Sports

Stanford's Akinradewo is National Player of Year

Cardinal junior now needs a national title to complete a perfect season

Only one thing remains to make this a perfect season for Stanford junior volleyball standout Foluke Akinradewo -- a national championship.

Should Akinradewo help her Cardinal teammates defeat No. 1-ranked Penn State on Saturday night in the NCAA Final Four championship match in Sacramento's ARCO Arena, the season will be just perfect.

Akinradewo, the 2007 Pac-10 Player of the Year, received the biggest individual honor in the sport on Friday by being named the 2007 AVCA Division I National Player of the Year.

The award was presented at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet in Sacramento as part of the 2007 AVCA Annual Convention.

"If someone would have told me when I first started playing volleyball as a sophomore in high school that I'd be here receiving this award, I'd have thought they were crazy," said Akinradewo. "I'm around a bunch of amazing athletes up here (with my fellow All-Americans), and to be chosen among all of them is a great honor. I'd like to thank the coaches at Stanford for all of their hard work and all of my teammates who have helped me develop."

Akinradewo has enjoyed another record-breaking season in 2007. The 6-3 middle blocker leads the NCAA in hitting percentage (.503) and could break the all-time Division I single-season mark held by Maria Andonova of Florida A&M in 2004 (.504) on Saturday when Stanford faces Penn State in the NCAA championship match.

Her 2007 hitting percentage is the highest one-season total in Pacific-10 Conference history by more than 50 points and breaks the school record she set in 2006. She also is on pace to set the career hitting percentage record in NCAA Division I.

The Plantation, Fla., native is a three-time AVCA All-American, having earned first-team honors in 2006 and 2007 and second-team honors in 2005. She was the 2007 Pac-10 Player of the Year and is a three-time, first-team all-conference selection.

In 2005, she was tabbed the league's Freshman of the Year.

During Akinradewo's three years on the Farm, Stanford has compiled an 88-12 record, including a 32-2 mark this season. She has helped the Cardinal to NCAA championship match appearances in 2006 and 2007, and Stanford has captured the last two Pac-10 titles.

In addition to her accomplishments at Stanford, Akinradewo has made her presence felt on the international level. She was a starter on the U.S. National Team that won a bronze medal at the 2007 Pan Am Games in July. In January she will head to Colorado Springs, Colo., and join the National Team as it continues preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Akinradewo is the eighth Stanford player to be named National Player of the Year, and earns Stanford's 11th all-time honor. She follows in the footsteps of Ogonna Nnamani (2004), Logan Tom (2001, 2002), Kerri Walsh (1999), Cary Wendell (1994, 1995), Kristin Klein (1991), Bev Oden (1990) and Kim Oden (1984, 1985).

Comments

Posted by Theresa, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 16, 2007 at 2:04 pm

Akinradewo is the best middle blocker I've ever seen -- period. And I've been playing and coaching since 1969. She's a force of nature and is so much fun to watch.

Congratulations, Foluke, and best wishes for success on the National Team. Go for the gold!


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