Oct. 30, 2012
THIS WEEK: The top-ranked Stanford women’s volleyball team (20-2, 12-0 Pac-12) hits the road to take on Oregon State (13-11, 3-9 Pac-12) and No. 2 Oregon (20-1, 11-1 Pac-12). The Cardinal will square off with the Beavers on Friday, Nov. 2 in Corvallis, Ore., and the Ducks on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. in Eugune, Ore.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal return to The Farm next week for two mid-week matches against Washington State and No. 8 Washington. Stanford faces the Cougars on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. and the Huskies on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch Friday’s match online at Pac-12.com. Sunday’s match will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks. KZSU radio will also be broadcasting both matches at 90.1 FM or online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/.
SOCIAL NETWORKING: Become a fan of the Cardinal on Facebook by searching for the “Stanford Women’s Volleyball” page. Follow the Cardinal on Twitter @StanfordWVB to get updates on the team this season. Both sites will be updated live during matches this year and will feature unique content on the team.
No. 1 RANKING: With former No. 1 Penn State falling to Nebraska last week, the Cardinal took over the top spot for the first time this season. Stanford’s No. 1 ranking in the coaches’ poll is the 52nd time in school history, the fourth-best mark in the nation behind Nebraska, Penn State and UCLA. The last time Stanford held the top spot in the poll was during the 2010 season. The Cardinal was ranked No. 1 from Sept. 13 through Oct. 10.
20-WIN SEASONS: Stanford has reached the 20-win plateau in each of head coach John Dunning’s 12 seasons on The Farm. It is the longest such streak in program history dating back to 1976.
The Cardinal has won 18 straight matches, dating back to a four-set win over then-No. 18 Florida on Sept. 1. It marks the longest winning streak since the 2001 season, when Stanford won 19 in a row on its way to the NCAA title in head coach John Dunning’s first season with the Cardinal.
HOT START: Stanford is 12-0 overall in the Pac-12, its best start in confernce play dating back to the 1998 season under head coach Don Shaw. That year, the Cardinal, playing in an 18-match conference season, won its first 17 Pac-10 matches before falling at USC in the conference finale.
FINDING A WAY: The 2012 squad has found a way to grind it out and win tough matches, especially in the month of October. Four of Stanford’s matches went to five sets, including against Oregon, UCLA and Washington, and the Cardinal found a way to come out on top of all of them. Overall, Stanford is 4-1 in five-set matches this season, compared to 1-3 in five-set matches in 2011.
RPI: The Cardinal remained at No. 1 in the latest RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) poll this week, its fourth straight week in that spot. Oregon is No. 6, while Oregon State comes in at No. 43.
NATIONAL POLL: Stanford took over the top spot in the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Top 25 this week. The Cardinal extended its winning streak to 18 with victories over visiting Arizona and Arizona State last week. Oregon moved up a spot, while Penn State, Nebraska and UCLA round out the top-5. Five Pac-12 squads are ranked in the Top 10 this week.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS: Juniors Rachel Williams and Carly Wopat both secured AVCA All-America honorable mention honors in 2011. Wopat was also a Volleyball Magazine First Team All-American as a sophomore. The pair combined to produce 54 percent of the team’s kills, 50 percent of the team’s points and 75 percent of the team’s blocks in 2011.
TOP-RANKED FRESHMAN CLASS: Stanford’s class of 2016 has been tabbed the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com. It includes Inky Ajanaku (Tulsa, Okla.), Madi Bugg (Apex, N.C.), Jordan Burgess (Fort Myers, Fla.), Brittany Howard (Los Altos, Calif.) and Megan McGehee (Lee’s Summit, Mo.). All five players were high school All-Americans and ranked among the Top 15 on PrepVolleyball’s Senior Aces list.
SHARING THE WEALTH: Four different Stanford players are averaging at least 2.00 kills per set this season. Junior Carly Wopat leads the team with 2.90 kills per set, while freshman Jordan Burgess is posting 2.87 kills per set. Rookies Inky Ajanaku and Brittany Howard are also averaging more than 2.00 kill per set.
CONFERENCE LEADERS: As a team, Stanford ranks among the top-5 in the conference in digs (1st), kills (5th), assists (5th), blocks (3rd) and hitting percentage (4th). Individually, freshman Inky Ajanaku leads the Pac-12 in hitting percentage (.393). Junior Carly Wopat is second in hitting percentage (.386) and third in blocks (1.49), while freshman Madi Bugg is ninth in assists (8.15). Sophomore libero Kyle Gilbert ranks sixth in digs (4.10).
AJANAKU HONORED AGAIN: Freshman middle blocker Inky Ajanaku nabbed her second Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors on Oct. 29. She is the first Cardinal player to earn the award multiple times this season. She averaged 3.14 kills, 3.71 points and 1.14 blocks per set, while hitting .541 against the Arizona schools.
WOPAT HONORED: Middle blocker Carly Wopat nabbed Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 22. The junior averaged 3.10 kills, 3.75 points and 0.90 blocks per set, while hitting .422 at then-No. 5 Washington and Washington State. Both matches were five-set wins and the Cardinal handed the Huskies their first home loss of the year.
AJANAKU AND GILBERT HONORED: Stanford middle blocker Inky Ajanaku and libero Kyle Gilbert were named the Pac-12 Freshman and Defensive Players of the Week on Oct. 15. Ajanaku led the team against the Los Angeles schools with a .458 attack percentage and averaged 3.62 kills, 1.62 blocks and 4.44 points per set, including a career high 17 kills against UCLA. Gilbert averaged 5.88 digs per set against USC and UCLA, tallying a career-best 25 digs against the Bruins.
BURGESS HONORED: Stanford freshman Jordan Burgess was selected as the Pac-12 Freshman and Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 24 after her efforts against Cal and Utah. The outside hitter averaged 4.57 kills, 4.29 digs, 0.86 blocks and 5.07 points per set. She finished with double-doubles and a career high of 16 kills in both matches.
BUGG HONORED: Rookie setter Madi Bugg was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Sept. 10, marking the first Cardinal player to receive the honor in program history. Bugg helped lead the team to a 3-0 record in the Stanford Invitational, averaging 11.40 assists, 3.20 digs and 1.20 blocks per set.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Several recent Stanford women’s volleyball alums have continued their careers overseas. Here is a breakdown of their current affiliations:
Foluke Akinradewo - Rabita Baku (Azerbaijan)
Cynthia Barboza - Ufimochka Ufa (Russia)
Alix Klineman - Scavolini Pesaro (Italy)
Cassidy Lichtman - BKS Aluprof Bielsko-Biala (Poland)
Logan Tom - Rio de Janeiro/Unilever/SKY (Brazil)
SPECIAL GUEST: Three-time Olympic gold medalist and Stanford alum Kerri Walsh Jennings was in attendance as the Cardinal defeated UCLA in a come-from-behind win in five sets at Maples Pavilion. Walsh Jennings is coming off her unprecedented third gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London with beach partner Misty May-Treanor.
STANFORD INVITATIONAL RECAP: The Cardinal claimed the 2012 Stanford Invitational championship, going 3-0 in the tournament at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal swept Santa Clara and Pacific, and defeated Loyola (Chi.) in four sets. Junior Carly Wopat led the team offensively, hitting .513 and averaging 4.92 points, 3.67 kills and 1.50 blocks per set. She was named the tournament’s MVP, while sophomore libero Kyle Gilbert and freshman setter Madi Bugg were selected to the all-tournament team.
NIKE BIG FOUR CLASSIC: Stanford finished 1-1 in the third annual Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic in State College, Pa. The Cardinal dropped a five-set match to then-No. 4 Penn State at Rec Hall, but bounced back to top No. 18 Florida in four sets. Junior Carly Wopat and sophomore Morgan Boukather were selected to the All-Tournament team.
ROOKIE DEBUTS: All five of Stanford’s freshmen made their collegiate debuts in the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational. Outside hitter Jordan Burgess recorded two double-doubles (vs. Albany and against Hawaii) and led the Cardinal in kills (30) and digs (28). Outside hitter Brittany Howard tallied the second-most kills at the tournament (25), while middle blocker Inky Ajanaku registered 18 kills and six blocks.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Stanford women’s volleyball program has won more NCAA titles (6), won more NCAA Tournament matches (98), made more Final Four appearances (18), and been in the national championship match (14) more times than any other program in the nation. The Cardinal has captured 17 conference championships and produced 30 or more wins on 15 occasions. It is one of just two programs in the country to have appeared in all 31 NCAA Tournaments, having won all 31 of its first-round matches.
PAC-12 COACHES’ POLL: Stanford was chosen by the league’s coaches to finish second in the Pac-12 Conference. The Cardinal garnered 109 points and two first-place votes in the preseason poll. Defending national champion UCLA was picked to win the conference title, earning 10 first-place votes. 2012 Final Four participant USC was selected third, while Oregon and Washington round out the Top 5. Seven conference teams advanced to the postseason in 2011, while the Pac-12 has won six of the last 11 NCAA titles. The coaches have correctly chosen the conference champion in 15 of the previous 23 polls.
2011 IN REVIEW: In 2011, Stanford posted a 22-8 overall record and appeared in its 31st straight NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal defeated six ranked opponents and won nine matches by 3-0 margins. Rachel Williams and Carly Wopat were selected to the All-Pac-12 team, while Karissa Cook was an honorable mention pick. Redshirt freshman Lydia Bai was named to the All-Freshman team.
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 slated to play 13 regular-season matches against teams ranked in the preseason poll, and 16 against teams that made appearances in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
PAC-12 NETWORKS: The launch of the Pac-12 television networks on August 15, 2012 marked the beginning of a new era for the Conference of Champions. Among the televised events will be 82 Pac-12 women’s volleyball matches. Stanford will take part in 15 of those broadcasts, starting with an exhibition match against Jiangsu, a team from China, on Sept. 5. The Pac-12 Networks will consist of one national and six regional networks devoted solely to the Pac-12 Conference.
HEAD COACH John Dunning: In his 12th 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 11 Stanford teams to the national championship match.
MILESTONE FOR DUNNING: In 2010, Dunning secured his 700th career win. In 27 years as a head coach, he is 768-161 (.827), giving him a winning percentage that ranks amongst the top-5 all-time for Division I coaches. Dunning is 331-59 in his 12 seasons on The Farm, leading all active coaches in the conference by winning percentage (.849).
HALL OF FAMER: Head coach John Dunning was one of three inductees who were selected to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Hall of Fame class of 2011. He, along with Liz Masakayan and Gerald `Gerry’ Matacotta, were honored at the 2011 Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.
SCOUTING OREGON STATE: OSU enters the week with a 13-11 overall record and tied for 10th in the Pac-12 (3-9). The Beavers dropped both of their matches in four sets on the road last week at Utah and Colorado. OSU is led by senior outside hitter Camille Saxton’s 3.69 kills and 4.31 points per set (10th in Pac-12). Sophomore Arica Nassar adds 2.22 kills and 1.15 blocks per set. Senior Megan McBride and sophomore Tayla Woods split time at setter, averaging 7.05 and 5.90 assists per set, respectively. Junior libero Becky Defoe leads the Pac-12 with 5.06 digs per set.
THE SERIES WITH THE BEAVERS: Stanford is a perfect 55-0 all-time against Oregon State. Earlier this season, the Cardinal swept the Beavers at Maples Pavilion, holding OSU to a .041 attack percentage. Freshman Inky Ajanaku led the team with 10 kills and a .562 hitting percentage, while sophomore libero Kyle Gilbert tallied 20 digs.
SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks are ranked second in the nation with their one loss on the season coming at the hands of the Cardinal. Oregon leads the country in kills (15.77) and assists (14.77), and ranks second in the Pac-12 with a .294 hitting percentage. Since falling to Stanford on Oct. 5, Oregon has won five of its last six matches by 3-0 margins. Senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma leads the Pac-12 with 5.10 points per set and ranks second with 4.56 kills per set. Sophomore Liz Brenner adds 3.78 kills (10th in Pac-12) and 2.15 digs per set. Junior setter Lauren Plum leads the nation with 12.99 assists per set, while senior libero Haley Jacob is fourth in the Pac-12 with 4.20 digs per set.
THE SERIES WITH THE DUCKS: Stanford leads the all-time series with Oregon, 51-4. Stanford won the first meeting between the two squads this season, a come-from-behind five-set thriller at Maples Pavilion. In that match, junior Carly Wopat led the team with 15 kills and eight blocks, while freshman Brittany Howard tallied 14 kills and 13 digs. Freshman Inky Ajanaku finished with 10 block assists, while sophomore Kyle Gilbert totaled 24 digs to lead the defense.