Stanford Opens NCAA Tournament against Sacred Heart at Maples
The Cardinal is making its 31st consecutive appearance in the postseason.
Friday, Dec. 2
Match #1 - 4:30 p.m. PT
Baylor (18-14) vs. Michigan (20-12)
Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif.
Match #2 - 7 p.m. PT
Sacred Heart (27-7) vs. No. 11 seed Stanford (21-7)
Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif.
Saturday, Dec. 3
Match #3 - 7 p.m. PT
Winner Match #1 vs. Winner Match #2
Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif.
TOURNEY TIME: The sixth-ranked Stanford women’s volleyball team begins
its quest for a seventh national title this week, hosting the NCAA First
and Second Rounds at Maples Pavilion. The tournament’s overall No. 11
seed, the Cardinal will face Sacred Heart in the opening round Friday
LOOKING AHEAD: Should Stanford advance, the team will travel to
Gainesville, Fla., for the Gainesville Regional Dec. 9-10. The Final
Four will be held Dec. 15-17 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can catch this week’s matches on Gametracker
available at GoStanford.com. KZSU radio will also be broadcasting the
matches at 90.1 FM or online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/
. Additionally, a FREE webcast will be available online at NCAA.com.
SOCIAL NETWORKING: Become a fan of the Cardinal on Facebook by searching
for the “Stanford Women’s Volleyball” page. Follow the Cardinal at twitter.com/StanfordWVB
to get updates on the team this season. Both sites will be updated live during matches this year.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: This year marks Stanford’s 31st consecutive NCAA
postseason appearance. The Cardinal is one of only two programs in the
naiton to have appeared in every NCAA Tournament since the NCAA
Championship began in 1981 (Penn State is the only other school to
appear in all 31 events). Stanford has won more NCAA Championships (6),
made more Final Four appearances (18), competed in more national
championship matches (14) and won more NCAA Tournament matches (97) than
any program in the nation.
PAC-12 HONORS: Sophomores Rachel Williams and Carly Wopat have been
named to the 2011 Pac-12 All-Conference team. Junior setter Karissa Cook
was an honorable mention selection, while outside hitter Lydia Bai was
named to the All-Freshman Team.
PAC-12 FINISH: Stanford finished tied for fourth with Washington in the
newly formed Pac-12 Conference this season. The Cardinal finished with a
15-7 record in the Pac-12 behind first-place USC (20-2), second-place
UCLA (17-5) and third-place California (16-6). It is just the second
time since 1986 in which Stanford has finished outside of the top-2 in
the conference. The other came during the 2000 season when the team also
finished fourth under interim head coach Denise Corlett.
PAC-12 DOMINANCE: The Pac-12 earned seventh berths into the 2011 NCAA
Tournament, tied for the second-most of any conference. It’s the 12th
consecutve year in which the Pac-12 has sent at least six teams in the
postseason and the 20th overall. Pac-12 teams posted a 77-21 (.786)
record versus other conferences this season.
RPI: Stanford is ranked 18th in the latest NCAA RPI rankings. The
Cardinal is the third highest Pac-12 squad with USC coming in at No. 8
and UCLA at No. 15. Seven Pac-12 squads are ranked in the top-50 of the
STANFORD VS. THE FIELD: The Cardinal has played 16 matches against the
2011 NCAA field, posting a 9-7 record. Among the nine wins includes
then-No. 2 Penn State, then-No. 7 Florida, then-No. 2 Washington and
then-No. 4 USC.
HOME SWEET HOME: Stanford will begin postseason play at Maples Pavilion
for the seventh straight season. The Cardinal is 12-3 at Maples in 2011
and 74-9 at home over the last six seasons, making Maples one of the
toughest venues in the country to earn a road win.
IN ATTENDANCE: The Cardinal is averaging 2,505 fans at its home matches
this season. Stanford’s match versus California on Nov. 25 drew the
largest crowd at Maples Pavilion this season with 5,011 fans in
DOMINATING DEFENSE: Stanford has turned up the defensive intensity this
season. The Cardinal is second in the nation and the Pac-12 with 3.19
blocks per set. Stanford leads the conference with 16.86 digs per set.
Stanford posted 21 blocks against Notre Dame and Arizona, and 104 digs
against Duke, both are the most by a conference team this season.
RACHEL WILLIAMS FILE: Sophomore Rachel Williams has been the team’s
offensive leader all season. The outside hitter is fifth in the
conference with 4.32 kills per set (23rd nationally) and 4.94 points per
set (19th nationally). She also leads the Pac-12 with 19 double-doubles
CARLY WOPAT FILE: Sophomore middle blocker Carly Wopat leads the Pac-12
with 1.59 blocks per set, which ranks third nationally. Wopat set a new
career high with 11 blocks against Oregon State on Nov. 20. Her previous
career-best was nine blocks, which she posted three times this season
(vs. Delaware, vs. Notre Dame and vs. Arizona). Wopat also led the
Pac-12 in conference matches with a .410 hitting percentage and ranks
10th in the conference with 4.11 points per set.
KARISSA COOK FILE: Junior setter Karissa Cook has successfully adjusted
to Stanford’s five-one system this year. After sharing setting duties
with Cassidy Lichtman for the past two seasons running a six-two
offense, Cook ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 11.36 assists per set. She
has also stepped up other aspects of her game, ranking second in the
conference with 18 double-doubles this season.
LUCKY NUMBER 20: With its win at Washington State on Nov. 13, Stanford
has recorded its 11th consecutive 20-win season. It is the 30th time in
program history the Cardinal has registered 20 wins or more in a season.
PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Sept. 5: Junior Karissa Cook was named the Defensive Player of the Week
for her efforts at the Stanford Invitational. She averaged 5.00 digs per
set and 0.88 blocks per set in wins over Notre Dame and then-No. 18
Sept. 12: Sophomore Rachel Williams picked up her first career weekly
honors after being selected the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week. She
led the team to wins over then-No. 2 Penn State and then-No. 7 Florida
and was named the MVP of the Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic. Sophomore
Carly Wopat picked up Defensive Player of the Week, joining Williams on
the all-tournament team.
Oct. 3: Carly Wopat earned Offensive Player of the Week, becoming the
first player to earn offensive and defensive honors in the same season.
She hit .502 against ASU and Arizona, registering 26 kills and 14
Oct. 17: Karissa Cook was tabbed Offensive Player of the Week, joining
teammate Carly Wopat as the only two conference players to earn
offensive and defensive honors this season. Cook led the team to sweeps
over Washington State and then-No. 2 Washington, averaging 11.00
assists, 1.00 kills and 1.75 points per set.
NATIONAL HONORS: Junior setter Karissa Cook garnered AVCA National
Player of the Week honors after leading the Cardinal to sweeps over
Washington State and then-No. 2 Washington. She became the second
conference player to earn the national honor this season. It marked the
14th time a Stanford player had received the recognition.
300 CLUB: The team’s win at Oregon State on Oct. 7 gave head coach John
Dunning his 300th career victory at Stanford. He is now 310-56 all-time
on The Farm.
AS A TEAM: Stanford is the Pac-12 leader in digs per set (16.94) and
ranks second in blocks per set (3.14). Additionally, the Cardinal is
fourth in hitting percentage (.246), opponent hitting percentage (.170)
and assists per set (13.30) and ranks fifth in kills per set (13.98).
MOVING UP THE CHARTS: Junior setter Karissa Cook has moved up to sixth
on Stanford’s all-time career assists list with 2,489. Her 8.86 career
assists per set average also ranks amongst the top-10 in school history
SINGLE SEASON BESTS: Sophomore Carly Wopat is just two blocks away from
entering Stanford’s top-10 single season blocks list. The middle blocker
has posted a total of 167 blocks so far this season.
IN THE CLASSROOM: Senior middle blocker Stephanie Browne, who graduated
last spring Phi Beta Kappa with University Distiction with a degree in
political science and a minor in psychology, was named to the Capital
One/CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII first team. It marks the third
straight year Browne has been selected to an Academic All-District VIII
team. She earned Third Team Academic All-America honors last season and
is again in contention to become an Academic All-American this season.
PAC-12 ALL-ACADEMIC: Six Cardinal players earned academic honors from
the conference this season - senior Stephanie Browne (first team),
junior Hannah Benjamin (honorable mention), junior Karissa Cook
(honorable mention), sophomore Mary Ellen Luck (honorable mention),
sophomore Rachel Williams (honorable mention) and redshirt freshman
Lydia Bai (honorable mention).
NEW ROLES: With just two seniors on the roster of 14, the junior class
has stepped up into new leadership roles this season. Setter Karissa
Cook is running a five-one system for the first time since she’s been on
the Farm. Hannah Benjamin, who earned the starting libero spot to start
the season, is being looked upon to lead the Cardinal defense as she
has the most on-court experience of the returning defensive specialists.
HAPPY SHE’S BACK: Senior setter Katherine Sebastian has rejoined the
team this season after taking a one-year hiatus to study abroad in
Barcelona, Spain. Sebastian, who was a member of the 2008 and 2009
Cardinal teams, will back up Karissa Cook at the setter position this
NEWCOMERS: Stanford’s class of 2015 includes outside hitter/defenisve
specialist Lauren Birks, outside hitter Morgan Boukather and
libero/defensive specialist Kyle Gilbert. All three players hail from
southern California and made their collegiate debuts at the Rice
NATIONAL POLL: Stanford dropped to No. 6 in the American Volleyball
Coaches Association’s top-25 last week. A new poll is not scheduled to
come out until after the season is complete. USC remained No. 1, while
Nebraska, Hawaii, UCLA and Texas round out the top-5. Six Pac-12 squads
were ranked in the top-15, including four of the top-10.
PAC-12 COACHES’ POLL: Stanford was chosen by the conference coaches to
place fourth in the newly formed Pac-12. Stanford garnered 92 points in
the preseason poll. Final Four participant USC was picked to win the
conference title, earning 11 first-place votes. Last year’s national
runner-up Cal was selected second, while Washington came in third. Six
conference teams advanced to the postseason in 2010, while the Pac-12
has won five of the last 10 NCAA titles. The coaches have correctly
chosen the conference champion in 14 of the previous 22 polls.
CARDINAL ABROAD: Ten members of the Cardinal squad and its staff
traveled to China in June for two tournaments and a lot of sight-seeing.
Stanford played six matches (three in Weifang and three in Beijing) and
experienced the Chinese culture. Among the sites, the team visited the
Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen
2010 IN REVIEW: In 2010, Stanford posted a 27-4 overall record and
claimed a share of its unprecedented 14th conference championship. The
team finished the year with a postseason run to its fourth NCAA regional
final in the past five years. The Cardinal defeated 11 ranked opponents
and won 17 matches by 3-0 margins. Seniors Gabi Ailes, Alix Klineman
and Cassidy Lichtman all collected All-America honors, while Klineman
was the Pac-10 and Volleyball Magazine Player of the Year.
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 12 regular-season matches against teams
ranked in the preseason poll, and 15 against teams that made appearances
in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
HEAD COACH JOHN DUNNING: In his 11th 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 10 Stanford teams to the national championship match.
MILESTONE FOR DUNNING: In last year’s season opener versus Tulane, head
coach John Dunning secured his 700th career win. In 26 years as a head
coach, Dunning is 747-157 (.826), giving him a winning percentage that
ranks amonth the top-5 all-time for Division I coaches. Dunning is
310-55 in his 11 seasons on The Farm, leading all active coaches in the
conference by winning prcentage (.849).
HALL OF FAMER: Head coach John Dunning has been selected as one of three
inductees into the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 2011
Hall of Fame class. He, along with Liz Masakayan and Gerald `Gerry’
Matacotta, will be honored at the December 15 ceremony, held in
conjunction with the 2011 Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.
SCOUTING SACRED HEART: The Pioneers completed the regular season with a
27-7 overall record and secured the Northeast Conference title for the
second straight year with a 14-2 mark. Sacred Heart is riding a
nine-match win streak into the postseason. The Pioneers are outhitting
their opponents .224 to .161 this year. The team is also posting 14.22
kills per set, while holding opponents to just 9.98. Sacred Heart is led
by senior outside hitter Kimmee Roleder. A transfer from USC, Roleder
is averaging a team-best 3.94 kills and 4.62 points per set. She is also
posting 3.20 digs and 0.31 aces per set. Senior libero Jessica Colberg
anchors the defense with 4.14 digs per set. Sophomore outside hitter
Dianis Mercado adds 2.76 kills and 2.96 digs per set for the Pioneers.
THE SERIES WITH THE PIONEERS: Friday’s match will mark the first-ever meeting between Stanford and Sacred Heart.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN: Michigan earned an at-large berth into the postseason
finishing with a 20-12 overall record and an 8-12 mark in the Big Ten.
The Wolverines have posted three wins over ranked opponents this season,
including at then-No. 16 Minnesota. Michigan is hitting .230 on the
year while holding opponents to a .205 clip. The Wolverines are led by
senior outside hitter Alex Hunt’s 3.23 kills and 3.87 points per set.
Sophomore outside hitter Lexi Erwin is adding 3.07 kills and 2.20 digs
per set, while senior middle blocker Coutrney Fletcher leads the team
with a .330 hitting percentage. Michigan relies on its rookie setter
Lexi Dannemiller to control the offense. She is posting 11.62 assists
and 2.39 digs per set. Senior libero Sloane Donhoff is the leader of the
Michigan defense and is posting 4.53 digs per set.
THE SERIES WITH THE WOLVERINES: Stanford holds a 2-1 advantage over
Michigan in the all-time series. The teams met most recently in the
Stanford Regional in 2009. The Wolverines defeated the Cardinal in four
sets in the semi-finals to end Stanford’s season.
SCOUTING BAYLOR: Baylor concluded the regular season with an 18-14
overall record and a 5-11 mark in the Big 12. The Bears have dropped
eight of their last 11 matches, but their most recent win came on the
road at then-No. 25 Oklahoma on Nov. 12. Baylor is 5-1 on neutral sites
this season, but only 4-9 on the road. Baylor is led by senior right
side hitter Briana Tolbert, who is averaging 2.80 kills, 0.84 blocks and
hitting .339 on the season. Junior middle blocker Torri Campbell had
added 2.72 kills and 0.91 blocks per set this season. Senior libero
Allison King has racked up 624 digs (5.11 dps) for the Bears in her
THE SERIES WITH THE BEARS: Should Stanford face Baylor in the second
round match, it would be the first meeting between the two programs.
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