No. 5 Stanford Wraps Up First Half Of Pac-10 Play In Los Angeles
Oct. 21, 2008
UP NEXT: The Stanford women's volleyball team takes on another set of challenging conference opponents this week, battling No. 14 USC and No. 10 UCLA in Los Angeles. Both matches will be televised live by FSN and aired locally by Comcast Sports Net Bay Area.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal is back home next week, hosting Washington and Washington State in Maples Pavilion. On Halloween night, the Cardinal will sqaure off with the sixth-ranked Huskies, looking to sweep the series for the first time since 2002. The Cardinal will meet Washington State on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m.
LOOKING BACK: Stanford is looking to rebound from its first conference loss. The team fell to rival California on Sunday for the first time since 2004 (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 27-25).
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Both matches in Los Angeles will be televised live by FSN and aired locally on CSN Bay Area. Fans can also catch both matches on KZSU radio (90.1 FM and online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/). Live stats will be available on Gametracker.
BRIGHT SPOT: In Stanford's loss on Sunday, sophomore Alix Klineman was a bright spot on the outside. Klineman matched a season-high with 21 kills and added 12 digs for her third double-double of the year. She also hit .362, one of only three players on either team to break .300.
FAB FIVE AT THE NET: After recording one of the best single-match blocking performances in school history against Arizona State two weeks ago (12), senior Foluke Akinradewo is now one of the program's top five blockers with 494 career stuffs. The other four members of the club are Kim Oden `86, Bev Oden `93, Laura Olesen `90 and Kerri Walsh `00. Akinradewo needs six more blocks to join the foursome in the 500-block club, and nine more to pass Walsh for fourth place. The senior leads the Pac-10 in blocking and is among the top 10 nationally in the category.
UP THE CHARTS: Senior Foluke Akinradewo is steadily making her way up the Stanford career kill chart, passing Teresa Smith `88 for ninth place against Cal last Sunday (1,467). Fellow senior Cynthia Barboza is 45 kills away from joining the top-10 as well (1,420).
CLEAN SWEEP: Despite a setback against the rival Golden Bears last weekend, the Cardinal has dominated most of its recent competition. Stanford swept 21 opponents last year, and is well on its way to matching that impressive feat. With at least 11 matches to play, the Cardinal has swept 13 opponents, including 10 of its last 12. The team opened the conference season with six consecutive sweeps for the first time in school history this year.
FIGHTING OFF THE AVENGERS: Stanford has four of the five teams it eliminated from last year's NCAA Tournament on its regular-season schedule this year. The team already topped first round opponent Santa Clara and regional semifinal opponent Cal Poly this year. It will now look to complete the sweep with wins over regional final opponent UCLA and national semifinal opponent USC this weekend.
IN THE CLUB: Senior Cynthia Barboza joined an elite group of Pac-10 players earlier this month, reaching 1,000 career digs against Washington State on Oct. 3. The senior posted the 1,000th kill of her career against Washington in October 2007, and is now 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.
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. Nearing the final stretch of her last 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 on Sept. 26. The senior now holds sole possession of tenth place, with 106 career aces.
HITTING THE MARK: Three of the Pac-10's top 10 leaders in hitting percentage, including leader Foluke Akinradewo, hail from The Farm. Akinradewo paces the conference and its fifth in the nation with a .447 clip, while Janet Okogbaa (6th, .359) and Alix Klineman (7th, .336) also make the top 10. As a team, Stanford leads the Pac-10 with a .322 clip, stands third nationally and is one of only five programs hitting above .300 for the year. The Cardinal's 2008 hitting percentage is currently the best in school history, six 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 15-3 record, but by the list of opponents' hitting percentages. Of Stanford's 18 opponents, 12 have hit below .200, with seven not even able to hit .100. Saint Louis (.273) and Cal (.260) 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 13 times, above .400 three times and only two teams have held the squad below .250 (Nebraska and Cal). Since falling to Saint Louis on Sept. 6, Stanford has hit over .300 in 10 of its 12 matches, and held all but two opponents (Oregon and Cal) below .200 hitting.
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 3.78 dps, and is carrying a career average (4.11) 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 seven times during the regular season, with the next two coming up this weekend live on FSN. Stanford ranks 11th nationally in home attendance in 2008, draws the most fans in the Pac-10 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 six double-doubles, and set new personal bests for kills (10), assists (35), aces (4), blocks (5) and hitting percentage (.533). Last weekend against Cal, Lichtman turned in career highs with 35 assists and five blocks.
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 dropped to No. 5 this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. 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 USC: Coming off an appearance in the 2007 NCAA Final Four, the Trojans currently stand tied for sixth in the Pac-10 with a 10-6 record and a 3-4 mark in conference play. Although the team has lost four of its last six, it has proven dangerous with big wins over then-No. 4 UCLA on Sept. 26 and then-No. 21 San Diego on Sept. 6. Freshman Alex Jupiter has taken the lead offensively for USC, averaging 3.53 kps (6th in the Pac-10) and 4.12 points per set (5th). Redshirt junior Jessica Gysin has also been key for the Trojans (3.09 kps, 2.16 dps). Setter Taylor Carico, the only returning All-American on the team, averages 10.47 aps.
THE SERIES WITH THE TROJANS: Stanford is 49-18 (.731) all-time against the Trojans, but is an even 8-8 over the last seven seasons. Last year, the teams split the regular-season meetings, each winning on its home court. The teams met again at the Final Four on Dec. 13, and Foluke Akinradewo matched a career-high with 26 kills to lead Stanford to a thrilling 23-30, 30-20, 30-25, 20-30, 16-14 victory. Alix Klineman tallied 30 digs in the match, one of the best defensive performances in school history, and all five Stanford hitters reached double figures.
SCOUTING UCLA: The Bruins were eliminated by the Cardinal in the NCAA Regional Final last season, and return one of the best setters in the country in senior first-team All-American Nellie Spicer. They currently stand tied for fourth in the Pac-10 with a 14-4 record and a 4-3 mark in conference play. Senior libero Jessica Fine (4.38 dps) has helped UCLA rise to the top of the Pac-10 in digs, and freshman middle blocker Amanda Gil has helped the defensive effort with 1.35 bps, second in the Pac-10. Offensively, sophomore outside hitter Dicey McGraw leads the team with 3.08 kps, and is fed by Spicer's 10.86 aps (3rd in the Pac-10). The squad's biggest win came on Aug. 31, when it swept No. 9 Hawai'i on its home floor.
THE SERIES WITH THE BRUINS: Stanford is 37-31 (.544) all-time against UCLA, and has won all 15 meetings in John Dunning's tenure. Last season, Stanford swept the then-No. 5 Bruins at home before winning in four games at Pauley Pavilion. In the regional final at Maples, three Stanford players recorded double-doubles to fend off the Bruins (28-30, 30-28, 30-26, 30-27) and help propel the team into the Final Four. Stanford has not lost to UCLA since Oct. 19, 2000.
STANFORD PROBABLE STARTERS
MB - #16 Foluke Akinradewo
Notables: Defending AVCA National Player of the Year ... a three-time All-American ... a four-year starter ... 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 fifth nationally in hitting percentage, and also stands among the nation's top 10 in blocks per set ... leads the Pac-10 in both hitting percentage and blocks ... one of Stanford's ten all-time kill and block leaders ... posted the ninth best blocking performance in school history (12) and her second career double-double against Arizona State (10/12).
MB - #2 Janet Okogbaa
Notables: In 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 sixth in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.359) ... matched a career-high with six blocks against Cal Poly on Sept. 20.
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 seven of the last eight 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) ... matched her season high with 21 kills against Cal last week and posted her third double-double ... ranked among the Pac-10's top 10 in hitting percentage, kills and points.
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 six double-doubles this year ... was 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 ... posted career highs with 35 assists and five blocks against Cal last week.