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Cardinal Returns To Scene Of ‘96 Upset

It’s Stanford week in Pullman and Washington State volleyball coach Cindy Fredrick has her usual wish list.

“Maybe they can have a little plane delay, have a little trouble getting here, run into a little roadwork. … All those things people love about Pullman,” Fredrick said.

The Cougars (17-2, 5-2 Pac-10), coming off a 3-1 loss to Washington which resulted in a two-spot drop to No. 10 in the USA Today/AVCA Top 25 poll, play host to No. 4 Stanford (16-2, 7-0) Friday. California (1-6, 6-10) comes to Bohler Gym on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m.

The Cardinal’s two 1997 losses have been to No. 1 Penn State. Although Cal is in ninth place in the Pac-10, the Bears have gone five games in seven matches this year.

It was almost one year ago that Washington State beat Stanford 3-1 at Bohler Gym for its first win against the Cardinal.

Since then, Stanford has avenged that defeat by eliminating WSU in the quarterfinals of last year’s NCAA Tournament, and the Cougars have lost Sarah Silvernail, the Pac-10 Conference player of the year, to graduation.

The Cardinal, which went on to win last year’s national championship, returns All-Americans Kristin Folkl and Kerri Walsh, Barbara Ifejika, Denise Lambert and Lisa Sharpley. Sharpley has set the team for four years.

“They’re such a good team and such an experienced team, I don’t think there are a lot of things that rattle Stanford,” Fredrick said.

The Cougs should be at full strength this week with the return of Keren Oigman to the front row. The senior middle blocker was relegated to back-row play the last two weeks because of a sprained left ankle. Oigman leads the Cougars with a .369 attack percentage.

Eastern hobbled

Eastern Washington starters Kim Maxwell and Jessica Clish could miss the rest of the season because of injuries.

Maxwell, a sophomore setter, suffered a meniscus injury in practice last week and already has missed three games. She’s scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery within the next few days. If the tear has to be stitched, Maxwell will miss the rest of the season. However, she could be back in 2-3 weeks if a portion of the meniscus can be removed.

The Eagles are 2-1 without Maxwell. The Calgary athlete already has had reconstructive surgery on both knees.

Clish, a right-side hitter, hurt her knee while warming up for Tuesday’s match against Gonzaga. X-rays were scheduled.

“It could be a stress fracture and she’d be out for the season,” Eagles coach Pamela Parks said.

The Eagles don’t play again until Oct. 23.

Pulling rank

Gonzaga, off to a 2-1 start in the West Coast Conference, will have its toughest conference challenges this weekend when it plays host to No. 14 Pepperdine (14-1, 3-1 through Wednesday) on Friday and No. 20 Loyola Marymount (13-4, 3-1) on Saturday, both at 7 p.m.

Last season, the Bulldogs beat the Waves 3-1 but still trail the series 17-3.

LMU holds a 13-7 series lead against GU and has won eight straight. LMU’s Sarah Noriega, last week’s national player of the week, averages 5.88 kills per game.

Spikes and digs

Idaho first-year coach Carl Ferreria continues to adjust his starting six. In the last two matches, senior Kyle Leonard moved from right side to left side. Freshmen Regan Butler and Alli Nieman have gotten started while junior Beth Craig has been coming off the bench… After starting the season ranked fifth, Big West power Long Beach State (14-1) has held the No. 2 spot for three weeks. The Vandals (10-9) travel to LBSU on Nov. 6. … No. 16-ranked Hawaii is averaging 7,164 fans per match, best among colleges. WSU’s nine-match home attendance of 13,645 (1,516 per match) ranks ninth.

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