Settling in as setter | September 2, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - September 2, 2011

Settling in as setter

Karissa Cook likes her full-time role with women's volleyball team

by Rick Eymer

Karissa Cook made her first international trip when she and her Stanford women's volleyball teammates traveled to China for a preseason tour. The experience broadened her education.

Her role with the sixth-ranked Cardinal (2-0), which meets Notre Dame on Friday night at 7 p.m. as part of the Stanford Invitational, has also broadened. She's the full-time setter, period.

"To tour a developing town was a powerful lesson," Cook said of her trip. "It was a great cultural experience."

Cook's experience at last weekend's Rice Invitational was good enough to earn her the MVP award of the tournament as the Cardinal beat both NCAA participant Delaware and host Rice to open the season.

Sophomore Rachel Williams established career highs in kills in both matches, 13 against the Blue Hens and 17 against Rice.

Stanford plays its next four games at home, three of which will be against top 20 opponents, and then the Cardinal will be thrown into vortex of the Pac-12 season, opening at currently top-ranked California.

"That's why we play top teams in the preseason," Cardinal coach John Dunning said, "to prepare for the Pac-12."

Notre Dame (3-0) went four sets in each of its first three games, all victories in its own Shamrock Invitational.

The Irish snapped a six-match losing streak to Stanford two years ago. The last time Stanford won in the series was in 2003.

The Cardinal plays No. 18 Duke (3-0) on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Cook, who has been slowed by physical ailments her first two years, has recorded 32 assists in each of the first two matches. She does have a career high of 49 in a match at Oregon State two years ago.

Cook is also second on the team, to Hannah Benjamin, with 19 digs.

Williams leads the Cardinal with 35 1/2 points. In addition to her 30 kills, she has recorded four aces and three block assists.

Sophomore Carly Wopat, who played the U.S. junior national women's team over the summer, ranks second with 21 kills and leads the team with 10 total blocks.

Stanford hosts three-time defending champion Penn State a week from Friday at 5:30 p.m.

Women's soccer

Second-ranked Stanford (3-0-1) hosts Northwestern on Sunday at noon in its home opener.

The Cardinal went unbeaten in its first four contests, tying fifth-ranked Maryland in a scoreless contest last Friday and beating Georgetown, 4-1, on Monday.

Castilleja High grad Lindsay Taylor and Sydney Payne each scored twice against the Hoyas.

Taylor leads the team in points (9) and goals (4) and is eighth all-time at Stanford in goals (37), assists (21) and points (95).

Five other players have scored a goal this season as the Cardinal has a 13-3 margin over its opponents. Stanford has recorded a pair of shutouts.

Taylor and Teresa Noyola will see a familiar face in the Wildcats' lineup in Emily Langston. The trio all played on the same club team based in Los Altos.

On the line in the home opener is a 46-match regular season unbeaten streak, a 37-match home winning streak and a 41-match home unbeaten streak.

The Cardinal has been hit with a few injuries thus far. Goalie Emily Oliver, Mariah Nogueira, defender Rachel Quon and forward Courtney Verloo have all missed game action this season.

Men's soccer

Stanford (0-1) is back on the road this week, traveling to fourth-ranked Maryland (2-0) for a nationally televised game Friday at 4:30 p.m. (PT).

The Cardinal opened its season with a 1-0 loss at defending WCC champion Santa Clara last Saturday.

The Cardinal shuffled its lineup a bit from a year ago, with Adam Jahn starting in the midfield and Dersu Abolfathi starting at forward.

Adoni Levine has moved to right back, while Tommy Ryan saw time at left back. Matt Taylor has recovered from a leg injury that forced him to miss all of last season. He started at center back. Drew Hutchins earned the start in goal.

Field hockey

No. 20 Stanford (2-1) remains on the road for a Saturday morning game at Yale.

The Cardinal beat No. 17 Albany, 3-2, on Wednesday as Becky Dru recorded her fifth goal of the season.

Dru and freshman Kelsey Harbin were named NorPac Players of the Week on Monday.

Dru was named the West Division's Offensive Player of the Week, while Harbin was recognized as the West Division's Rookie of the Week.

Men's water polo

Stanford travels to the UC Irvine Invitational this weekend, although it has been reclassified as an exhibition.

Cross Country

Stanford opens its season at the USF Invitational in Golden Gate Park on Saturday. The men are ranked second nationally and the women are ranked seventh.

Women's basketball

Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer announced on Thursday the additions of former Cardinal letter-winner Susan Borchardt and Cal grad Lauren Grief to the Cardinal staff. Borchardt will serve as the team's Sports Performance coach while Greif, after spending 2010-11 as an intern, is promoted to a full-time position as Special Assistant to the Coaches/Video Coordinator.

Borchardt previously served as assistant coach and strength and conditioning specialist for CB Baloncesto Granada's Liga EBA team based in Granada, Spain from 2006-09. She directed player skill development work with the club's EBA players while also working individually with select ACB players.

Borchardt, originally as Susan King from 2000-03, played for the Cardinal from 2000-05, helping lead the team to four NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of regional final berths (2004-05). She was twice named All-Pac-10 honorable mention (2004-05) and thrice earned Pac-10 All-Academic recognition. She was named honorable mention in 2003, to the Second Team in 2004 and to the First Team in 2005.

Borchardt played professionally for the Minnesota Lynx during the 2005 WNBA season.

Borchardt earned her bachelor's degree in psychology in 2005. She and her husband, Curtis, a former Stanford men's basketball standout and member of the NBA's Utah Jazz from 2003-05, live in Palo Alto with their three children.

Greif's new duties will include managing the program's video editing and film exchange as well as assisting with recruiting and social media strategies.

Greif was a four-year letter-winner as a member of California's women's basketball team from 2006-2010. A three-year co-captain, Greif helped lead the team to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including the program's first-ever Sweet Sixteen berth in 2009, and the 2010 WNIT title.


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