No. 10 Stanford To Participate In Honolulu Advertiser Volleyball Challenge

Sept. 8, 2009

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THIS WEEK: The No. 10 Cardinal women's volleyball team travels Hawai'i to compete in the Honolulu Advertiser Volleyball Challenge. Stanford will begin the round-robin tournament against UT-San Antonio Thursday, Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. HT. The Cardinal will take on Weber State on Friday, Sept. 11 also at 5 p.m. HT and conclude the trip with a showdown against sixth-ranked Hawai'i on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. HT.

LOOKING AHEAD: Stanford will host San Francisco and Saint Mary's for its home openers, Sept. 18-19. The matches will be part of the Pac-10/West Coast Conference Challenge, as both the Dons and Gaels will also play at Cal next weekend.

CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch this week's matches on Live stats available via Gametracker at www.GoStanford.com.

SOCIAL NETWORKING: Stanford Volleyball has joined Facebook and Twitter! Become a fan on Facebook by searching for the 'Stanford Women's Volleyball' page. Follow the Cardinal at twitter.com/StanfordWVB to get updates on the team this season. Both sites will be updated live during matches this year.

ALL-AMERICAN FIREPOWER: Stanford returns two-time All-American Alix Klineman for the 2009 season. The junior outside hitter is one of the nation's six returning first-team honorees, and one of only seven two-time All-Americans back for 2009. Klineman has led the team in kills in both of her first two seasons with the Cardinal. Stanford has won back-to-back Pac-10 championships and reached the national championship match during both of those years.

TRIPLE THREAT: Junior Cassidy Lichtman has played several different positions for the Cardinal in her career. After five matches, Lichtman leads the team with 71 kills (3.74 kps) and is hitting .407. She is also second on the squad with 52 assists and 46 digs. Lichtman more than doubled her career high in kills after registering 23 aginst LSU in the season opener. Against No. 5 Florida, Lichtman turned in a triple-double (16 kills, 17 assists, 11 digs) and against San Jose State, the junior set a new career high, hitting .600 (10-1-15) against the Spartans.

CHASING 1,000: Alix Klineman is 42 kills away from 1,000 for her career. The junior should supass the milestone before the Pac-10 season even begins and is on pace to finish her career at Stanford in the top-5 in career kills.

DIGGING HER WAY TO THE TOP: Junior libero Gabi Ailes has already claimed the top spot in the Stanford record book for digs in a season (533) and digs per set (4.26) in a season. With 1,106 digs to date, Ailes has climbed into the top-10 on the career list and will make a run for the record of 1,597 set by Kristin Richards from 2003-06.

VETERAN LEADERSHIP: The 2009 Stanford squad will rely on its upperclassmen for leadership this year. The senior class of Joanna Evans, Alex Fisher and Janet Okogbaa holds an impressive 93-11 record through three seasons, earning three Pac-10 titles and three trips to the Final Four. Juniors Gabi Ailes, Alix Klineman and Cassidy Lichtman are all returning starters who have made significant contributions in their first two years on The Farm. Overall, the Cardinal boasts 10 players who have been to a national championship match, including six who have taken the team to the coveted match twice.

NATIONAL POLL: Stanford re-enters the top-10 this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. Last week, the Cardinal went the distance with No. 5 Florida, falling in the fifth set, 15-9, but came back to route San Jose State 3-0 the next night. Defending national champion Penn State remains in the top spot in the poll, while Texas, Washington, Florida and Nebraska round out the top-5.

PICKED THIRD: The Stanford women's volleyball team was tabbed by the league's coaches to finish third in the Pac-10. Stanford totaled 74 points in the preseason poll, six points below second-place California. Washington was the unanimous choice to win the conference. Once again, the Pac-10 sent six teams to the postseason in 2008. The conference has taken home five of the last eight NCAA titles. The coaches have correctly picked the Pac-10 champion in 13 of the previous 20 polls.

2008 IN REVIEW: In 2008, Stanford posted a 31-4 record and won an unprecedented 12th Pac-10 title. The team finished the year with a postseason run to its 14th NCAA title match, where it fell to Penn State in three sets. On the year, Stanford bested 16 ranked opponents, held a .314 average hitting percentage to just .164 by opponents, and won 23 matches by 3-0 margins. Three players - Foluke Akinradewo, Cynthia Barboza, Alix Klineman - were named First Team All-Americans, tying a school record for first team representatives. Akinradewo was also tabbed Volleyball Magazine Co-National Player of the Year after shattering the NCAA's career hitting percentage record by more than 20 points.

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 12 regular-season matches against teams ranked in the preseason poll, and 10 against teams that participated in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Four teams that made the preseason top-10 hail from the Pac-10 Conference.

HEAD COACH John Dunning: Beginning his ninth season at the helm of the Cardinal program, 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 nine Final Fours and carried six of his eight teams at Stanford to the national championship match.

MILESTONE FOR DUNNING: Head coach John Dunning is 21 victories away from 700 career-wins, and could reach that milestone in 2009. In 24 years as a head coach, Dunning is 679-141 (.828), giving him a winning percentage that ranks among the top five all-time for Division I coaches. Dunning is 242-39, now in his ninth season on The Farm, and the all-time winningest coach in Pac-10 history by percentage (.861).

SCOUTING UT-SAN ANTONIO: Under the guidance of head coach Laura Groff, UTSA has opened the 2009 season with a 2-5 revord. Last week, the Roadrunners participated in the Holiday Inn & Suites Baylor Invitational. UTSA was swept by No. 24 Purdue and Baylor before dropping a four-set decision to Central Florida in their tournament finale. Setter Amber Brooks, who handed out 74 assists in addition to collecting 37 digs, was named to the All-Tournament Team.

THE SERIES WITH THE ROADRUNNERS: Thursday's match with UT-San Antonio will be the first-ever meeting between the Cardinal and Roadrunners.

SCOUTING WEBER STATE: In his 17th season at Weber State, head coach Al Givens and the Wildcats are 1-6 to start the 2009 campaign. The Wildcats came up winless last week at the BYU Nike Classic, being swpet by Kansas State and BYU before falling in five sets to Cal Poly. WSU's lone win of the season came against Gonzaga, 3-2, on Aug. 29. Senior outside hitter Chelsea Bair leads the team with 65 kills and is second with 53 digs.

THE SERIES WITH THE WILDCATS: Stanford holds a 2-0 record over Weber State. The teams last met in 2003, also in Honolulu, where the Cardinal won 3-1. The only other meeting came in 1979 season opener, where Stanford earned the sweep.

SCOUTING HAWAI'I: Hawai'i is 4-2 to open the season under head coach Dave Shoji. Five of the six Rainbow Wahine opponents have been ranked in the top-25, including three in the top-10. Sophomore outside hitter Kanani Danielson leads Hawai'i with 95 kills (4.13 kps), while junior Dani Mafua has controlled the offense with 265 assists. Overall, the Rainbow Wahine boast four players with more than 50 kills through six matches.

THE SERIES WITH THE RAINBOW WAHINE: The Cardinal is 13-17 overall against the Rainbow Wahine, one of just four teams Stanford has a below .500 winning percentage against. However, Stanford swept Hawai'i when the two teams met last year in the Fort Collins Regional Final, earning its third straight trip to the Final Four. In the squads' last five matches, the Cardinal is 4-1 against the Rainbow Wahine.

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