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Ducks, Beavers on Tap for Cardinal

Mary Ellen Luck

Mary Ellen Luck

Nov. 16, 2011

Complete Release

No. 5 Stanford (20-5/14-5 Pac-12) vs. No. 15 Oregon (18-8/11-7 Pac-12) - 7 p.m.
Nov. 18 - Maples Pavilion - Stanford, Calif.
No. 5 Stanford (20-5/14-5 Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (14-14/6-12 Pac-12) - 1 p.m.
Nov. 20 - Maples Pavilion - Stanford, Calif.

THIS WEEK: The No. 5 Stanford women's volleyball team (20-5, 14-5 Pac-12) plays host to No. 15 Oregon (18-8, 11-7 Pac-12) and Oregon State (14-14, 6-12 Pac-12). The Cardinal will face the Ducks on Friday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. and the Beavers on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m.

CATCH THE CARDINAL: Both matches will be steamed live online through the All-Access portal on GoStanford.com. Both matches will also be available via Gametracker. KZSU radio will be broadcasting both matches at 90.1 FM or online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/.

GAMEDAY PROMOTIONS: Fans can recieve $2 general admission to both matches with the donation of canned goods (must donate both days). Prior to Sunday's match, head coach John Dunning will hold a Chalk Talk at 11 a.m. in Kissick Auditorium, located in the Arrillaga Family Sports Center just north of Maples Pavilion.

LOOKING AHEAD: Stanford will close out the regular season next Friday, Nov. 25 against Bay Area rival California. The Cardinal and Golden Bears will square off at 7 p.m. in Maples Pavilion. Fox Sports Net will televise the contest on a tape-delayed basis.

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.



LAST WEEK: Stanford split its two matches last week at Washington and Washington State. The Cardinal dropped a five-set match at then-No. 11 on Friday. Sophomore Rachel Williams led the team with 20 kills and 20 digs, while junior setter Karissa Cook talled a career high 54 assists. Stanford rebounded at Washington State on Sunday. The Cardinal registered a four-set win against the Cougars. Williams again led the team with 16 kills and a season-high .455 hitting percentage.

RPI: Stanford is ranked 14th in the latest NCAA RPI rankings. The Cardinal is the third highest Pac-12 squad with USC coming in at No. 9 and UCLA at No. 11. Seven Pac-12 squads are ranked in the top-50 of the poll.

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 309-54 all-time on The Farm.

DOMINATING DEFENSE: Stanford has turned up the defensive intensity this season. The Cardinal is second in the nation and the Pac-12 with 3.23 blocks per set. Stanford leads the conference with 17.00 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.

AHEAD OF THE PAC: Sophomore Rachel Williams surpassed her previous career high for kills in each of the team's first four matches of the season. The outside hitter is fifth in the conference with 4.27 kills per set (24th nationally) and 4.92 points per set (20th nationally). She is tied for the Pac-12 lead with teammate Karissa Cook with 16 double-doubles so far this year.

BLOCK PARTY: Sophomore middle blocker Carly Wopat leads the Pac-12 with 1.57 blocks per set, which ranks fifth nationally. Wopat has posted a team-high nine blocks three times this season (vs. Delaware, vs. Notre Dame and vs. Arizona).

CONTROLLING THE OFFENSE: Junior setter Karissa Cook has adjusted nicely to Stanford's five-one system. 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 11.25 assists per set. She also leads the conference, along with teammate Rachel Williams, with 16 double-doubles on the year.

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.

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 Duke.
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 blocks.
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.

ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNERS: All-Conference returners for the Cardinal this season are junior Hayley Spelman (honorable mention) and sophomores Rachel Williams and Carly Wopat (all-freshmen). With the departure of Gabi Ailes, Alix Klineman and Cassidy Lichtman, the trio will be looked upon to lead the Stanford offense in 2011.

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 season.

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 Invitational.

NATIONAL POLL: Stanford dropped to No. 5 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association's top-25 this week after splitting its two match on the road last week. USC is the new No. 1 team in the nation. UCLA, California and Nebraska sit ahead of the Cardinal. Six Pac-12 squads are ranked in the top-15, including four of the top-5.

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 Square.

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 746-156 (.827), giving him a winning percentage that ranks amonth the top-5 all-time for Division I coaches. Dunning is 309-54 in his 11 seasons on The Farm, leading all active coaches in the conference by winning prcentage (.851).

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 OREGON: Oregon enters this weekend's matches with an 18-8 overall record and an 11-7 mark in the Pac-12 Conference. The Ducks are coming off a split last weekend at home where they upset then-No. 1 UCLA in five sets before being swept by then-No. 4 USC. Oregon is led by a pair of junior outside hitters - Alaina Bergsma and Katherine Fischer. Bergsma is second in the Pac-12 with 4.61 kills per set, third with 5.21 points per set and 10th with 0.24 aces per set. Fischer is averaging 2.84 kills per set, 2.91 digs per set and 3.24 points per set. The Duck offense is controlled by sophomore setter Lauren Plum. She is second in the conference and eighth nationally with 11.77 assists per set.

THE SERIES WITH THE DUCKS: Stanford holds a 50-3 all-time record over Oregon. The Cardinal won the first meeting betweeen the two schools this season, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-23. Sophomores Rachel Williams and Carly Wopat each posted 15 kills to lead the team Redshirt freshman Lydia Bai added 10 kills and three blocks.

SCOUTING OREGON STATE: OSU is 14-14 overall and 6-12 in the Pac-12 heading into this weekend's matches. The Beavers have dropped 12 of their last 13 sets played. As a team, OSU ranks 10th in the conference with a .182 hitting percentage, sixth in blocks (2.38 bps) and service aces (1.13 aps) and seventh in digs (15.18 dps). Leading the Beavers offensively is junior outside hitter Camille Saxton. She is averaging 3.56 kills, 2.07 digs and 4.19 points per set. Freshman middle blocker Arica Nassar has had a solid rookie campaign, averaging 2.17 kills, 0.96 blocks and a .296 hitting percentage. Sophomore libero Becky Defoe has anchored the defense with 4.65 digs per set, ranking fifth in the Pac-12.

THE SERIES WITH THE BEAVERS: The Cardinal is a perfect 53-0 overall against the Beavers. Stanford defeated OSU, 22-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-16, when the teams met in Corvallis, Ore., in early October. Sophomore Rachel Williams led the squad with 22 kills and 18 digs. Junior libero Hannah Benjamin tied her career high with 19 digs, while freshman Kyle Gilbert added 18 digs.

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