No. 4 Stanford Continues Pac-10 Run Against Arizona, Arizona State
Oct. 6, 2008
UP NEXT: The Stanford women's volleyball team is back on the home hardwood this week, taking on Arizona and Arizona State in the third weekend of Pac-10 play. The Cardinal will look to extend its nine-match winning streak, and hold onto its top spot in the competitive Pac-10 Conference. First serve between the Cardinal and Wildcats is set for 7 p.m. Friday night, while Stanford and Arizona State will play at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal is in Maples Pavilion again next week, taking on California in what is shaping up to be a battle for sole possession of first place in the Pac-10. The match will also be Stanford's annual Dig For The Cure event, raising money to support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
LOOKING BACK: Stanford is coming off a spectacular weekend in Washington, which saw the team sweep both Washington State and then-No. 9 Washington in their home venues. The Cardinal made easy work of the Cougars on Friday night, 25-14, 25-15, 25-19, with all three All-American hitters reaching double figures for the first time this year. Stanford then dominated Washington in Seattle in front of a live TV audience, sweeping the Huskies at Bank of America Arena for the first time in nearly a decade, 25-17, 25-15, 27-25.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch both matches on KZSU radio (90.1 FM and online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/) and via live webcast at www.GoStanford.com. Live stats for both matches will also be available on Gametracker.
IN MAPLES THIS WEEK: At Friday's match, Stanford will be honoring former players as part of Homecoming Alumni Night. All Stanford alumni will receive $2 general admission to the match. On Sunday, fans with a football ticket from Saturday's homecoming game versus Arizona will receive FREE admission. Stanford will also be offering Food `n Fun for the match - 4 general admission tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 small sodas for $28.
HOT HITTING: Sophomore Alix Klineman had one of the hottest hitting weekends of her career in Washington. Against WSU, Klineman led the team with 13 kills in just three sets, and hit .591. Against Washington, she was nearly unstoppable again, registering another one of her best hitting percentages (.471). Klineman turned in 3.67 kps for the weekend and hit a whopping .538 over two matches. Her hitting percentages marked two of the top five of her young career.
IN THE CLUB: Senior Cynthia Barboza joined an elite group of Pac-10 players last weekend, reaching 1,000 career digs in the first set against Washington State. The senior posted the 1,000th kill of her career against Washington last October, and becomes just the seventh Stanford player since 1986 to record both 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. Kristin Richards `07, Kristin Klein `92, Cary Wendell `96, Kerri Walsh `00, Logan Tom `03 and Bev Oden `93 are the other Cardinal players who have accomplished the feat.
BULLDOZING THE COMPETITION: Stanford enters this weekend riding a season-long, nine-match win streak. The Cardinal, which swept 21 opponents last season, has shown signs of the same dominance this year. With at least 14 matches to play, Stanford has already swept 11 opponents, including eight of its last nine.
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 half of her final collegiate season, Akinradewo is hitting .443 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.
ACE CHASE: Cynthia Barboza is one of the ten most dangerous servers in Stanford history, joining the club against Oregon State two weeks ago. The senior now holds sole possession of tenth place, with 106 career aces.
UP THE CHARTS: Senior Foluke Akinradewo is steadily making her way up both the Stanford career kill and block charts. She remains in sixth place on the blocks list (469) and tenth place on the kills list (1,438).
HITTING THE MARK: Two of the Pac-10's top five leaders in hitting percentage hail from The Farm - middle blockers Foluke Akinradewo (1st, .452) and Janet Okogbaa (5th, .370). Akinradewo, who led the nation in hitting percentage last year, currently ranks fourth nationally. As a team, Stanford leads the Pac-10 with a .332 clip, stands second nationally and is one of only six programs hitting above .300 for the year. The Cardinal's 2008 hitting percentage is currently the best in school history, 16 points above the record of .316 the team set last year.
OPPONENT WOES: Opponents have had a difficult time getting much going offensively against Stanford, a fact shown not only by the Cardinal's 13-2 record, but by the list of opponents' hitting percentages. Of Stanford's 15 opponents, ten have hit below .200, with six not even able to hit .100. Saint Louis (.273) was the only club 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 Nebraska has held the squad below .250.
DIGGING DEEP: Stanford libero Gabi Ailes set a new school single-season dig record last season (533), and was just the second player in school history to turn in more than four digs per game. This year, even with the new scoring format, Ailes is turning in impressive dig numbers. The sophomore is averaging 3.94 dps, and is carrying a career average (4.17) better than any player in program history.
NEW LOOK: The Stanford offense has a new look this year, running a 6-2 with setters Cassidy Lichtman and Joanna Evans. Stanford has not run a 6-2 offense since 1995, when All-Americans Lisa Sharpley and Cary Wendell shared the setting duties. The pair led the Cardinal to the 1994 national title running the same offense.
CATCH A GLIMPSE: Fans have many great chances to catch the Cardinal live this season. Stanford will appear on live TV six times during the regular season, with the next coming up on FSN Bay Area on Oct. 19 against Cal. Stanford is ranked among the top programs in the nation in home attendance so far in 2008, and has helped set facility attendance records at three of its non-conference road matches.
CATCHING ON QUICKLY: Sophomore Cassidy Lichtman has wasted no time transitioning into her new setter/hitter role. Lichtman was named to the all-tournament team at two of Stanford's preseason tournaments, has recorded five double-doubles, and set new personal bests for kills (10), assists (31), aces (4), blocks (3) and hitting percentage (.533). Last weekend against the Washington schools, Lichtman turned in 10 kills, 41 assists and 11 digs.
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 prior years in the starting lineup and more than 4,000 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 leapt up to No. 4 this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, after sweeping the Washington schools on the road. 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, five Pac-10 squads remain in the top-10 and seven conference teams are in the top-25.
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. Seventeen 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 ARIZONA: Arizona (12-3, 2-1 Pac-10) finished eighth in the Pac-10 last year, but finds itself all the way up in third place entering this year's third conference weekend. Sophomore outside hitters Whitney Dosty and Tiffany Owens lead the team with 3.20 kps and 2.66 kps, respectively, and another sophomore, Stephanie Snow is ranked among the conference's best blockers (1.26 bps). Sophomore setter Paige Weber chips in 10.52 assists per game and is also among the toughest servers in the conference with 21 aces.
THE SERIES WITH THE WILDCATS: Stanford is 50-6 (.893) all-time against Arizona and has won 12 of the 15 meetings in the John Dunning era. Two of the Wildcat wins came in 2005, when Arizona won a pair of five-game battles with the Cardinal, held a top-10 ranking and eventually advanced to the NCAA Regional Final. Last season, Stanford swept the Wildcats in Tucson, then took them down in four games at home. Foluke Akinradewo led the Cardinal in both matches, racking up a combined 32 kills in seven games.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: Arizona State (10-6, 1-2 Pac-10), which finished seventh in the Pac-10 and just missed the NCAA Tournament last year, won nine matches in the 2008 preseason and is currently tied for eighth with a 1-2 record in Pac-10 play. The Sun Devils are led by sophomore Sarah Reaves, one of two hitters in the Pac-10 averaging more than 4.00 kps. Senior Margie Giordano is turning in a respectable 3.48 kps, and veteran setter Marina Mercer is third in the conference with 10.61 aps.
THE SERIES WITH THE SUN DEVILS: Stanford is 52-4 (.929) against the Sun Devils, and has not lost to them since John Dunning took the helm in 2001. As matter of fact, Stanford has lost to Arizona State just twice in the last two decades with the most recent coming in Tempe in 2000. Last season, Stanford swept ASU in both meetings, with Cynthia Barboza pacing the team with 15 kills in the desert and Alix Klineman turning in 16 kills at home.
STANFORD PROBABLE STARTERS
MB - #16 Foluke Akinradewo
Notables: Defending AVCA National Player of the Year ... a three-time All-American ... beginning her fourth season in the starting lineup ... an alternate for the 2008 Olympic team ... Sept. 8 Pac-10 Player of the Week after hitting .687 over four matches ... hit a career-high .923 vs. No. 19 Illinois (9/6) ... on pace to break the NCAA career hitting percentage record (.443) ... ranked fourth nationally in hitting percentage, and also stands among the nation's top 25 in blocks per set ... one of Stanford's ten all-time kill and block leaders.
MB - #2 Janet Okogbaa
Notables: 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 fifth in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.370) ... matched a career-high with six blocks against Cal Poly two weeks ago.
OH - #1 Cynthia Barboza
Notables: A two-time first-team All-American ... an alternate for both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic teams ... a four-year starter ... among the school's top-10 all-time leaders with 106 service aces ... has reached double figures in each of the last five matches ... ranked among the Pac-10's top 10 in kills and points.
OH - #10 Alix Klineman
Notables: The Volleyball Magazine National Freshman of the Year last season ... a 2007 second-team All-American after leading the team offensively with 4.12 kpg ... led the team with 21 kills in victory over No. 3 Texas ... the MVP of the Stanford Invitational after posting 4.44 kps and a .481 hitting percentage ... also named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the effort (9/15) ... hit a career-high .615 (16-0-26) against Santa Clara (9/13) ... ranked among the Pac-10's top 10 in hitting percentage, kills and points ... posted two of the top five hitting percentages of her career last week in Washington.
S - #3 Joanna Evans
Notables: 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 Waller
Notables: 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 in the 2006 national championship match (18 kills) and the 2007 regional final (19 kills).
L - #9 Gabi Ailes
Notables: 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 this year, against Texas (22) and Saint Louis (24).
S/OH - #8 Cassidy Lichtman
Notables: Has transitioned into a new setter/hitter role this year after primarily being a DS last season ... Already has a team-best five double-doubles this year and has been named to the all-tournament team at two of Stanford's preseason tournaments ... leads the team in assists, is third in digs and fourth in both kills and points.
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