Nov. 27, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford women's volleyball head coach John Dunning has been tabbed the 2012 Pac-12 Coach of the Year when the annual Pac-12 awards were announced today by Commissioner Larry Scott.
Stanford junior Carly Wopat and freshmen Inky Ajanaku, Jordan Burgess and Brittany Howard were named to the 14-player All-Pac-12 Conference team. Junior Rachel Williams is an All-Pac-12 honorable mention pick, while Ajanaku, Burgess and Howard join Madi Bugg on the All-Freshman Team.
Dunning earns the Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor for the fourth time and his eighth conference coach of the year honors overall. He has guided the Cardinal to the team's 15th Pac-12 title and the program's 18th conference championship overall. Stanford has claimed the conference crown in six of the last seven years and received the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal spent three weeks ranked No. 1 in the country by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), and was the only team in the country to receive all 60 first-place votes (Nov. 5 and Nov. 12). Stanford reeled off 22 straight wins from Sept. 1 to Nov. 8, marking the longest winning streak in a single season under Dunning.
Wopat, a native of Santa Barbara, Calif., earns her second straight all-conference honors and third overall as she was an All-Freshman selection in 2010. The middle blocker leads the Pac-12 with a .399 hitting percentage this season and ranks third in blocks per set (1.45). A two-time Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week this season, Wopat was the Stanford Invitational MVP and selected to the Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic and Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational all-tournament teams. She has registered double-digit kills in 17 matches and hit .400 or better in 14 this season.
Ajanaku, a middle blocker, is one of five freshman named to the all-conference team. A native of Tulsa, Okla., she is fifth in the Pac-12 with a .370 hitting percentage and 10th in blocks per set with 1.17. A two-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week (10/15 & 10/29), she has started in 22 matches for the Cardinal this season. She has hit .400 or better in 12 matches with a career high of .647 at Saint Mary's on Sept. 15. She has recorded double-digit kills in 14 matches, including a career-best 17 against UCLA on Oct. 12. Her career-high is blocks this season is 10, posted against Oregon on Oct. 5.
Burgess is a 6-1 outside hitter from Fort Myers, Fla. She leads the Cardinal with 2.91 kills per set and is second on the squad with 3.37 points per set. She has twice been named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week (9/24 & 11/26) and also captured Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week (9/24) this season. She leads the team with 11 double-doubles and ranks ninth in the Pac-12 in conference matches with 3.71 digs per set. Her 19 kills against UCLA on Oct. 12 are a team season-high in 2012.
Howard, an outside hitter from Los Altos, Calif., is a two-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week selection (11/5 & 11/12). She was also the Pac-12 Defensive Player on Nov. 12 marking the third different Cardinal player to earn the honor this season. She has started all 30 matches for Stanford, registering eight double-doubles on the year. She has posted a career high 15 kills on two occasions and collected a career-best 31 digs at Washington on Oct. 19. The 31 digs tied for the third-most in a single match in school history and the most by a non-libero. It also marked the most digs by a non-libero in the Pac-12 this season.
Williams, who hails from Los Gatos, Calif., picks up her third career conference honors, earning All-Pac-12 accolades in 2011 and all-freshman team in 2010. The junior, who has transitioned from an outside hitter to an opposite this season, is hitting a career-best .241 on the year. She has hit .300 or better in 11 matches this season and tallied double-digit kills six times. She has come on strong over the last 10 matches, averaging 3.34 points, 2.85 kills and 0.88 blocks per set while posting a .368 attack percentage.
Bugg is a 6-0 setter from Apex, N.C. She was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Sept. 10 and was selected to the Stanford Invitational all-tournament team. Running a 5-1 and a 6-2 throughout the season, Bugg leads the Cardinal with 8.14 assists per set, which ranks ninth in the Pac-12, and has registered 10 double-doubles on the year. She also paces Stanford with 25 aces and averages 2.27 digs per set.
Oregon senior Alaina Bergsma was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year, while junior Lauren Plum was selected as the Setter of the Year for the Ducks. USC's Natalie Hagglund was chosen Libero of the Year for the second straight season, while outside hitter Samantha Bricio was tabbed the Freshman of the Year.
Stanford begins postseason play at home on Friday, taking on Southwestern Athletic Conference champions Jackson State in the first round at 8 p.m. Western Kentucky and Loyola Marymount will square off in the other first round match at Maples Pavilion, with first serve set for 5:30 p.m. The winners will meet at 7 p.m. on Saturday for a chance to advance to the Berkeley Regional.