No. 4 Stanford Squares Off With No. 16 USC, No. 11 UCLA

Oct. 26, 2009

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THIS WEEK: Stanford hosts a pair of ranked opponents, No. 16 USC and No. 11 UCLA, as it begins the second half of Pac-10 play. The Cardinal will take on the Trojans, Friday, Oct. 30, before facing the Bruins on Saturday, Oct. 31. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal will travel to the Pacific Northwest next week. Stanford plays at No. 5 Washington, Friday, Nov. 6, before traveling to Pullman to take on No. 21 Washington State, Saturday, Nov. 7.

CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fan’s can catch both matches this week on KZSU radio at 90.1 FM or online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/. Live stats will also be available both nights 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.

GAMEDAY PROMOTIONS: Friday’s match versus USC is Breast Cancer Awareness Night. Fans are asked to wear pink to support the cause. Saturday’s contest against UCLA is Halloween on the Farm. Fans will receive $2 general admission with their costume.

LAST WEEK: Stanford defeated Arizona State, 3-0, for the 11th straight time. Alix Klineman led the offense with 19 kills, while Gabi Ailes totaled 25 digs for the Cardinal. Stanford also swept No. 16 Arizona, placing the Cardinal in a tie for first place in the Pac-10 Conference with Washington. Senior Janet Okogbaa and Klinamen each registered 11 kills for Stanford.

TRIPLE THREAT: Junior Cassidy Lichtman has played several different positions for the Cardinal in her career. Currently, Lichtman is second on the team with 238 kills (3.31 kps) and is hitting .264. She is also second on the squad with 231 assists (3.21 aps) and 193 digs (2.68 dps). 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 her first career triple-double (16 kills, 17 assists, 11 digs) and versus San Jose State, the junior set a new career high, hitting .600 (10-1-15) against the Spartans. She now has six triple-doubles on the season.

CHASING 1,000: Alix Klineman posted her 1,000th-career kill in the opening set of the match against Saint Mary’s on Sept. 19. Klineman registered a season- and team-high 24 kills at USC on Oct. 3 and tied that mark at Oregon on Oct. 17. The junior now has 1,187 career kills. She is the 12th Cardianl player to reach 1,000 career kills. The All-American leads the team and is sixth in the Pac-10 with 3.96 kills per set. She 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 1,379 digs to date, Ailes is currently third on the career list and will make a run for the record of 1,597 set by Kristin Richards from 2003-06. She needs 78 digs to move into second place on the career list. At Oregon State on Oct. 16, Ailes broke her own school record for digs in a match as she totaled 32 digs in the win.

BLOCK PARTY: Senior Janet Okogbaa is second in the Pac-10 and ranks 21st nationally with 1.33 blocks per set. She registered a new career high with eight blocks against Florida on Sept. 4. Junior Alix Klineman’s five solo blocks at UCLA are the most by a Pac-10 player this season. As a team, Stanford is 28th in the country with 2.58 blocks per set, posting a season-high 15 blocks versus Washington on Oct. 10.

CONTROLLING THE OFFENSE: Freshman setter Karissa Cook has embraced the starting setter role for the Cardinal. She leads the team with 9.32 assists per set in conference matches, ranking 10th in the Pac-10. She tallied a season-best 49 assists at Oregon State on Oct. 16 and has posted seven double-doubles for the Cardinal this season.

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.

ALMOST PERFECT: Senior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa was 16-0-19 against Texas-San Antonio for a career high .842 hitting percentage, marking the highest attack percentage by a Pac-10 player this season. At the Honolulu Avertiser Volleyball Challenge, the Tampa, Fla., native was 36-2-77 (4.00 kps) and a .608 attack percentage.

NATIONAL POLL: Stanford moves up two slots in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll to No. 4 this week, its highest ranking of the season. Last week, the Cardinal swept the Arizona schools to move into a tie for first place in the Pac-10. Defending national champion Penn State remains in the top spot in the poll, while Texas and Hawai’i are ahead of the Cardinal. Washington rounds out the top-5.

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.

CATCH A GLIMPSE: Four of the Cardinal’s conference matches will be televised on Fox Sports Net. The first three weekends of conference play, the Cardinal has been televised, including at California and at USC and versus Washington. The other TV match for Stanford is scheduled for Nov. 6 at Washington.

CHALK TALK/HOSPITALITY ROOM: The dates for the 2009 Chalk Talk and Hospitality Room for members of the Buck/Cardinal Club have been set. Coach Dunning’s chalk talks will take place at 5 p.m. in the Maples Media Room on Oct. 31 vs. UCLA, Nov. 14 vs. Oregon State and Nov. 27 vs. California. The hospitality room will be availabe postgame Nov. 14 vs. Oregon State in the Maples VIP Room.

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: Now in 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 10 victories away from 700 career-wins, and could reach that milestone in 2009. In 24 years as a head coach, Dunning is 690-144 (.827), giving him a winning percentage that ranks among the top five all-time for Division I coaches. Dunning is 253-42, now in his ninth season on The Farm, and the all-time winningest coach in Pac-10 history by percentage (.858).

SCOUTING USC: The Trojans are 15-6 overall and in a three-way tie for sixth in the Pac-10 with a 4-5 conference record. Junior outside hitter Alex Jupiter leads the team and is second in the Pac-10 with 4.54 kills per set and 5.41 points per set. Sophomore setter Kendall Bateman has controlled the offense and leads the conference with 12.26 assists per set. As a team, USC is second in the nation in kills per set (15.01) and assists per set (14.15).

THE SERIES WITH THE TROJANS: The Cardinal is 52-18 overall against the Trojans. Stanford swept USC in the first meeting this season in Los Angeles. Junior Alix Klineman led the team with a season-high 24 kills, hitting .357. In the Dunning era, the Cardinal is 11-8 against the Trojans. The last time USC defeated Stanford in Maples Pavilion was November 10, 2006 (3-0).

SCOUTING UCLA: The Bruins are 16-6 overall and right behind the Cardinal in the Pac-10 standings at 6-3. UCLA is led by sophomore middle blocker Amanda Gil, whose 1.63 blocks per set leads the conference and ranks second nationally. Junior outside hitter Dicey McGraw leads the team with 3.23 kills per set, while senior Kaitlin Sather leads the squad in conference only matches with 3.27 kills per set.

THE SERIES WITH THE BRUINS: Stanford holds a 40-31 all-time record against UCLA. The Cardinal defeated UCLA, 3-1, on Oct. 2 to pick up its first win over a ranked opponent this season. Stanford is a perfect 18-0 against UCLA under head coach John Dunning. The last UCLA victory in Maples Pavilion came during the 2000 season, a 3-0 Bruin win.

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