THIS WEEK: The No. 8 Stanford women’s volleyball team (2-2) will play in the Service Academy Challenge, Sept. 12-13. The Cardinal will face Air Force (1-5), Yale (2-1) and Army (2-5) inside the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: According to security procedures from the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, there will not be any live coverage of this week’s matches played in the Pentagon including live stats, Twitter, photos, etc. Visit the women’s volleyball page on GoStanford.com for post-match stats and recap.
SCOUTING AIR FORCE: Air Force has opened the season with a 1-5 record with its lone victory coming against Long Beach State (3-2). Akokwe Clement leads the team with 3.09 kills per set to go with 1.96 digs per set. Setter Hillary Keltner is controlling the offense with 9.29 assists per set and leads the squad with 4.17 digs per set.
THE SERIES WITH THE FALCONS: Thursdays match against Air Force will mark the first meeting between the two programs.
SCOUTING YALE: The Bulldogs have begun their 2013 campaign with a 2-1 record, notchin wins over Colgate (3-0) and Seton Hall (3-2). Mollie Rogers leads Yale with 3.42 kills per set, while Kelly Johnson paces the team with a .377 hitting percentage. Maddie Rudnik has led the defense with 5.17 digs per set.
THE SERIES WITH THE BULLDOGS: Stanford and Yale will be squaring off for just the second time. The Cardinal and Bulldogs first met on Sept. 15, 2007 at the Yale Classic, where Stanford won 3-0.
SCOUTING ARMY: Army has opened the season with a 2-5 record, recording wins over Marist and Rhode Island. Olivia Fairfield and Margaux Jarka are leading the Black Knights with 3.00 and 2.86 kills per set, respectively. Mary Vaccaro’s 10.04 assists per set controls the offense, while D.J. Phee’s 5.14 digs per set paces the defense.
THE SERIES WITH THE BLACK KNIGHTS: Friday’s match against Army will be the first meeting between the two programs.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal returns to The Farm next week to play host to Cal Poly on Wednesday, Sept. 18 and Saint Mary’s on Friday, Sept. 20. It will be Stanford’s final tune-up before Pac-12 Conference action begins on Sept. 25.
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.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS: Stanford returns a pair of All-America middle blockers in 2013. Senior Carly Wopat was a first team selection by the AVCA and Volleyball Magazine, while sophomore Inky Ajanaku was an honorable mention pick by the AVCA. This season, the pair rank in the top-10 in the conference in hitting percentage (Wopat- .439; Ajanaku-.419), while Wopat’s 1.29 blocks per set is tied for fifth in the Pac-12.
NATIONAL POLL: Stanford dropped to No. 8 this week in the AVCA top 25 after falling to then-No. 8 Florida and then-No. 6 Texas at the Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic last weekend. USC claimed the top spot in this week’s poll, while Texas, Penn State, Minnesota and Florida round out the top 5. Six Pac-12 squads are ranked in the Top 25, while Arizona State is receiving votes.
SPREAD OFFENSE: Stanford setter Madi Bugg has controlled the offense this season, leading the Pac-12 with 12.57 assists per set, and she has spread the love among her teammates. Four Cardinal players are averaging at least 2.50 kills per set - Rachel Williams (3.57), Brittany Howard (3.50), Carly Wopat (3.00) and Inky Ajanaku (2.50).
CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Senior Carly Wopat already ranks among the top 10 in school history with 476 career blocks. She needs just three more to pass Jenn Harvey (‘03) for sixth all-time. Her 1.36 career blocks per set average is tied for third in school history with Kim Oden (‘85).
SENIOR STATEMENT: Senior outside hitter Rachel Williams is leading the Cardinal this season with 3.57 kills per set, ranking ninth in the conference. She has posted a double-double in three straight matches, pacing the Pac-12. Her 21 kills against then-No. 8 Florida are a season-high and tied for the second-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 tops the Pac-12 charts with 5.29 digs per set. She collected a season-high 24 digs in the loss at then-No. 6 Texas, leading all players. Gilbert is averaging 3.73 digs per set for her career, ranking second in program history.
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 780-165 (.825), giving him a winning percentage that ranks amongst the top-5 all-time for Division I coaches. Dunning is 343-63 in his 13 seasons on The Farm, leading all active coaches in the conference by winning percentage (.845).