Back Again: Stanford Readies For Third Straight Final Four

Dec. 15, 2008

FINAL FOUR BOUND!: After nearly four months of competition and four tough postseason rounds, just four of the 329 NCAA Division I women's volleyball teams remain. The Stanford Cardinal is one of those teams, and will head to Omaha, Neb. this week to make its third consecutive appearance in the Final Four. The second-seeded Cardinal takes on third-seeded Texas at 6 p.m. (CT) Thursday at the Qwest Center Omaha in the first of two national semifinals. No. 1 Penn State will meet No. 4 Nebraska in the second semifinal, which is set for 8 p.m. (CT). The winners will square off for the national title on Saturday at 7 p.m. (CT).

THE ROAD TO OMAHA: Stanford has made easy work of its first four NCAA Tournament opponents, sweeping all four without allowing anyone more than 21 points in a set. After routing America East Champion Albany at home in the opening round (25-9, 25-11, 25-21), Stanford rallied to sweep three consecutive ranked opponents. The Cardinal began the run against No. 24 Long Beach State in the second round at home (25-15, 25-21, 25-15), then headed to Colorado for the Fort Collins Regional. In the regional semifinal, the Cardinal cruised to a 25-14, 25-21, 25-21 victory over No. 11 Florida, then blew out No. 6 Hawai'i, 25-19, 25-9, 25-18. Senior Foluke Akinradewo was named the Fort Collins Regional MVP, while setter Cassidy Lichtman and outside hitter Alix Klineman also earned all-tournament honors.

CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch the Stanford matches this weekend live on KZSU radio (90.1 FM or online at The Cardinal's regional semifinal will be televised live on ESPNU at 6 p.m. (CT) Thursday evening, while the national title match will be live on ESPN2. Limited tickets for Stanford affiliates can be purchased by calling 1-800-STANFORD.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: This year marks the Cardinal's 28th-straight NCAA appearance. Stanford is one of only two schools to have appeared in every NCAA Tournament since the NCAA Championships began in 1981, with Penn State being the only other program to appear in all 28 events. Stanford has won more NCAA Championships (6), made more Final Four appearances (18), appeared in more national championship matches (13) and won more NCAA Tournament matches (91) than any program in the nation. The Cardinal will be appearing in the Final Four for the 18th time, and the sixth in its eight years under head coach John Dunning.

UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS: Stanford's success in the NCAA Tournament is simply unprecedented. To start, Stanford's six national titles are double the total of any other program. The program's 13 appearances in NCAA title matches are more than the combined total of any conference in the nation (including the combined total of the other nine Pac-10 teams). Stanford has also won 14 more NCAA Tournament matches than its next closest challenger, and is one of just three teams to have appeared in 10 or more Final Fours - Stanford (18), UCLA (11) and Nebraska (11).

PLAYING `TIL THE END: Since John Dunning took over as Stanford's head coach in 2001, the Cardinal has reached five of the seven NCAA title matches. Dunning has coached in eight national title matches (tied for the most of any coach in DI history) and led 10 teams to the Final Four.

30 WINS AGAIN: Stanford picked up its 30th win of the year against Hawai'i last Saturday, marking the program's 15th 30-win season. In its eight years under head coach John Dunning, Stanford has posted six 30-win seasons.

THE REGION'S BEST: Three Cardinal players were named to the All-Pacific Region Team last week, while head coach John Dunning was named the Pacific Region Coach of the Year. Senior middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo, senior outside hitter Cynthia Barboza and sophomore outside hitter Alix Klineman were listed among the top 14 players in the nation's most competitive region. All were repeat honorees, with Akinradewo earning her fourth award, Barboza earning her third and Klineman earning her second. Dunning earned a regional coaching award for the third time in his career.

DUNNING, AKINRADEWO RECLAIM PAC-10 AWARDS: For the second straight year, Stanford cleaned up the annual Pac-10 awards. Senior middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo repeated as the Pac-10 Player of the Year, joining UCLA's Daiva Tomkus (1988, 1989) and former Stanford standouts Kerri Walsh (1998, 1999) and Logan Tom (2001, 2002) as the only two-time recipients of the conference's highest honor. Head coach John Dunning repeated as Pac-10 Coach of the Year, just the third conference coach to ever win back-to-back awards. Akinradewo (4X honoree) joined sophomore Alix Klineman (2X) and senior Cynthia Barboza (3X) as repeat members of the 14-player All-Pac-10 Team. Sophomore Cassidy Lichtman received honorable mention.

PAC-10 THREE-PEAT!: Stanford earned its third conference championship in a row this year, establishing the most dominant title streak in nearly a decade. The Cardinal won six straight conference championships between 1994 and 1999, but other than that run, only UCLA has been able to win three straight titles (three between 1988 and 1990). Stanford has now won 12 Pac-10 titles, more than any school in the conference. The Cardinal has been either the conference champion or runner-up in 22 of the 23 seasons since the conference was organized in 1986.

FROM QWEST TO QWEST: On Aug. 26, 2005, Stanford's then-freshman class stepped onto the court to play its very first collegiate match. That match was played at the Qwest Center and Stanford faced none other than Penn State. In the match, Stanford was led by freshmen Cynthia Barboza (22 kills) and Foluke Akinradewo (16 kills), while Penn State was led by newcomers Nicole Fawcett (17 kills) and Christa Harmotto (14 kills). Stanford won a five-game thriller back then, and in four years, the teams have played all three meetings to five. If seeds hold, four years later, these same four players (now seniors) will finish their careers on the same court, against the same team, with much higher stakes. Notably, three of the Final Four participants, including Stanford, also started the 2008 season at Qwest, participating in the Runza/AVCA Showcase.

CLEAN SWEEP: Stanford swept two more opponents last week, besting its 21-sweep total from 2007 with 23 on the year. The team opened the conference season with six consecutive sweeps for the first time in school history this year, and finished with sweeps in 12 of 18 conference matches. The Cardinal opened the postseason with four consecutive sweeps for the first time since 1994, and reached the Final Four without losing a set for the first time since 1997.

PAC-10 POWER: For the first time in three years, only one Pac-10 team has earned a ticket to the Final Four, but the conference has no doubt exerted its dominance again this season. Six Pac-10 teams made this year's field, and all five seeded teams advanced to NCAA regionals. The Pac-10 has won five of the last seven NCAA titles and, including 2008, has sent six or more teams to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last nine years. The Final Four has included three Pac-10 teams three of the last five years and the last seven NCAA title matches have featured a team from the Pac-10.

CONTINUING THE TRADITION: During their four seasons on The Farm, Stanford's senior class has been instrumental in maintaining the Cardinal's tradition as a women's volleyball powerhouse. The foursome has helped lead the Cardinal to 118 victories, three consecutive Pac-10 titles and a trio of appearances in the Final Four. Combined, they have tallied 3,933 kills, 2,654 digs and 960 blocks. Of the more than 300 Division I senior classes this year, the group is one of four that has been to a national championship match and one of two that has been there twice.

EXPERIENCE ON THE HIGHEST STAGE: Stanford continues this year's NCAA Tournament as one of the most postseason-savvy teams in the nation, returning to the Final Four for the third year in a row. The Cardinal has been to the national title match the last two years, and Stanford's seniors have played in 18 postseason contests already. Of the approximately 4,000 NCAA Division I volleyball players this year, only 20 have taken the court in a national championship match, eight of which belong to the Cardinal. Only five current Division I players have played in two national championship matches thus far - Stanford's Foluke Akinradewo, Cynthia Barboza and Erin Waller along with Nebraska's Jordan Larson and Rachel Schwartz.

STANFORD VS. THE FIELD: The Cardinal has played two of the teams that made this year's Final Four, having split a pair of matches with Nebraska (L, 0-3) and Texas (W, 3-2) at the AVCA Showcase in August. Stanford was 14-3 against the original 64-team field.

BRINGING IT WHEN IT COUNTS: Many Stanford players have upped their production in the tournament, turning in increased averages for the postseason. Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo has bested her season averages with 3.58 kps and a .515 hitting percentage, while fellow middle blocker Janet Okogbaa has had a couple of incredible weekends (2.75 kps, 1.33 bps and a .538 hitting percentage). Setter Cassidy Lichtman (11.92 aps, 2.83 dps) also has come in well above her season averages. Sophomore outside hitter Alix Klineman, who is turning in 3.92 dps during the postseason, has showed signs of the postseason defensive surge she recorded last year. As a freshman, Klineman averaged 2.33 dps during the regular season, then ramped it up for the postseason with a 4.26 dps average over the final six matches.

FLYING IN FROM THE OUTSIDE: Stanford outside hitters Alix Klineman and Cynthia Barboza have once again been anchors on the outside for Stanford, consistently producing for the Cardinal. In all but four of Stanford's 33 matches, one of the two has reached double-figures. One of the two has had a double-double in 19 of those 33 matches. Together the duo combines for more than 7.00 kps and well over 5.00 dps.

DIGGING DEEP: Stanford libero Gabi Ailes has been hot recently, having turned in three 20-dig performances in the last four matches of the regular season. On Nov. 21, Ailes turned in 24 digs in a win over USC and, a day later, she came back with the eighth-best defensive performance in school history (28 digs). At Oregon State in the regular-season finale, Ailes continued the exceptional streak with 24 digs, a career high for a three-set match. The sophomore has recorded at least 10 digs in 12 of the last 15 contests.

BACK ROW RECORDS: Sophomore Gabi Ailes set a new school single-season dig record last year (533), and was also the first player in school history to turn in more than four digs per game (4.26). This year, even with the new scoring format, Ailes is turning in impressive dig numbers. Ranked sixth in the Pac-10, the sophomore is just under the school-record pace she accomplished last year with 4.15 dps. She is also carrying a career average (4.21) better than any player in program history. For the second straight year, Ailes has climbed onto the school's single-season top 10 chart, and currently stands fourth with 457. The Bellevue, Neb. native is now within two digs of taking over third place, and 10 digs of reaching 1,000 for her career.

CATCHING ON QUICKLY: Sophomore Cassidy Lichtman has wasted no time transitioning into her new role as a setter. Primarily a defensive specialist and opposite hitter last year, Lichtman trained in the offseason to take on setting duties. So far, Lichtman has been named to the all-tournament team at two preseason tournaments (including the prestigious AVCA Showcase), earned All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention, been named to the Fort Collins Regional All-Tournament Team, recorded 10 double-doubles and set new personal bests in every statistical category. As the exclusive setter in nine of the last 10 matches, she has averaged 12.71 aps, a figure that is better than the average of any player in the Pac-10. On Nov. 22 against UCLA, Lichtman recorded a career-high 67 assists, and last Saturday against Hawai'i she posted a career-high seven blocks.

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. Now in the final stretch of her last collegiate season, Akinradewo is hitting .447 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.

THE TOUGH ROAD: Stanford boasts a solid 30-3 record, but the feat is even more impressive considering the road the Cardinal took to get there. Stanford has already played six of its fellow nine top-10 teams, and leads the nation with nine wins over the current top-10 (Cal, Penn State and Washington are second with five apiece). Seventeen of Stanford's matches have been against teams that are currently in the top-25, and 21 have been against teams that made the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

THE 1,500 TWINS: Stanford seniors Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo have both nabbed their 1,500th career kills this season, the only two active players in the Pac-10 to have reached the milestone. Only eight players in Stanford history and 35 players in Pac-10 history had accomplished the feat prior to this season. Akinradewo picked up her 1,500th against Washington on Oct. 31 and Barboza earned hers at Arizona on Nov. 8.

DOUBLE-FIGURE FIGURES: Senior Cynthia Barboza has been on a hot streak recently, posting double-figure kills in 19 of the last 23 matches. Fellow senior Foluke Akinradewo has also stepped up her production over the last few weeks. After hitting double digits just four times in the first 16 matches, she has had at least 10 kills in 15 of the last 17.

THE WALL AT THE NET: Senior Foluke Akinradewo is having the best blocking year of her career (1.46 bps) and currently stands third on the Cardinal career list (557). The senior leads the Pac-10 in blocking and is fifth nationally in the category. The conference's active career block leader as well, she recorded one of the best single-match blocking performances in school history against Arizona State (12) on Oct. 12. On Saturday, she became one of the top-10 blockers in Pac-10 history, taking over 10th place on the all-time chart.

WATCH OUT FOR WALLER: Senior opposite Erin Waller may not lead the Cardinal in kills, but look for her to step up when it counts. All of Waller's best career matches have come late in the NCAA Tournament. In 2006, she crushed a then-career-high 18 kills against Nebraska in the NCAA championship match. In 2007, she bested the effort with 19 kills in the regional title match against UCLA. In last year's regional semifinal, Waller added 12 kills in three sets and posted one of the top-five hitting percentages in the school's NCAA Tournament history against Cal Poly (.733). Against Hawai'i on Saturday, Waller had eight kills on nine swings (.889), and hit .600 (12-0-20) for the regional weekend.

PASSING THE GREATS: Foluke Akinradewo and Cynthia Barboza, the Pac-10's two active kill leaders, each now have more kills in their four-year careers than three-time Olympian and two-time beach gold medalist Kerri Walsh. Akinradewo overtook Walsh on Nov. 14 at Cal, while Barboza passed her on Nov. 26 against Oregon.

ON THE BOARD: Cynthia Barboza jumped onto two exclusive career lists against Washington on Oct. 31, joining the school's all-time career kill and dig leaders on the same night. Already one of the ten most dangerous servers in Stanford history with 113 career aces, Barboza is one of only four players (others are Kristin Richards `07, Kristin Klein `92 and Logan Tom `03) with a spot on all three of those career lists.

IN THE CLUB: Senior Cynthia Barboza joined an elite group of Pac-10 players in October, 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.

THE STREAK IS ON: Stanford enters regionals riding a season-long 15-match win streak. The team's 11-match streak to end the regular season was its longest season-ending run since 2001, when Stanford won its last 13 regular-season matches before racing through the NCAA Tournament and upending previously undefeated Long Beach State for the NCAA title.

HITTING THE MARK: Two of the Pac-10's top three leaders in hitting percentage, including leader Foluke Akinradewo, hail from The Farm. Akinradewo paces the conference and is third in the nation with a .462 clip, while fellow middle blocker Janet Okogbaa joins Washington's Jessica Swarbrick and Akinradewo as the conference's only players to break .400 (.403). As a team, Stanford leads the Pac-10 with a .321 clip, stands third nationally and is one of only three programs hitting above .300 for the year (Penn State and Texas are the others). The Cardinal's 2008 hitting percentage is currently the best in school history, five 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 30-3 record, but by the list of opponents' hitting percentages. Of Stanford's 33 opponents, 23 have hit below .200, with nine not even able to hit .100. Only four teams have hit more than .250 against the Cardinal this year (Saint Louis, Cal, UCLA and Oregon), and no one has been able to reach .300. By contrast, Stanford has hit above .300 25 times, above .400 five 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 22 of its 27 matches, and held 21 opponents below .200 hitting.

THE ACADEMIC AWARDS ROLL IN: Senior Cynthia Barboza continues to rack up academic awards this season, and was most recently named the Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for volleyball. The Cardinal outside hitter was also recognized as one of the top six players in the nation for her efforts both on the court and in the classroom on Nov. 25, earning first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors. The Long Beach, Calif. native, who was a second-team honoree last year, joined third-team honoree Jill Collymore of Washington as the only two Academic All-Americans from the Pac-10. She was one of four returning AVCA All-Americans honored, and joined Penn State's Christa Harmotto as the only players to earn a spot on the first team for both awards. Barboza is just the third player in school history to earn multiple Academic All-America honors, joining Ogonna Nnamani (2002, 2003, 2004) and Kristin Folkl (1996, 1997).

NINE EARN PAC-10 ACADEMIC AWARDS: Led by second-team selections Joanna Evans and Janet Okogbaa, nine Cardinal women's volleyball players were honored with Pac-10 academic awards this year. Seniors Cynthia Barboza, Jessica Fishburn and Erin Waller were recognized for the third straight year, bringing the school's total to 15 players honored all three years of eligibility. Fellow senior Foluke Akinradewo was selected for the second time in her career, while sophomores Gabi Ailes, Alix Klineman and Cassidy Lichtman were recognized for the first time.

QUEEN OF THE COURT: Stanford's Foluke Akinradewo continues 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.

OMAHA ROOTS: Hailing from Bellevue West High School just south of Omaha, sophomore libero Gabi Ailes was the 2006 Gatorade State Player of the Year in Nebraska and led her team to four consecutive state titles. She appeared back in front of her hometown crowd for the first time at the AVCA Showcase last August.

ALL-AMERICAN FIREPOWER: Stanford boasts an arsenal of All-American hitters this season - 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. This year, the threesome is contributing 10.21 kps 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. Between the 11 veterans, the 2008 Cardinal boasts 12 prior years in the starting lineup and more than 5,000 kills. The veterans have already contributed to 118 Cardinal wins, three conference titles and three Final Four appearances.

NATIONAL POLL: Stanford stands at No. 2 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, the same slot it held preseason and every week since Nov. 3. Defending national champion Penn State continues to hold the top spot in the poll, having been No. 1 since the start of the year. Six Pac-10 squads are in the top 25, with five making the top 10.

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.

SCOUTING TEXAS: Texas (27-3), the Co-Big 12 Champion for the second straight year, makes its first trip to the Final Four since 1995. The Longhorns are led by All-Americans Lauren Paolini, Destinee Hooker and Juliann Faucette, who were each All-Big 12 picks this year along with junior opposite Ashley Engle. Hooker carries the team and ranks among the top 40 in the nation with 4.08 kps, and Engle is second with 2.93 kps. Of the Longhorns' five hitters, all but Faucette are hitting over .300 and the team ranks second in the nation with a .336 hitting percentage. The Longhorns are 6-2 against ranked teams this season, and have suffered losses coming at the hands of Stanford, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Texas is 1-2 against the Final Four field, with a win over Nebraska on Nov. 19.

THE SERIES WITH THE LONGHORNS: Stanford has won 14 of the 20 matches it has played against Texas all-time. In August, the teams met in Omaha, and Stanford won a five-set battle as part of the AVCA Showcase (25-17,25-19,25-27,20-25,15-10), marking the fourth consecutive Cardinal victory in the series. Texas last topped Stanford early in the 1999 season, claiming a 3-1 victory in Austin. Stanford carries a 4-2 advantage in the postseason and has won the last two NCAA Tournament meetings. The last time the teams met in the postseason was a 2006 regional final, when Stanford claimed a 3-1 victory in Austin to secure a Final Four berth.

SCOUTING PENN STATE: Penn State has had one of the most incredible seasons in NCAA volleyball history this year, going 36-0 without losing a single set. The Nittany Lions are led by 2007 first-team All-Americans Megan Hodge, Christa Harmotto and Nicole Fawcett, along with second-team All-American setter Alisha Glass. Hodge leads the team with 4.03 kps and Fawcett, the Big 10 Player of the Year, is close behind at 3.75 kps. Harmotto is carrying a .498 hitting percentage with one of the top-three blocking averages in the nation (1.49 bps). The player with the lowest Penn State hitting percentage (Hodge) is hitting .349, and the Nittany Lions pace the nation with a .403 season clip. Penn State is 12-0 against ranked teams this year, but has not faced any of its fellow Final Four qualifers.

THE SERIES WITH THE NITTANY LIONS: The Cardinal-Nittany Lion series can be described as nothing but dramatic. Going into this weekend, the teams are locked at five wins apiece. Last season, Stanford won a five-game battle with the Nittany Lions in New Haven, Conn. early in the year, but dropped a five-game thriller in last year's national title match. Stanford first met Penn State in the 1992 regionals, when it knocked the squad out on its way to its first NCAA Championship. In 1997, Penn State handed Stanford its only two losses of the regular season, but the Cardinal prevailed when it counted, winning a five-game thriller for the 1997 NCAA Championship. Two years later, the Nittany Lions got payback, beating the Cardinal in the 1999 NCAA title match. The teams have met four times in the preseason since, with Stanford winning in 2001 and 2007 and the teams exchanging five-game victories in 2004 and 2005. Notably, nine of the 10 meetings with Penn State have occurred in years in which one of the two teams won the NCAA title. Stanford is not only the last team to beat the Nittany Lions (9/15/07) but the last team to take a set from them (12/15/07).

SCOUTING NEBRASKA: Nebraska (31-2) claimed a share of the Big 12 title this season and returns to the Final Four for the third time in four years. The Huskers, who lost four of their five All-Americans this year, have had much success with a young group of players. The squad has lost just two matches - to Colorado and Texas - and gone 7-1 against ranked opponents. Senior outside hitter Jordan Larson is the lone returning All-American, and averages 3.95 kps to pace the team. Sophomore outside hitter Tara Mueller has stepped up with 3.53 kps in her first year in the starting lineup, while Sydney Anderson, a transfer setter from Utah, averages 11.66 aps (7th in the nation). Larson was both the Big 12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and joined Anderson, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, along with Mueller and injured Kori Cooper on the All-Big 12 First Team. The Huskers are 2-1 against the Final Four field, with impressive wins coming over Stanford (8/29) and Texas (9/20).

THE SERIES WITH THE HUSKERS: Stanford and Nebraska have met 11 times prior to this week, and four of those meetings have come in the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska holds a 6-5 advantage in the contests, and has won the three most recent showdowns. Nebraska swept the Cardinal in the season-opener in Omaha this year (25-17, 25-19, 26-24). The teams last met in the postseason in the 2006 NCAA title match at the Qwest Center, where Nebraska topped Stanford, 3-1, to claim its second NCAA title. Stanford last defeated Nebraska in the 2001 national semifinal in San Diego, where the Cardinal went on to win its fifth national title.

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