A familiar face will be out at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium this weekend in former Cardinal All-American and assistant coach Jessica Allister, now the head coach at Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers will be participating in the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic, Friday-Sunday, and facing her former team on Friday (12:15 p.m.) and Saturday (2:30 p.m.).
"I am extremely excited to come back to Stanford," said Allister, who was a catcher for Stanford from 2001-04. "It was home to me for many years. I had a wonderful experience as a player and a coach."
Now in her third year at Minnesota , Allister has posted back-to-back 31-win seasons and has a program on the rise. She racked up 62 victories over her first two seasons, marking the most over a two-year span at Minnesota since 2003-04. Entering this weekend she holds a 72-53 (.576) career record.
Allister graduated from Stanford in 2004 with a degree in economics. A four-year starting catcher for the Cardinal, she has played more games in a Stanford uniform than any player in program history (266).
She ws a three-time All-Pac-10 selection, led the team to four NCAA Regional appearances and was the starter behind the plate in both of the program's trips to the Women's College World Series (2001 & 2004).
As a freshman in 2001, she earned her first all-region honor and helped the Cardinal to a program-record 54 wins and its first WCWS appearance. As a senior in 2004, Allister became Stanford's ninth All-American, leading the team to its second appearance in the WCWS and finishing the season with a team-leading 12 home runs, 55 RBI, .631 slugging percentage and .404 on-base percentage.
Allister also spent three seasons as a Cardinal assistant from 2007-09. She was a member of the staff that earned the 2009 NFCA West Regional Coaching Staff of the Year. She worked with Stanford's catchers and coached Rosey Neill to the 2008 and 2009 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors.
During her time as an assistant, Stanford earned three-straight NCAA tournament bids and made a pair of Super Regional appearances in 2008 and 2009.
"Playing for and learing from Coach Rittman and his staff at Stanford has really shaped who I am today as a coach," said Allister. "I am looking forward to seeing many friendly faces this weekend."
Cardinal ace Mark Appel (2-1, 1.17 ERA) will be on the mound when No. 9 Stanford puts its nine-game win streak on the line Friday against visiting UNLV at Sunken Diamond at 5:30 p.m.
The three-game nonconference series continues Saturday and Sunday with games each day at 1 p.m.
Stanford trails the all-time series with UNLV, 4-3 (.429). The two first met in 1980 and last played in 2004. Stanford received a home run and five RBI from Danny Putnam to beat UNLV, 10-4, in the opening round of the 2004 NCAA Stanford Regional.
The Cardinal, however, has won nine straight and swept its last series with a trio of wins over No. 22 Texas (March 1-3). Stanford is 7-0 at Sunken Diamond this season and has won 11 straight on its home turf dating back to last season. Even more, Stanford is off to another hot start after it went 14-1 to begin 2012.
Currently in the midst of a six-game homestand, Stanford will play 13 of its first 18 contest this season at Sunken Diamond.
In its last outing, Stanford notched a non-conference road win Tuesday at Santa Clara, 6-4.
Following the series with the Rebels, Stanford will have nearly two weeks off from competition before beginning the Pac-12 portion of its schedule. Stanford will play host to Utah (March 22-24) for a three-game series.
Nationally No. 18-ranked Stanford plays host to the University of Southern California and Temple this weekend, as it looks to rebound from a 15-8 mid-week loss to No. 11 Georgetown.
Reining Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Offensive Player of the Week, Rachel Ozer, leads a talented Stanford (2-2) offensive attack that has compiled 48 goals in four games. Ozer holds a team-high 18 points on 12 goals and six assists.
Junior Anna Kim (5-3) and sophomore Kyle Fraser (7-1) are tied for the second-most points with eight.
The Cardinal will open its weekend schedule against MPSF newcomer USC (4-3) on Friday at 3 p.m. The Trojans are coming off a 12-7 victory at UC Davis.
Stanford wraps up its weekend against Temple (4-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Owls defeated Lafayette, 15-12, in its most recent match.
It will be Stanford's first meeting against both USC and Temple in program history.
Women's water polo
Second-ranked Stanford will go for its second Mountain Pacific Sports Federation win of the year Saturday when it hosts No. 10 San Jose State for a 1 p.m. contest at Avery Aquatic Center.
Saturday's game will be the last before the Cardinal (13-1, 1-0 MPSF) takes a 13-day break for the winter final-exam period. Stanford earned its first MPSF win of the season last Saturday with a 16-3 win over CSU Bakersfield at Avery.
Entering the contest Stanford continues to perform well on both sides of the pool. Melissa Seidemann paces the Cardinal with 35 goals and is second in the MPSF with 2.50 goals per game while the Cardinal offense ranks second with 13.07 goals per contest.
On defense, the Cardinal tops the conference conceding just 4.36 goals per game behind the stellar cage work of goalies Kate Baldoni, Menlo-Atherton grad Emily Dorst and Gabby Stone.
Saturday's contest will be the second meeting of the season between the Cardinal and Spartans. Stanford captured that first meeting, 15-4, on Feb. 2 at the Stanford Invitational.
San Jose State (8-5, 0-0 MPSF) split its eight February contests after a 4-1 start to the year in January. In its most recent action SJSU finished 11th at the UCI Invitational Feb. 23-24, defeating UC Santa Barbara in the 11th-place game.