three-fourths of the Final Four field. The conference has taken home five of the last seven NCAA titles. The coaches have correctly picked the Pac-10 champion in 12 of the previous 19 polls.

2007 IN REVIEW: In 2007, Stanford posted a 32-3 record and won an unprecedented 11th Pac-10 title. The team finished the year with a postseason run to its 13th NCAA title match, where it fell to Penn State in a five-set thriller. On the year, Stanford bested 18 ranked opponents, outhit 33 of the 35 teams it faced and won 21 matches by 3-0 margins. Four players - Foluke Akinradewo, Alix Klineman, Bryn Kehoe and Cynthia Barboza - were named All-Americans, matching the highest total in program history, and, for the eighth time, Stanford produced the AVCA National Player of the Year.

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. Stanford is scheduled to play 14 regular-season matches against teams ranked in the preseason poll, and 15 against teams that made the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Half of the teams that made the preseason top-10 hail from the Pac-10 Conference.

HEAD COACH John Dunning: Beginning his eighth season at the helm of the Cardinal, Head Coach John Dunning is one of the most accomplished coaches in the collegiate volleyball world. Dunning has four national championships under his belt, has taken his teams to eight Final Fours and carried five of his seven teams at Stanford to the national championship match. In 23 plus years as a head coach, Dunning is 646-136 (.826), giving him a winning percentage that ranks among the top five all-time Division I coaches. Dunning is 209-34 (.860) on The Farm.

SCOUTING CENTRAL FLORIDA: The Knights are coming off of a 9-23 season and a 12th place finish in Conference USA. The team is off to a good start this season, however, playing three five-set matches and winning two of them. Junior outside hitter Erin Campbell returns as the team's 2007 kill leader, and averaged 3.00 kps in this year's opening weekend. Sophomore outside hitter Janine Williams was also hot for the Knights in the opening weekend, turning in 3.87 kps and six service aces.

THE SERIES WITH THE KNIGHTS: Stanford and Central Florida will be meeyng for the first time. Stanford is 8-0 all-time against teams from Conference USA.

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