No. 6 Stanford Clashes With No. 11 California For Big Spike Friday

Nov. 24, 2009

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THIS WEEK: Stanford hosts Bay Area rival 11th-ranked California for the Big Spike, Friday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. in Maples Pavilion. Stanford will honor its three seniors prior to the start of the match for Senior Night.

LOOKING AHEAD: The 64-team field for the 2009 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship will be announced on Sunday at Noon PT on ESPNews. Stanford will head to the tournament for the 29th consecutive year. The Cardinal and Penn State are the only two programs in the nation to appear in all 29 NCAA Championships.

CATCH THE CARDINAL: Friday’s match versus Cal will be televised by FSN on a tape-delayed basis. The match will air in the Bay Area on Sunday, Nov. 29. Live stats will be available via Gametracker at www.GoStanford.com.

GAMEDAY PROMOTIONS: The Big Spike will follow the Stanford women’s basketball game versus Utah, so fans who bring their basketball ticket to the volleyball match will receive $1 general admission. Friday will also be Super Spikers Night where clinic attendees will receive $1 general admission, and it will include a halftime ball-handling contest.

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.

LAST WEEK: Friday, the Cardinal escaped Tucson with a five-set win over No. 19 Arizona. Junior Cassidy Lichtman turned in her eighth triple-double of the season with 13 kills, 20 assists and 14 digs to lead the team. At Arizona State, Stanford recorded its 11th sweep of the season to match its season-best five match win streak. the win also gave the Cardinal its ninth consecutive 20-win season.

FOR THE RECORD: Junior libero Gabi Ailes set a new Stanford single season digs record over the weekend. The Bellevue, Neb., native currently has 547 digs in 2009, breaking her record of 533 set in 2007. Ailes leads the Pac-10 with 5.42 digs per set, ranking 11th nationally. That mark is also more than a dig per set higher than her school-best 4.26 average as a freshman. She is also turning in 6.09 digs per set in conference play.

TRIPLE THREAT: Junior Cassidy Lichtman has played several different positions for the Cardinal in her career. Currently, Lichtman is second on the team with 3.29 kills per set and is hitting .253. She is also second on the squad with 334 assists (3.31 aps) and 284 digs (2.81 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 eight 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 1,317 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 4.11 kills per set. She is on pace to finish her career at Stanford in the top-5 in career kills.

BLOCK PARTY: Senior Janet Okogbaa is second in the Pac-10 and ranks 27th nationally with 1.30 blocks per set. She registered a 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 23rd in the country with 2.65 blocks per set, posting a season-high 15 blocks three times this season, including at Arizona last weekend.

CONTROLLING THE OFFENSE: Freshman setter Karissa Cook has embraced the starting setter role for the Cardinal. She leads the team with 9.17 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 eight 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.

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 (547 and counting) and digs per set (4.26) in a season. With 1,571 digs to date, Ailes is currently second on the career list and will make a run for the record of 1,597 set by Kristin Richards from 2003-06. She needs 26 digs to take over the top spot on the career list. She broke her own school record for digs in a single match with 33 versus UCLA on Oct. 31.

IN ATTENDANCE: The Cardinal is averaging 2,368 fans at its home matches this season, which is unofficially the 11th-best home average in the nation. Stanford’s match versus then-undefeate Wahington on Oct. 10 drew the largest crowd to date at Maples Pavilion with 2,921 fans. Additionally, its match at Hawai’i on Sept. 12 was seen by 7,801 fans, marking the seventh-highest attendance at a Division I volleyball match this season.

NATIONAL POLL: Stanford remains at No. 6 this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. Last week, the Cardinal defeated No. 19 Arizona and swept Arizona State on the road. Defending national champion Penn State remains in the top spot in the poll, while Texas, Hawai’i, Washington and Illinois round 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: The team’s final conference match versus California is the wildcard pick for FSN and the match will be shown on a tape-delayed basis. It will be the fifth Pac-10 match for Stanford to be televised by FSN this season.

CHALK TALK: Coach Dunning’s final chalk talk of the season will take place at 5 p.m. in the Maples Media Room on Friday for Buck/Cardinal Club members.

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 four victories away from 700 career-wins, and could reach that milestone in 2009. In 24 years as a head coach, Dunning is 696-146 (.827), giving him a winning percentage that ranks among the top five all-time for Division I coaches. Dunning is 259-44, now in his ninth season on The Farm, and the all-time winningest coach in Pac-10 history by percentage (.855).

SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: Cal is 11-6 in Pac-10 play coming into the finale for head coach Rich Feller. The Bears had their six-match win streak snapped at Arizona on Nov. 22, falling to the Wildcats in four sets. Cal is led by senior outside hitter Hana Cutura leads the team and the Pac-10 with 5.17 kills per set and 5.69 points per set. Her .315 hitting percentage also ranks in the top-10 in the conference. Junior setter Carli Lloyd has controlled the offense for Cal, tallying 11.28 assists per set, ranking fourth in the Pac-10, while senior Mindi Wiley leads the team wtih 1.06 blocks per set and is third with 2.40 kills per set. In conference matches, Cal leads the Pac-10 with a .271 hitting percentage and is third in blocks (2.77) and opponent hitting percentage (.196

THE SERIES WITH THE GOLDEN BEARS: The Cardinal holds a 60-7 all-time record against the Golden Bears, including 7-1 overall at home under head coach John Dunning. Stanford dropped its Pac-10 opener this season at Cal on Sept. 25 in a five-set thriller. Junior Alix Klineman led the team with 23 kills, while junior Cassidy Lichtman recorded a triple-double with 14 kills, 16 assists and 11 digs for the Cardinal. The Bears’ senior outside hitter Hana Cutura paced the team with 21 kills, eight digs and four blocks.

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