Dec. 4, 2012
TOURNEY TIME: The second-ranked Stanford women’s volleyball team (29-3) is on a quest for a seventh national title, and will head to the Berkeley Regional this weekend. The tournament’s overall No. 2 seed, the Cardinal will face No. 15 seed Iowa State (22-7) on Friday, Dec. 7 in Haas Pavilion. Should Stanford advance, it will take on either Michigan or Michigan State on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 8:30 p.m.
LOOKING AHEAD: Should the Cardinal advance past this weekend, the team will be Final Four bound the following week. The Final Four will be held Dec. 13-15 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. Stanford has appeared in a nation-best 18 Final Fours.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch both matches on Gametracker available via gostanford.com. KZSU radio will also be broadcasting both matches at 90.1 FM or online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/. Friday’s match against Iowa State will be shown on ESPN3, while Saturday’s Regional Final can be seen on ESPNU.
SCOUTING IOWA STATE: The Cyclones enter the week with a 22-7 overall record and finished second in the Big 12 Conference witha 13-3 mark. Iowa State defeated IPFW and No. 24 North Carolina in the first and second rounds at home last week as both matches went to five sets. The Cyclones have seven wins over ranked opponenets this season, including knocking off No. 1 Nebraska back in September. Iowa State is led offensively by a pair of underclassmen. Sophomore outside hitter Victoria Hurtt leads the team with 3.05 kills per set and 3.25 points per set. Freshman right side Mackenzie Bigbee is posting 2.81 kills per set. Senior setter Alison Landwehr controls the offense with 11.42 assists per set, while junior libero Kristen Hahn anchors the defense with 5.41 digs per set.
THE SERIES WITH THE CYCLONES:
Friday’s meeting with Iowa State will be the first between the two programs.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN: Michigan is 25-11 overall and defeated Tennessee (3-2) and 10th-seeded Louisville (3-1) in the first and second rounds. The Wolverines have advanced to regional action for the fifth time in school history. Michigan is led by junior outside hitter Lexi Erwin, who is averaging 4.12 kills per set, 2.44 digs per set and 4.65 points per set. Junior middle blocker Jennifer Cross is posting 2.57 kills, a team-high 1.25 blocks and 3.33 points per set. Sophomore setter Lexi Dannemiller adds 11.31 assists per set and 2.53 digs per set.
THE SERIES WITH THE WOLVERINES: Stanford is 2-2 overall against Michigan, dropping both matches to the Wolverines recently in the NCAA Tournament (2009 and 2011).
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE: Michigan State (25-9) has advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007. The Spartans knocked off San Diego in five sets and defending national champion UCLA (3-1) last weekend. All-Big Ten selection Lauren Wicinski leads MSU with 4.42 kills, 2.10 digs and 5.34 points per set. Junior middle blocker Alexis Matthews is hitting .388 and posting 1.21 blocks per set, while sophomore libero Kori Moster, who averages 4.66 digs per set, was the Big Ten Defenseive Player of the Year. The Spartans run a 6-2 offense through junior setter Kristen Kelsay (6.98 aps) and rookie Halle Peterson (4.72 aps), who was a member of the All-Big Ten Freshman squad.
THE SERIES WITH THE SPARTANS: The Cardinal is 2-0 all-time against the Spartans, but has not faced MSU in the NCAA Tournament.
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.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: This year marks Stanford’s 32nd consecutive NCAA postseason appearance. The Cardinal is one of only two programs in the nation to have appeared in every NCAA Tournament since the NCAA Championship began in 1981 (Penn State is the other). Stanford has won more NCAA Championships (6), made more Final Four appearances (18), competed in more national championships matches (14) and won more NCAA Tournament matches (100) than any program in the nation.
ALL REGION: Stanford middle blockers Inky Ajanaku and Carly Wopat were selected to the 14-player AVCA All-Pacific Region team. The pair is now in contention to become 2012 All-Americans. It is Wopat’s second career all-region honor. Ajanaku is the 11th Cardinal rookie to be named to an all-region team, and the first since Alix Klineman in 2007.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Stanford head coach John Dunning has been voted the 2012 Pac-12 Coach of the Year by his peers in the conference. It marks his fourth Pac-12 award and his eighth conference coach of the year award in his career. 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.
PAC-12 IN THE TOURNEY: The Pac-12 earned seven berths into the 2012 NCAA Tournament, tied for the most by any conference with the Big Ten. It’s the 13th straight yesar in which the Pac-12 has sent at least six teams into the postseason and the 21st overall. Pac-12 teams posted a 119-25 (.826) record versus other conferences this season.
STANFORD VS. THE FIELD: The Cardinal has played 20 matches against the 2012 NCAA field, posting a 17-3 record. Stanford defeated all of its Pac-12 foes twice except for USC, and picked up non-conference wins over Florida, Saint Mary’s (twice), Santa Clara, Jackson State and Western Kentucky.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Junior Carly Wopat has begun to write her name into the Cardinal record books. Her .379 career hitting percentage is the second-best mark in school history. She sits at eighth on the career blocks list with 448 and her 1.36 career blocks per set is tied for third all-time.
SINGLE SEASON MARKS: Sophomore libero Kyle Gilbert has racked up 533 digs so far this season, tying for the second-highest total in school history with Gabi Ailes whose 617 digs in 2009 is the school record. Gilbert’s 4.52 digs per set this season is the third-best mark in program history.
SHARING THE WEALTH: Five different Stanford players are averaging at least 2.00 kills per set this season. Junior Carly Wopat leads the team with 2.85 kills per set, while freshman Jordan Burgess is posting 2.82 kills per set. Rookies Inky Ajanaku and Brittany Howard, and junior Rachel Williams are also averaging more than 2.00 kill per set.
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.
RPI: The Cardinal remained at No. 1 in the latest RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) poll, holding the top spot for six straight weeks. Iowa State comes in at No. 18, while Michigan sits at No. 31 and Michigan State is No. 36.
MILESTONE FOR DUNNING: In 2010, Dunning secured his 700th career win. In 27 years as a head coach, he is 777-162 (.827), giving him a winning percentage that ranks amongst the top-5 all-time for Division I coaches. Dunning is 340-60 in his 12 seasons on The Farm, leading all active coaches in the conference by winning percentage (.850).
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.