THIS WEEK: The third-ranked Stanford women’s volleyball team will participate in the AVCA Showcase to open the 2014 campaign. The Cardinal travels to Iowa State on Friday, Aug. 29 before taking on No. 7 Nebraska in Lincoln on Sunday, Aug. 31.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Live stats for the match can be found on the women’s volleyball schedule page on GoStanford.com. Friday’s match will be televised on Pac-12 Bay Area, while Sunday’s match can be seen on the Big Ten Network.
SCOUTING IOWA STATE: The Cyclones are coming off an 18-10 season in 2013 and another NCAA Tournament appearance. Junior opposite Mackenzie Bigbee, an All-Big 12 First Team selection in 2013, returns after averaging 3.21 kills per set on a .256 hitting percentage. All-Big 12 Freshman Team member Ciara Capezio posted 2.70 kills and 2.40 digs per set as an outside hitter, while All-Big 12 honorable mention pick Victoria Hurtt added 2.49 kills per set last season.
THE SERIES WITH THE CYCLONES: Stanford is 1-0 all-time against Iowa State, sweeping the Cyclones in the 2012 NCAA Berkeley Regional semifinals at Haas Pavilion. Then a freshman, Jordan Burgess led the Cardinal with 16 kills and 14 digs on a .448 attack percentage. No Iowa State player reached double-digit kills as the squad was held to a .140 team hitting percentage.
SCOUTING NEBRASKA: Nebraska posted a 26-7 record in 2013 and advanced to the NCAA Regional Final before falling to Texas. The Huskers return all but one starter from last year’s squad, led by senior setter Mary Pollmiller. Sophomore outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen, a third team AVCA All-American as a rookie, averaged 3.46 kills and 2.61 digs per set. A young squad, Nebraska has 11 underclassmen on it roster, tying for the most in program history.
THE SERIES WITH THE HUSKERS: Since 1985, Stanford is 5-6 all-time against Nebraska. The most recent meeting was the 2008 season opener at the AVCA Showcase in Omaha, Neb., where the Huskers posted a 3-0 victory. Stanford’s most recent win was a sweep over Nebraska in the 2001 NCAA Final Four during head coach John Dunning’s first season with the Cardinal. Stanford went on to win the program’s fifth NCAA title that season.
STARTING FIVE: Stanford’s first five matches of the year are against opponents who appeared in last year’s NCAA Tournament, including 2013 champion Penn State at home on Friday, Sept. 5. Four of the five are ranked in the top 25 of the AVCA preseason poll (No. 1 Penn State, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 11 Illinois and No. 21 Duke), while Iowa State is receiving votes.
ALL-AMERICAN: Stanford returns four of its five All-Americans from last season, including AVCA first-team selection Inky Ajanaku (Jr., MB, Human Biology) and AVCA second-team pick Madi Bugg (Jr., S, Political Science). Additionally, Kyle Gilbert (Sr., L, Management Science & Engineering) and Jordan Burgess (Jr., OH, Human Biology) were tabbed honorable mention by the AVCA.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Stanford women’s volleyball program has won more NCAA Tournament matches (104), 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 18 conference championships and produced 30 or more wins on 16 occasions. Stanford, along with Penn State, has won the most NCAA titles (6) and appeared in all 33 NCAA Tournaments, having won all 33 of its first-round matches.
NATIONAL POLL: Stanford opens 2014 at No. 3 in the AVCA preseason poll. The Cardinal is the only program in the nation to appear in the top 10 of every preseason poll since its inception in 1982. Defending national champion Penn State earned the top spot, while Texas came in ahead of the Cardinal. Pac-12 foes Washington and USC round out the top 5. Four Pac-12 squads are ranked in the top 25 (No. 25 Arizona State), while Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado and UCLA are receiving votes.
PAC-12 COACHES’ POLL: For the 13th time since 1986, the Pac-12 coaches picked Stanford to win the conference. The Cardinal garnered 114 points, just one ahead of second-place USC. Washington came in third, while Arizona State and California rounded out the top 5. The coaches have correctly chosen the conference champion in 17 of the previous 28 polls.
2013 IN REVIEW: In 2013, Stanford (27-6) appeared in its 33rd straight NCAA Tournament, reaching a regional final for the ninth time under head coach John Dunning. The Cardinal finished second in the Pac-12 with a 17-3 conference mark. Inky Ajanaku and Carly Wopat were named AVCA First Team All-Americans, while Madi Bugg earned second team accolades and Kyle Gilbert and Jordan Burgess were honorable mention.
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 10 regular-season matches against teams ranked in the preseason poll, and 22 against teams that appeared in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
HEAD COACH JOHN DUNNING: Now in his 14th 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 13 Stanford teams to the national title match.
MILESTONE FOR DUNNING: John Dunning secured his 800th career win on Nov. 22, 2013 against Washington State. In 29 years as a head coach, he is 805-169 (.826), giving him a winning percentage that ranks amongst the top-5 all-time for Division I coaches. Dunning is 368-67 in his 13 seasons on The Farm, leading all active coaches in the conference by winning percentage (.846).