Oct. 2 - Pauley Pavilion - Los Angeles, Calif. -Pac-12 Networks
Oct. 4 - Galen Center - Los Angeles, Calif. -Pac-12 Networks
THIS WEEK: The seventh-ranked Stanford women’s volleyball team (9-2, 2-0 Pac-12) travels to Los Angeles this week to take on No. 16 UCLA (9-3, 0-2 Pac-12) on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion and No. 2 USC (12-1, 2-0 Pac-12) on Friday, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. at the Galen Center.
SCOUTING UCLA: UCLA is 9-3 overall, but opened Pac-12 play with a four-set loss at then-No. 4 USC and a five-set loss at Colorado last week. The Bruins are hitting .271 as a team, good for sixth in the conference. Junior outside hitter Karsta Lowe leads the team with 4.04 kills per set, ranking fifth in the Pac-12, while hitting .350 on the year. Senior middle blocker Mariana Aquino is sixth in the conference with a .415 attack percentage and leads UCLA with 1.13 blocks per set. Senior outside hitter Kelly Reeves adds 2.78 kills and 2.96 digs per set.
THE SERIES WITH THE BRUINS: Stanford leads UCLA in the all-time series 43-35 (.551). Last season, the Cardinal swepts the season series, defeating the Bruins in a five-set thriller in Maples Pavilion (25-23, 19-25, 28-26, 17-25, 16-14) and spoiling UCLA’s opening of the new Pauley Pavilion with a four-set (25-22, 25-18, 15-25, 27-25) to clinch the Pac-12 title.
SCOUTING USC: USC isn 12-1 on the season and 2-0 to start Pac-12 play. It’s lone loss of the year came at then-No. 9 San Diego on Sept. 13. As a team, the Trojans are hitting .285 and rank second in the Pac-12 with 1.53 aces per set. Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio is averaging 3.20 kills per set and leads the Pac-12 with 0.73 aces per set. Senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard is fourth in the conference with a .418 hitting percentage and ninth with 1.16 blocks per set. Junior Hayley Crone (6.00 aps) and freshman Alice Pizzasegola (5.40) split time at setter for USC, while senior libero Natalie Hagglund holds down the defense with 4.69 digs per set (2nd Pac-12).
THE SERIES WITH THE TROJANS: The Cardinal holds a 57-21 (.731) advantage in the all-time series against the Trojans. The team’s split the two matches last season as each squad protected its home court. Stanford’s four-set loss at the Galen Center on Nov. 15 was its only Pac-12 loss in 2012.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal will return to The Farm to play host to Utah on Friday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. and Colorado on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch both matches live on the Pac-12 Network. KZSU radio will be broadcasting the matches at 90.1 FM or online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/. Live stats for the match will be accessible on GoStanford.com.
SOCIAL NETWORKING: Fans will have access to unique behind-the-scenes content on the team this season by liking Stanford Women’s Volleyball on Facebook or following the team on Twitter and Instagram (@StanfordWVB). Instagram will house the Cardinal’s off the court photos and videos all season long.
LAST WEEK: Stanford opened Pac-12 play with a four-set win at rival California (9/25) and a sweep at home over then-No. 16 Arizona State (9/27). Senior Carly Wopat led the Cardinal with a .386 attack percentage, averaging 3.00 kills, 4.29 points and 1.71 blocks per set. Junior libero Kyle Gilbert paced the defense, racking up 41 digs in the two matches (5.86 dps).
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS: Stanford has three returning All-Americans on its roster this season. Senior Carly Wopat, a two-time honoree, was a first team selection by the AVCA and Volleyball Magazine, while sophomore Inky Ajanaku was an honorable mention pick by the AVCA in 2012. Senior outside hitter Rachel Williams was an AVCA honorable mention selection in 2011. In total, the Cardinal has produced 31 All-Americans who have collected 70 total awards.
NATIONAL POLL: Stanford remained at No. 7 this week in the AVCA top 25. Washington nabbed the top spot in this week’s poll, while USC, Florida, Texas and Penn State round out the top 5. Six Pac-12 squads are ranked in the top 25, while California is receiving votes.
SPREAD OFFENSE: Stanford setter Madi Bugg has controlled the offense this season, ranking second in the Pac-12 and 10th in the nation with 11.62 assists per set, spreading the love amongst her teammates in the process. Five Cardinal players are averaging at least 2.00 kills per set - Carly Wopat (3.11), Rachel Williams (3.11), Brittany Howard (2.97), Jordan Burgess (2.30) and Inky Ajanaku (2.18).
CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Senior Carly Wopat already ranks among the top 10 in school history with 508 career blocks. Last week she moved from sixth to fourth on the Cardinal’s career charts, passing former All-American Kerri Walsh (‘00) and Laura Olesen (‘90). Her 1.37 career blocks per set average would be third in school history in between Bev Oden (‘93) and Kim Oden (‘86).
SENIOR STATEMENT: Senior outside hitter Rachel Williams is one of the Cardinal leaders this season with 3.11 kills per set. She posted double-doubles in three consecutive matches (vs. Pacific, Florida & Texas) and leads the team with five overall. Her 21 kills against then-No. 8 Florida are a season-high and tied for the fourth-most kills by a Pac-12 player in a four-set match this season.
DOMINANT DEFENSE: Junior libero Kyle Gilbert has led the defensive side of the ball for the Cardinal this season and ranks third on the Pac-12 charts with 4.69 digs per set. She collected a season-high 29 digs at California (9/25), leading all players. Gilbert is averaging 3.77 digs per set for her career, ranking second in program history.
LEADING THE CONFERENCE: Senior middle blocker Carly Wopat leads the Pac-12 and ranks fourth in the nation with a .485 hitting percentage this season. Sophomore Inky Ajanaku is third in the conference with a .423 attack percentage, and 16th in the nation. The pair also rank in the top 10 in the Pac-12 in blocks per set with Wopat (1.43) ranking third and Ajanaku (1.42) fourth.
HEAD COACH JOHN DUNNING: Now in his 13th 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 teams to nine Final Fours and carried six of his 12 Stanford teams to the national championship match.
MILESTONE FOR DUNNING: John Dunning secured his 700th career win during the 2010 season and will likely capture win No. 800 during 2013. In 29 years as a head coach, he is 787-165 (.827), giving him a winning percentage that ranks amongst the top-5 all-time for Division I coaches. Dunning is 350-63 in his 13 seasons on The Farm, leading all active coaches in the conference by winning percentage (.847).