No. 5 Stanford Squares Off With Washington, Washington State

Oct. 27, 2008

UP NEXT: The Stanford women's volleyball team begins the second half of conference play this week, looking to maintain top position in a tight race for the conference title. The fifth-ranked Cardinal goes head-to-head with No. 6 Washington on Friday night at 7 p.m. before taking on unranked Washington State on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both matches will be played in Maples Pavilion.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal is back on the road next week, heading to the desert for contests against Arizona State and Arizona. The matches will be played on Nov. 7 and 8 in Tempe and Tucson, both at 7 p.m. (MT).

LOOKING BACK: Stanford is coming off a fantastic weekend in Los Angeles, having completed a road sweep of No. 14 USC and No. 10 UCLA to pull back into a tie for first place in the Pac-10. Outside hitters Cynthia Barboza and Alix Klineman recorded double-doubles in both matches, Foluke Akinradewo was in double figures both nights and Stanford claimed a pair of four-set victories.

CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch both matches this week via live webcast on Stanford's FREE All-Access player at GoStanford.com. KZSU radio (90.1 FM or online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/) will also be broadcasting both matches and live stats will be available on Gametracker.

THIS WEEK IN MAPLES: Friday is Halloween On The Farm, offering fans in costume $2 general admission. On Sunday, Stanford is offering Food `n Fun (4 general admission, 4 hot dogs and 4 sodas for $28). Fans will be admitted free on Sunday with a ticket stub from the Nov. 1 football game against Washington State.

BEST OF BARBOZA: Senior Cynthia Barboza had a phenomenal weekend in Los Angeles, and was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her efforts. In a tight four-set win over USC on Friday, Barboza turned in 11 kills and matched a season high with 17 digs. On Sunday against UCLA, she was even better, matching a season high with 20 kills, and registering the best defensive performance of her notable career with 22 digs. She also hit over .400 for the fourth time this year against the Bruins (.405). With two double-doubles on the trip, Barboza averaged 3.88 kills per set and posted a staggering 4.88 digs per set.

SEEING 20-20: Cynthia Barboza capped the weekend in LA with a career-best 20-kill, 22-dig performance. It was just the third time in Barboza's career that she has posted 20 or more digs, and the first since Dec. 3, 2006 when she recorded 20 against Missouri in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The effort marked the first time that Barboza has reached 20 kills and 20 digs in the same match.

AT THE TURN: After the first half of Pac-10 play, Stanford, Cal and Washington remain in a close hunt for the Pac-10 title. Stanford and Cal are tied at the top with 8-1 records, and Washington is close behind at 7-2. All three teams still control their own fates, and our guaranteed to capture at least a share of the championship if they win their remaining nine matches. Oregon is just one match out of the race (6-3), but no team has ever won the conference title with more than two losses. Eight Pac-10 teams are over .500 at the turn, and all 10 have a chance to break .500 and become NCAA eligible. Every Pac-10 team that has finished over .500 since 1996 has made the NCAA Tournament.

STELLAR DEFENSE: As a team, Stanford posted its two best defensive performances of the year last week, recording more than 80 digs in each match. Against USC, five Cardinal players recorded double figure digs, amounting to four double-doubles. Against UCLA, three players were in double figures, including season-best efforts by Alix Klineman (14 digs) and Cynthia Barboza (22 digs).

MILESTONES AT THE NET: Senior Foluke Akinradewo reached two notable career blocking milestones last week, becoming the fifth player to record 500 career blocks against USC on Friday and passing former great Kerri Walsh for fourth place on the career list on Sunday. With 506 blocks to date, she is just one block short of catching Laura Olesen `90 for third place. The senior leads the Pac-10 in blocking and is among the top 10 nationally in the category. She recorded one of the best single-match blocking performances in school history against Arizona State (12) on Oct. 12.

UP THE CHARTS: Foluke Akinradewo is steadily making her way up the Stanford career kill chart, and now stands in ninth place with 1,497. She needs just three kills this weekend to become the ninth player in school history to reach 1,500. Currently the conference's active career kill leader, she would be the 36th player in Pac-10 history to hit 1,500.

GETTING ON THE BOARD: Cynthia Barboza is 14 kills and eight digs away from joining the school's all-time top-10 in those two categories, giving her a good chance to accomplish both feats on Friday night. She is already one of the ten most dangerous servers in Stanford history with 106 career service aces. Only three players (Kristin Richards `07, Kristin Klein `92 and Logan Tom `03) are among the top 10 on all three of those lists.

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.

CLEAN SWEEP: Stanford, which swept 21 opponents last year, is well on its way to matching that impressive feat. With nine regular-season matches to play, the Cardinal has swept 13 opponents, including 10 of its last 14. The team opened the conference season with six consecutive sweeps for the first time in school history this year.

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 .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.

HITTING THE MARK: Two of the Pac-10's top five leaders in hitting percentage, including leader Foluke Akinradewo, hail from The Farm. Akinradewo paces the conference and is fourth in the nation with a .439 clip, while fellow middle blocker Janet Okogbaa is fourth in the conference at .367. As a team, Stanford leads the Pac-10 with a .317 clip, stands third nationally and is one of only four programs hitting above .300 for the year (Cal, Penn State and Texas are the others). The Cardinal's 2008 hitting percentage is currently the best in school history, just 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 17-3 record, but by the list of opponents' hitting percentages. Of Stanford's 20 opponents, 13 have hit below .200, with seven not even able to hit .100. Only three teams have hit more than .250 against the Cardinal this year (Saint Louis, Cal and UCLA), and no one has been able to reach .300. By contrast, Stanford has hit above .300 14 times, above .400 three times and only three teams have held the squad below .250 (Nebraska, Cal and USC). Since falling to Saint Louis on Sept. 6, Stanford has hit over .300 in 11 of its 14 matches, and held all but three opponents (UCLA, Cal and Oregon) 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 3.84 dps, and is carrying a career average (4.11) better than any player in program history. She has had 17 digs in each of the last two matches.

JUNIOR FEATS: Stanford's two juniors both accomplished notable feats last week at USC. Setter Joanna Evans recorded the first double-double of her career with 21 assists and 11 digs and middle blocker Janet Okogbaa recorded double figures for the first time in her career (12 kills).

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 final appearance coming against Cal on Nov. 14. 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 seven double-doubles and set new personal bests in every statistical category. Last weekend in Los Angeles, Lichtman turned in career highs with 53 assists against UCLA and 15 digs against USC.

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 remains at 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, having been No. 1 since the start of the year. Five Pac-10 squads remain in the top-10 and six 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. Fifteen 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 WASHINGTON: Washington, the 2007 Pac-10 runner-up, owns a 16-3 record and stands third with a 7-2 mark after the first half of conference play. The Huskies are one of three teams to still control their own Pac-10 fate and could pull into a three-way tie for first place with a sweep this weekend. Three players - Jill Collymore, Becky Perry and Kindra Carlson - are all averaging more than three kills per set, and returning All-American Jessica Swarbrick is second in the conference in hitting percentage (.424). Collymore has 29 service aces, tops in the Pac-10, and setter Jenna Hagglund ranks third nationally with 12.01 aps. All-American libero Tamari Miyashiro is turning in 4.87 dps, second-most in the Pac-10.

THE SERIES WITH THE HUSKIES: Stanford is 42-9 (.824) all-time against the Huskies, but, in recent years, there has been a much closer balance between the two teams. Six of the nine Cardinal losses have come since 2003, and Stanford has not won both meetings with Washington since 2002. Last season, the Huskies were the only team to beat Stanford in Maples Pavilion. Earlier this year, on Oct. 5, Cynthia Barboza recorded a team-high 10 kills, Stanford hit .344 and the Cardinal picked up its first sweep in Seattle since 1999.

SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars are 7-13 overall and have yet to win a Pac-10 match this season. WSU is led by four hitters, all averaging more than two kills per set - junior Jackie Albright (2.52 kps), senior Emily Rooney (2.36 kps), senior Brittany Johnson (2.22 kps) and junior Cassie Robbins (2.25 kps). Junior libero Kelly Hyder, who was among the conference's dig leaders last year, currently ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in digs (4.20 dps).

THE SERIES WITH THE COUGARS: Stanford is 43-3 (.935) all-time against Washington State and has won 14 of the 15 meetings in the John Dunning era. The 2002 Cardinal was the last to fall to WSU, dropping a four-game match in Pullman. Stanford won the first meeting this year, routing the Cougars 25-14, 25-15, 25-19 on the road. Washington State has never won in Maples Pavilion.

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 fourth 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, reaching her 500th last weekend against USC ... 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 ... currently ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.367) ... matched a career-high with six blocks against Cal Poly on Sept. 20 ... pounded a career-high 12 kills to lead the team to victory over USC last week, marking her first career performance in double figures.

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, and will likely become one of the school's kill and dig leaders this weekend as well ... has reached double figures in nine of the last 10 matches ... ranked among the Pac-10's top 10 in kills and points ... the seventh Stanford player since 1986 to record both 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs, nabbing her 1,000th dig on Oct. 3 at Washington State ... leads the team with eight double-doubles ... posted 20 kills and 22 digs against UCLA last Sunday, marking a career high for digs and the first time in her career she has broken 20 in both categories in the same match ... reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week.

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 (10/19) and posted her third double-double ... ranked among the Pac-10's top 10 in kills and points ... has now recorded three consecutive double-doubles.

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 ... posted the first double-double of her career with 21 assists and 10 digs against USC last week.

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) ... has hit double figures twice this year, against Texas (8/31) and UCLA (10/26).

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) ... has posted 17 digs in the team's last two matches.

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 seven double-doubles this year ... was named to the all-tournament team at two of Stanford's preseason tournaments, including the competitive AVCA Showcase ... posted career highs with 53 assists (10/26) and 15 digs (10/24) in Los Angeles.

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