Stanford Swings Through The Northwest In Second Pac-10 Weekend

Sept. 29, 2008

Stanford, Calif. - UP NEXT: The Stanford women's volleyball team hits the road for the second weekend of Pac-10 play, taking on Washington State and No. 9 Washington in the Great Northwest. The Cardinal will look to pick up another win against the Cougars Friday night at 7 p.m. in Pullman, then heads to Bank of America Arena in Seattle on Sunday determined to repeat its exciting 2007 win on the Huskies' home court.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal is back in Maples next week, hosting Arizona on Friday night and Arizona State on Sunday afternoon. As part of homecoming weekend, alumni will receive $2 general admission Friday, and fans with a ticket stub from the homecoming football game (Stanford vs. Arizona) will be admitted free on Sunday.

LOOKING BACK: Stanford opened the Pac-10 season on the right note last week, posting sweeps over Oregon State and No. 11 Oregon. Senior Cynthia Barboza led the Cardinal for the weekend, recording two of the highest hitting percentages of her career (.462 and .545) and knocking down 28 kills in six sets.

CATCH THE CARDINAL: Sunday's match against Washington will be televised live on Fox Sports Bay Area, with coverage beginning at 12:30 pm. Fans can also catch both matches on KZSU radio (90.1 FM and online at Live stats for the Washington match will also be available on Gametracker.

BARBOZA HOT AGAIN: For the second straight weekend, senior outside hitter Cynthia Barboza was the fire behind the Cardinal offense. The Long Beach, Calif. native has hit above .450 in each of the last three matches, reaching a new season high each night. In the match against Oregon State, Barboza ripped a team-high 15 kills, and the next night against No. 11 Oregon, she turned in a season-high .545 clip with 13 kills on 22 swings. For the weekend, Barboza hit .500 (28-4-48) and turned in 4.67 kps and 2.00 dps. Nearly half of her kills (12) came in the clinching third sets.

THE STREAK IS ON: Stanford enters the weekend riding a season-long seven match win streak. The Cardinal, which swept 21 opponents last season, has shown signs of the same dominance this year. With at least 16 matches to play, Stanford has already swept nine opponents, including six of its last seven.

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. After the first month of her final 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.

1,000-1,000 CLUB: Cynthia Barboza will likely join an elite group of Pac-10 players this weekend, needing just three digs to reach 1,000 for her career. The senior posted the 1,000th kill of her career against Washington last October, and would be 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.

ACE CHASE: Cynthia Barboza became one of the ten most dangerous servers in Stanford history last week. The Cardinal senior dropped in her 104th career ace against Oregon State last Friday, tying her with all-time greats Kim Oden `86 and Cary Wendell `96 for 10th place on the program's career list.

UP THE CHARTS: Senior Foluke Akinradewo is steadily making her way up both the Stanford career kill and block charts. She moved up another spot to sixth place on the blocks list (462) last weekend and remains tenth on the kills list (1,421).

HITTING THE MARK: Two of the Pac-10's top four leaders in hitting percentage hail from The Farm - middle blockers Foluke Akinradewo (2nd, .435) and Janet Okogbaa (4th, .372). Akinradewo, who led the nation in hitting percentage last year, currently ranks seventh nationally. As a team, Stanford leads the Pac-10 with a .327 clip, stands second nationally and is one of only seven programs hitting above .300 for the year. The Cardinal's 2008 hitting percentage is currently the best in school history, 11 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 11-2 record, but by the list of opponents' hitting percentages. Of Stanford's 13 opponents, eight have hit below .200, with six not even able to hit .100. Saint Louis (.273) was the only club 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 nine times, above .400 three times and only Nebraska has held the squad below .250.

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 4.00 dps, and is carrying a career average (4.20) 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 five times during the regular season, with the next coming up on FSN Bay Area on Sunday. Stanford is ranked among the top programs in the nation in home attendance so far in 2008, and has helped set facility attendance records at each of its three road matches this season.

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 five double-doubles, and set new personal bests for kills (10), assists (31), aces (4), blocks (3) and hitting percentage (.533). Last weekend against the Oregon schools, Lichtman turned in 10 kills, 53 assists and 12 digs.

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. 6 this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. The Cardinal began the season at No. 2 in the poll, but dropped after losing two matches. Defending national champion Penn State continues to hold the top spot in the poll, five Pac-10 squads remain in the top-10 and, with the addition of Arizona this week, seven Pac-10 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 WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars went 10-22 last year and finished last in the Pac-10. The team won seven matches in the 2008 preseason, but was swept by the Arizona schools to start Pac-10 play. WSU is led by four hitters, all averaging more than two kills per set - junior Jackie Albright (2.52 kps), senior Emily Rooney (2.51 kps), senior Brittany Johnson (2.48 kps)and junior Cassie Robbins (2.29 kps). Junior libero Kelly Hyder, one of the conference's leaders in digs last season, returns to pace the Cougar defense (4.41 dps).

THE SERIES WITH THE COUGARS: Stanford is 42-3 (.933) all-time against Washington State and has won 13 of the 14 meetings in the John Dunning era. The 2002 Cardinal was the last to fall to WSU, dropping a match in Pullman. Stanford won both meetings between the two teams last year. On Oct. 11, the Cardinal blasted the Cougars, 30-23, 30-19, 30-22 at Maples Pavilion, using 16 kills by Alix Klineman to win its 17th-straight. On Nov. 9, the Cardinal repeated the effort in Pullman, downing WSU in three games behind Foluke Akinradewo's 12 kills.

SCOUTING WASHINGTON: Washington was Stanford's closest challenger for the Pac-10 title last year, posting a 27-4 record and a 15-3 mark in conference play. The Huskies were upset in the NCAA Second Round, but are back with a vengeance this season. Washington went 9-1 in the preseason, and won two five-set battles with the Arizona schools to start Pac-10 play. Three players - Jill Collymore, Becky Perry and Kindra Carlson - are all averaging more than three kills per set, and returning All-American Jessica Swarbrick leads the conference in hitting percentage (.475). Collymore already has 41 service aces, helping the Huskies be the best serving team in the conference. Setter Jenna Hagglund leads the conference with 12.10 aps, while All-American libero Tamari Miyashiro is turning in a respactable 4.00 dps.

THE SERIES WITH THE HUSKIES: Stanford is 41-9 (.820) all-time against the Huskies, but the recent meetings, especially in Seattle, have been all but lopsided. Six of the nine Cardinal losses have come since 2003, and prior to last season, Stanford had not won at Bank of America Arena since 2002. Washington upended Stanford on its home court in a five-game thriller last October, 30-24, 21-30, 24-30, 30-27, 15-10. The Cardinal got revenge, however, snapping a 39-match Husky home win streak with a 30-23, 24-30, 30-25, 21-30, 15-10 win. Klineman ripped 21 kills to lead the Cardinal to victory in that match.


MB - #16 Foluke Akinradewo
Notables: Defending AVCA National Player of the Year ... a three-time All-American ... beginning her fourth season in the starting lineup ... 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 (.442) ... ranked seventh nationally in hitting percentage, and also stands among the nation's top 25 in blocks per set ... one of Stanford's ten all-time kill and block leaders.

MB - #2 Janet Okogbaa
Notables: Beginning 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 fourth in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.372) ... matched a career-high with six blocks against Cal Poly two weeks ago.

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 104 service aces ... has hit above .450 in the last three matches, reaching a new season high each night.

OH - #10 Alix Klineman
Notables: The Volleyball Magazine National Freshman of the Year last season ... a 2007 second-team All-American ... led team offensively last season 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).

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 already 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 five double-doubles this year and has been 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.

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