The 3-minute interview with Cynthia Barboza

The dynamic junior outside hitter — as well as athletic and academic All-American — and her Stanford teammates are looking to complete some unfinished business in the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament, beginning with today’s national semifinal match against Southern Cal. The Cardinal lost to Nebraska in last year’s title match. Stanford (31-2) has lost just one game in its four NCAA matches. It could be an all-Bay Area championship match Saturday as Cal faces Penn State in the other semifinal.

What have the last few days been like? We’ve been talking to all of our professors. Some of us still have finals to deal with during the week. Fortunately, I’m not one of those. Last year, I took three finals on back-to-back nights.

What has it been like playing with a target on your back after starting the season No. 1? I think a lot of teams have dealt with the same thing — Nebraska, Penn State were No. 1 for a time. We’ve had a lot of that through the history of our program. Stanford volleyball has always had a target on our back and we’re just proud to uphold the tradition.

You split with USC this year. What will be the difference in this match? USC is a great team. They have a ton of talented players, a great coach. I just think it’s going to come down to heart. At this point, there’s not a difference in talent level. Our goal is to just go out there, leave everything on the floor and play our hearts out and play the best that we can.

Happy to be playing this in Sacramento? Definitely. It’s nice to not have to travel a long distance. As soon as people found out we were playing there, I started getting phone calls from people asking about how to get tickets.

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