Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - December 14, 2012

All-America honors wrap up Stanford's season

Cardinal volleyball misses trip to NCAA Final Four after suffering another upset at the hands of Michigan in Berkeley Regional title match

While the season ends without that elusive NCAA championship, the Stanford women's volleyball team isn't exiting empty-handed.

Stanford junior Carly Wopat was a first-team pick and freshman Inky Ajanaku was an honorable-mention honoree on the American Volleyball Coaches Association's All-American selections announced Tuesday.

The selections bring Stanford's total AVCA All-America award count to 70 honors spread over 29 players. Wopat was an honorable mention pick in 2011. Ajanaku is the ninth Cardinal freshman to earn All-America honors.

Wopat, a middle blocker from Santa Barbara, was an All-Pac-12 pick and finished the season in the top 10 in the conference in hitting percentage (.399) and blocks per set (1.45). She registered double-digit kills in 18 matches and hit .400 or better in 16 this season.

In four NCAA Tournament matches, she hit .397 and averaged 3.31 points and 1.46 blocks per set. A two-time Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week this season, Wopat was the Stanford Invitational MVP and selected to the Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic and Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational all-tournament teams.

Ajanaku, a native of Tulsa, Okla., was an All-Pac-12 Conference selection and a member of the All-Pac-12 Freshman Team. She registered a .374 hitting percentage and 1.23 blocks per set, ranking in the top-10 in the conference in both categories.

A two-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week (10/15 & 10/29), she started in 26 matches for the Cardinal this season. She hit .400 or better in 13 matches with a career high of .647 at Saint Mary's on Sept. 15. She recorded double-digit kills in 16 matches. In four NCAA Tournament matches, she hit .411 and tallied 3.50 points and 1.69 blocks per set.

Stanford finished the season with a 30-4 overall record and advanced to the Berkeley Regional Final, where it fell to Michigan, 25-20, 20-2, 20-25, 20-25, last Saturday. The Cardinal won the 2012 Pac-12 championship, made its 32nd consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and reached a regional final for the seventh time under head coach John Dunning.

The Cardinal, which has lost to the Wolverines three out of the past four seasons in the tournament, was led by Wopat's 13 kills, six blocks and two digs. Ajanaku led the Cardinal with eight blocks and also put down 11 kills in the match.

Freshman outside hitter Jordan Burgess registered her team-best 13th double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs along with three assists and two blocks.

Freshman setter Madi Bugg posted 30 assists, 10 digs and five blocks in the contest for her 12th double-double on the season. The team recorded a .269 attacking percentage along with 64 digs and 15 blocks.

The Wolverines were powered by junior outside hitter Lexi Erwin. She had 23 kills and 16 digs, and also was named the Berkeley Regional's Most Valuable Player. Sophomore setter Lexi Dannemiller posted 59 assists along with six digs and three kills.

Wopat, Ajanaku, and Burgess were selected to the Berkeley Regional's All-Tournament team.

Stanford associate head coach Denise Corlett, meanwhile, was named the Division I National Assistant Coach of the Year, the AVCA announced Thursday. Corlett is a two-time recipient of the award, also receiving the honor in 2010.

Corlett, now in her 24th season with the Cardinal and her 17th as the associate head coach, helped lead Stanford to another successful season. The Cardinal captured its 15th Pac-12 title, and its sixth conference championship in the past seven years. The 2012 Cardinal squad advanced to its 32nd consecutive NCAA Tournament and reached the quarterfinals for the seventh time in the past 12 years.

Stanford, with Corlett's assistance, registered a 30-4 record this season and finished 19-1 in the Pac-12 Conference. In Corlett's time with the program, the Cardinal holds a 671-115 (.854) record and has captured 14 league titles and six national championships. She has also helped guide 24 players to 59 AVCA All-America awards, and seven players have earned national player of the year honors during her time on The Farm.

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