The Stanford women's volleyball team heads into the NCAA Tournament that begins this weekend with plenty of momentum and the newly crowned Pac-10 Player of the Year.
After clinching a share of the team's fifth straight Pac-10 Championship last week and earning the No. 3 overall seed in the NCAA tourney, the Cardinal added a few more accolades to its list on Tuesday when senior Alix Klineman was selected as the 2010 Pac-10 Player of the Year.
Klineman earned a berth on the 14-player All-Pac-10 Team for the fourth straight season. She is joined on the all-conference squad by classmates Gabi Ailes and Cassidy Lichtman. Ailes earned honorable mention honors last season, while Lichtman is a two-time all-conference pick. Sophomore Hayley Spelman earned honorable mention, picking up the first all-conference recognition of her career.
Klineman, a native of Manhattan Beach, becomes the 11th Stanford player all-time to earn Pac-10 Player of the Year honors. The 17th player in the history of the conference to be named All-Pac-10 four times, she is the ninth player in Pac-10 history and the fourth in school history with over 1,900 kills.
Earlier this season she became the eighth Stanford player to register both 1,000 career kills and digs. Klineman leads the Pac-10 in kills (5.49) and points per set (6.18), also ranking second in the nation in both categories. Her .368 hitting percentage ranks fifth in the league.
Ailes, a libero from Bellevue, Neb., already has broken every Stanford digs record. The career leader with 2,086, Ailes is just the seventh Pac-10 player to record over 2,000 digs. She is averaging 4.73 digs per set this season, upping that mark to 5.23 digs per set in conference play.
As a setter/hitter, Lichtman has recorded 15 double-doubles, including four triple-doubles. A key all-around player, she is averaging 2.24 kills, 8.21 assists and 2.50 digs per set. Her 2,275 career assists ranks eighth-best in Stanford history. Lichtman earned Pac-10 Player of the Week twice this season for her efforts against the Los Angeles and Arizona schools in November.
Spelman, a native of Las Vegas, is second on the squad with 2.47 kills per set this season. Her .313 hitting percentage in Pac-10 matches ranked 10th-best in the league. She has hit over .400 in 10 matches on the year, and was one of just four Cardinal players to appear in all 94 sets this season.
The Cardinal also had two freshmen garner conference accolades. Rachel Williams and Carly Wopat were named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team.
Williams, an outside hitter, is averaging 1.83 kills, 0.76 digs and 2.08 points per set, while Wopat's .321 hitting percentage ranks 10th in the Pac-10. Wopat, a middle blocker, is also second on the team with 1.01 blocks per set.
USC's Falyn Fonoimoana was tabbed Freshman of the Year, while California's Rich Feller, a graduate of Palo Alto High, earned Coach of the Year honors.
Stanford begins postseason play at home on Friday, taking on America East champion Albany in the first round at 7 p.m. No. 17 Colorado State and Cal State Fullerton will square off in the other first-round match at Maples Pavilion, with first serve set for 4:30 p.m. The winners will meet at 7 p.m. on Saturday for a chance to advance to the Dayton Regional.
Also this week, Klineman was named the 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Klineman was recognized as one of the top players in the nation for her efforts both on the court and in the classroom. Joining Klineman on the First Team was Lichtman, while junior Stephanie Browne was selected to the Third Team. It marks the first time since 1984 that the Cardinal has had three Academic All-Americans in the same season.
Klineman is an art major at Stanford with a 3.53 GPA. Last season, she became Stanford's eighth Academic All-American after being selected to the Second Team. She was chosen to the Pac-10 All-Academic Second Team this season after earning honorable mention accolades in 2008 and 2009.
Men's water polo
Stanford senior Jeffrey Schwimer was named first team all-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation on Tuesday, one of five Cardinal players honored by the conference.
Jacob Smith and Sage Wright earned second team honors while Sacred Heart Prep grad Paul Rudolph and Peter Sefton were honorable mention.
Schwimer was named to his first All-MPSF team after scoring a career-high 33 goals.
Smith led the Cardinal in scoring with 54 goals and was third in the MPSF with a 2.35 goals per game average. He led Stanford with seven goals in its run to the MPSF tournament championship game last weekend.
Wright scored 32 goals in his final year on The Farm. He returned to the pool in 2010 after redshirting last season with a knee injury.
Schwimer, Smith and Wright were all named to the MPSF All-Tournament Team after leading the Cardinal to the championship game, upsetting top-ranked California in the semifinals.
Rudolph finished the year tied for second, with Schwimer, in goals scored with 33. Sefton scored 27 goals.
UCLA senior Ben Hohl from Menlo School was named to the second team. He led the Bruins this season with 42 goals in 23 matches. The Atherton resident also had a team-leading 12 assists and led the Bruins with 13 multiple-goal matches. He gained All-MPSF honors for the second straight season, also earning second-team honors in 2009.