Stanford Heads To Cal Poly To Wrap Up Preseason Schedule

Sept. 15, 2008

Stanford, Calif. - UP NEXT: The Stanford women's volleyball team closes out the preseason this weekend, competing at the Mission Inn of Pismo Beach Invitational at Cal Poly Friday and Saturday. The Cardinal will play Saint Mary's on Friday night at 7 p.m. in a neutral site match, then will battle host No. 19 Cal Poly on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in a rematch of the 2007 regional semifinal.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal begins its defense of two Pac-10 titles next week, taking on the Oregon schools in Maples Pavilion, Sept. 26-27. At the Pac-10 opener against Oregon State, kids 14 and under wearing a jersey will receive $1 general admission. Stanford faculty and staff will receive $2 general admission with ID.

LOOKING BACK: Stanford played its first matches on The Farm last week, and put up a perfect sweep of the competition at the Stanford Invitational. Former Cardinal great Kerri Walsh made an appearance at the home opener Thursday, and the team put on an impressive show for her with a sweep of New Mexico State. After routing UC Santa Barbara on Friday night, the Cardinal hit .429 to crush Santa Clara in three sets in the tournament title match. Sophomore Alix Klineman led Stanford offensively in all three matches, and was named the Stanford Invitational MVP.

CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch both Cardinal matches this week via the Big West's pay-per-view webcast at bigwest.org/tv/. KZSU radio will also be broadcasting the matches at 90.1 FM and online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/. Live stats will be available on Gametracker.

SHINING SOPHOMORE: Sophomore Alix Klineman was earned her second career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor this week. She led the Cardinal offensively in every match last weekend, recording double-figures all three nights for 40 total kills (4.44 kps) and a team-best .481 hitting percentage. In the team's first match against New Mexico State, the sophomore put up three blocks in addition to her 11 kills, and, the next night, she did a bit better with 12 kills and four blocks. The Cardinal All-American saved her best for the tournament championship match against Santa Clara, however, as she pounded 16 kills in 26 tries for a career-best .615 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, she accumulated 11 digs for her second double-double of the year. For her efforts, Klineman was named the Stanford Invitational Most Valuable Player, the first time in her career that she has been honored with a tournament MVP award.

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 three weeks of her final collegiate season, Akinradewo is hitting .442 and on pace to finish with the best career hitting percentage ever recorded by an NCAA Division I player. The previous record (.423) was posted by Virag Domokos of George Mason in 1996.

RECORDS CHASE: Senior Foluke Akinradewo is steadily making her way up both the Stanford career kill and block charts. She currently stands seventh on the blocks list (446) and tenth on the kills list (1,389). Senior Cynthia Barboza is also edging her way toward a spot on some career lists. This weekend, the outside hitter needs five service aces to join the all-time top-10.

650 DOWN: Head Coach John Dunning earned his 650th career win in the team's home-opener against New Mexico State Thursday. Dunning, who has won more NCAA championships than any coach in the game, is among the top-five active coaches in terms of winning percentage, and currently stands 10th among active coaches in terms of career victories. He was the 17th coach in NCAA history to hit the 650-win mark.

THE BLOCK IS BACK: Stanford reached double figures in blocking for the first time this year against New Mexico State Thursday (12), and proceeded to have another great blocking night against Santa Clara Saturday (9). Senior Foluke Akinradewo led the charge posting 18 blocks over the course of the Stanford Invitational, six in each match.

CATCH A GLIMPSE: Fans have many great chances to catch the Cardinal live this season. Stanford will appear on live TV five times during the regular season, with the next coming up on Fox Sports Net on Oct. 5 against Washington. Stanford is ranked among the top 10 programs in the nation in home attendance so far in 2008, and has played four of the nation's most well-attended matches on the road this season as well.

CATCHING ON QUICKLY: Sophomore Cassidy Lichtman has wasted no time transitioning into her new setter/hitter role. Lichtman has been named to the all-tournament team at two of Stanford's three preseason tournaments, leads the team with 10 service aces, has recorded four double-doubles, and set new personal bests for kills (10), assists (31), aces (4), blocks (3) and hitting percentage (.533). Last weekend at the Stanford Invitational, Lichtman averaged 8.00 aps, hit .300 with 14 kills and turned in 1.33 dps.

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.

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. Before 2008 even started, 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 moved up a spot to No. 6 this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. The Cardinal began the season at No. 2 in the poll, but dropped after losing two matches. Defending national champion Penn State continues to hold the top spot in the poll, and 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-game 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. Fourteen of Stanford's regular-season matches are against teams that are currently in the top-25, and 15 are against teams that made the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Half of the teams in top-10 hail from the Pac-10 Conference.

SCOUTING SAINT MARY'S: The Gaels went 15-13 last year, tied for fifth in the West Coast Conference and failed to make the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. This year, with all seven starters back, Saint Mary's is off to a promising 7-2 start, however. Leading the way so far has been 2007 WCC Co-Freshman of the Year Megan York with 3.97 kps and 3.31 dps. Senior outside hitter Taylor Groess is also performing well with 3.06 kps, while sophomore setter Kapua Kamana'o is feeding the pair with 11.53 aps.

THE SERIES WITH THE GAELS: Stanford is 7-2 all-time against Saint Mary's, with, ironically, both losses coming during Stanford's 2004 NCAA championship season. The Cardinal has won the last three in the series. Last season, Stanford swept the Gaels at the Stanford Invitational, 30-21, 30-28, 30-23, behind Alix Klineman's 18 kills.

SCOUTING CAL POLY: The Mustangs went 23-8 last season, won the Big West and were eliminated by the Cardinal in the NCAA regional semifinal. Five starters return, including two-time Big West Player of the Year Kylie Atherstone, who is already leading the team with 3.50 kps in 2008. Two more 2007 All-Big West First Team picks, Jaclyn Houston (2.00 kps, 1.17 bps) and Ali Waller (2.75 kps, 2.61 dps) also return. The Mustangs are off to a 5-4 start this year, most recently losing to California at the Diet Coke Classic in Minnesota.

THE SERIES WITH THE MUSTANGS: Stanford owns a 7-4 advantage in the series with Cal Poly, but has not lost to the Mustangs since 1986. The Cardinal has swept the Mustangs all three times the teams have met in the John Dunning era, with two of those sweeps coming in 2007. Last season, the Cardinal bested the Mustangs 30-20, 30-18, 30-28 at the Stanford Invitational, then eliminated them from the NCAA Tournament, 30-15, 30-24, 30-20 at the Stanford Regional in December. Foluke Akinradewo led the team in both matches against Cal Poly last year, posting 15 kills in each one.

STANFORD PROBABLE STARTERS

MB - #16 Foluke AkinradewoNotables: Defending AVCA National Player of the Year ... Sept. 8 Pac-10 Player of the Week after hitting .687 over four matches ... a three-time All-American ... beginning her fourth season in the starting lineup ... an alternate for the 2008 Olympic team ... named the MVP of the Billiken Invitational two weeks ago ... on pace to break the NCAA career hitting percentage record (.442) ... became one of Stanford's 10 all-time kill leaders against Illinois (1,389) ... has posted six blocks in each of the last three matches.

MB - #2 Janet OkogbaaNotables: Beginning her first season in the starting lineup ... was the No. 2 recruit nationally back in 2006 ... had a career-high eight kills against Saint Louis (9/6) ... currently ranked among the top-10 in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage ... hit a career-high .583 against New Mexico State (7-0-12) on Thursday.

OH - #1 Cynthia BarbozaNotables: A two-time first-team All-American ... an alternate for both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic teams ... a four-year starter ... within five service aces of joining the school's top-10 all-time leaders in that category and needs just one to hit 100 ... has three double-doubles this year, including a season-best 18-kill, 14-dig performance against Texas and a 10-kill, 14-dig performance against UCSB Friday.

OH - #10 Alix KlinemanNotables: The Volleyball Magazine National Freshman of the Year last season ... a 2007 second-team All-American ... led team offensively last season with 4.12 kpg ... led the team with 21 kills in victory over Texas ... the MVP of the Stanford Invitational after posting 4.44 kps and a .481 hitting percentage ... hit a career-high .615 (16-0-26) Saturday against Santa Clara.

S - #3 Joanna EvansNotables: Has been setting from the back row for Stanford this season, her first in the starting lineup ... had a season-high 28 assists in the win over Texas at the AVCA Showcase.

OPP - #12 Erin WallerNotables: Stanford's opposite hitter enters her third season as a starter ... has a history of stepping up in big matches, with the two best performances of her career coming the the 2006 national championship match (18 kills) and the 2007 regional final (19 kills).

L - #9 Gabi AilesNotables: Broke Stanford's single-season (533) and single-match (31) dig records as a freshman last season and earned Pac-10 All-Freshman Honorable Mention ... Had seven 20+ dig performances last year ... has reached the 20-dig plateau twice already this year, against Texas (22) and Saint Louis (24).

S/OH - #8 Cassidy LichtmanNotables: Has transitioned into a new setter/hitter role this year after primarily being a DS last season ... Already has a team-best four double-doubles this year and has been named to the all-tournament team at two of Stanford's preseason tournaments.

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