No. 18 Volleyball Faces Crucial Match With Rival And No. 16 Arizona On Friday
Oct. 22, 2002
What's On Tap:
The Sun Devils (10-4, 6-3 Pac-10) are third in the Pac-10 heading into a very crucial match Friday (7 p.m.) with rival Arizona at McKale Center in Tucson. Fresh off its first sweep of the Oregon schools on the road since 1999, the Devils will take their No. 18 national ranking and a three-match winning streak to face the No. 16 Wildcats (10-7, 5-4 Pac-10). ASU next returns home Nov. 1-2 to face No. 20 Washington State and Washington. The Devils have only four remaining home matches.
A Tough Stretch Ahead:
ASU will face a ranked opponent in three of its next four matches and the next five matches will all come against teams ranked in the top 30 of this week's AVCA/USA Today poll. Arizona is ranked No. 16, Washington State (Nov. 1) is ranked No. 20, Washington (Nov. 2) is ranked No. 29, Stanford (Nov. 8) is ranked No. 6 and California (Nov. 9) is inching towards the top 25 at No. 26.
The Arizona State Volleyball team earned a No. 24 ranking in the USA Today/AVCA poll four weeks ago to appear in the poll for the first time since Sept. 3, 1996 (#23). With a No. 18 ranking in the AVCA/USA Today poll this week, the Devils earned their highest national ranking since finishing the 1995 season at No. 11. Now 3-3 against ranked opponents this year, the Devils have notched wins against No. 13 Pacific (3-2; 9/7), No. 11 UCLA (3-1; 9/21) and most recently No. 12 Arizona (3-0; 9/27). The last time ASU finished a season ranked in the poll was 1995 when they were No. 11 and made an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16. ASU Volleyball, celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year (1973-2002), has now been ranked 128 times in school history. The 128 times ASU has appeared in the AVCA poll are the 19th most of all Division 1 volleyball schools. ASU also appeared for the first time this year in the Volleyball Magazine poll at No. 20.
Recapping the Oregon Trip:
The Sun Devils earned their first road sweep of the Oregon schools since 1999 with a 3-2 nail-biter at Oregon (10/18) and a 3-1 victory over the Beavers. The win over the Beavers snapped a two-match skid at Gill Coliseum. ASU's win over Oregon improved the Devils to 6-0 in five-game matches and extended the Ducks' record Pac-10 losing streak to 30 matches. Several records fell in the match at McArthur Court, with Juliana Escobar notching ASU rally-scoring record (adopted in 2001) with 27 kills and 26 digs. Setter Cheryl Anglin dished out 76 assists for an ASU and Pac-10 rally-scoring record. The Sun Devils battled the Beavers to a tough match, but, the 18 kills from senior Julia Leddy and a solid performance from outside hitter Kim Mehlhorn gave the Devils the win. Leddy was ASU's MVP for the weekend, averaging 4.44 kpg on a .500 hitting percentage. Escobar also had a good weekend, averaging 4.67 kills and 4.89 digs per game in the two matches.
Devils Remain Perfect in Five-Game Matches:
Arizona State improved to 6-0 in five-game matches with the 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Oregon Ducks (10/18) at McArthur Court. In two of ASU's five-game wins, the Devils have had to battle back from a 0-2 deficit to keep their perfect record. ASU's five-game victories have come against Pacific (9/7), Clemson (9/14), Texas Tech (9/15), Washington (10/3), Cal (10/11) and most recently the Ducks. Comparatively, ASU was 2-3 in five-game matches last year. The Devils also own a 2-1 record in four-game matches and are 2-3 in three-game matches.
Pac-10 Proves to be Nation's Best:
With six teams ranked in the current AVCA/USA Today national poll and as California (#26) and Washington (#29) inch towards the top 25, the Pac-10 has proven to be the nation's toughest conference. USC remains the only unbeaten team in the conference, as defending national champion Stanford has lost twice in league play. The Devils are currently in third place match ahead of UCLA (12-7, 5-4) and Arizona.
The Arizona-ASU Series History:
ASU leads the all-time series with its rivals to the South, 34-29 (according to ASU records). ASU's three-game sweep over Arizona earlier in the year ended Arizona's five-match win streak against the Devils. UA has won 10 of the last 13 matches. The Sun Devils last defeated the Wildcats in Tucson in 1999 (3-1; Oct. 1).
The Last Time Devils and Wildcats Were Both Ranked:
It's been a while since Arizona and ASU have met when both teams have been ranked in the AVCA top 25. The last time came back on Nov. 17, 1995 when the 13th-ranked Sun Devils downed the 23rd-ranked Wildcats 3-2 in Tempe. The last time both school were ranked and played a match in Tucson was earlier in 1995 when the Devils (then No. 13) won a match 3-2 over the No. 14 Wildcats. The 1995 season also marked the last time ASU earned a season-sweep of its rivals to the south.
Earlier This Year vs. Arizona:
The Sun Devils swept Arizona 3-0 (33-31, 30-26, 42-40) on Sept. 27. The victory snapped an overall five-match losing streak to the Wildcats and was ASU's first win at home against UA since 1996. The last time ASU swept Arizona was Sept. 30, 1994. Junior outside hitter Juliana Escobar had 20 kills and 16 digs in the match to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. The 42-40 win in game three established a Pac-10 record for points in a single game and the 105 total points by ASU in the three-game set an NCAA record.
Anglin Becomes Second Best Setter in ASU History:
Junior setter Cheryl Anglin gained sole possession of second place in the ASU career record books two weeks ago moving past former Sun Devil Jennifer Helfrich, who dished out 2,956 assists as a four-year setter from 1989-92. With 3,118 in 70 career matches (11.81 per game average), Anglin has the most assists among active Pac-10 setters. Her season-high 76 assists last Friday vs. Oregon are the sixth most in ASU single-match history and established an ASU and Pac-10 rally-scoring (adopted in 2001) record. Anglin already holds the single-season school record and freshman record when she had 1,452 in 2000 and also has the second (84) and fifth (77) most assist in single-match history.
Escobar Having All-American Type Year:
Arizona State outside hitter Juliana Escobar was named Pac-10 Volleyball Player of the Week for Sept. 23-Sept. 29 becoming ASU's 14th all-time POW award winner. Escobar recorded 20 kills (6.67 kpg) and 16 digs (5.33 dpg); both match highs in ASU's 3-0 win over rival Arizona. On the season, Escobar is fourth in the Pac-10 averaging 4.25 kills per game, fifth with 3.42 digs per game and second with 0.63 aces per game. She has recorded 10 double-doubles (kills/digs) this year (out of ASU's 14 matches), eight of which have been 20+ kill matches. She recorded her first 20-20 match with ASU rally-scoring record of 27 kills and 26 digs in a five-game win over Oregon (10/18).
ASU Wins #500:
The three-game sweep of then 12th-ranked Arizona not only ended a five-match losing streak to the Wildcats, but also earned a milestone No. 500 all-time victory for the Sun Devil Volleyball program. Dating back to the perfect 21-0 season in the inaugural 1973 season, ASU is 504-350 (.590).
The Barton County CC/Brazilian Connection:
With the addition of 2001 AVCA Junior College Player of the Year Juliana Escobar, the Sun Devils now have two players who are native to Brazil. Senior setter Fernanda Habiger and Escobar both hail from Barton County CC in Kansas. Escobar, who averaged 6.17 kills per game in her junior college career and was the 2001 AVCA JC Player of the Year, is from Brasilia, Brazil, while Habiger is from Cruzeira, Brazil.
2002 Sun Devil Player Notes...
#1 Mandy Stephens (6-3, Jr., MB/OP, Napa, Calif.) --
Has seen action in eight matches this year, including one start vs. Cal (10/11)... averaging 1.92 kills per game... has recorded season-high six kills on three different occasions... had six kills in victory over Creighton (9/7) and six kills vs. Stanford (10/10) while hitting .462... inserted into lineup for an added block and an effective hitter. Career Notes: Averaged 2.51 kills per game while playing in 39 games and 18 matches in 2001... has a career 2.16 kpg average in 35 matches (85 games) as a Sun Devil.
#2 Alicia Akporiaye (6-2, Fr., OH, Tucson, Ariz.) --
Has started all 14 matches this year at opposite hitter... averaging 2.04 kills and 2.50 digs per game this year... has recorded four of her six career double-doubles this year, including a 12-kill and career-high 21-dig match vs. Oregon (10/18)... second on the team with 0.25 service aces per game... had her best career match vs. Cal (10/11), nearly tabbing a triple-double with 14 kills, 18 digs and a career-high blocks (8)... recorded career-high 16 kills and added 10 digs in five-game win over Washington (10/3)... notched double-double with 11 kills and 17 digs vs. UCLA (9/21)... the 17 digs matched her previous career high... matched her previous career high in kills with 13 vs. Clemson (9/14)... recorded nine kills in season opener vs. South Carolina (9/6). Career Notes: Named honorable mention freshman All-Pac-10 in 2001... ranked sixth on the team in 2001 by averaging 1.64 kills per game and third with 0.65 blocks per game... averaging 1.81 kpg and 2.20 (288 total) dpg in her 38 career matches as a Sun Devil.
#3 Juliana Escobar (5-11, Jr., OH, Brasilia, Brazil) --
Has started all 14 matches at outside hitter... has recorded a double-double (kills/digs) in 10 of ASU's 14 matches this year... also has 20 or more kills in eight matches and one 20-20 match this year... leads the team and is ranked fourth in the Pac-10 with 4.25 kpg average... also fifth in the league with 3.42 digs per game... leads the team and is second in the Pac-10 with 0.65 service aces per game, already passing the team leader (28; Jami Coughlin) from last year with 36... coming off solid weekend at Oregon and Oregon State, averaging 4.67 kpg and 4.89 dpg in two matches... recorded ASU rally-scoring records with 27 kills, 26 digs and 32.5 points in win over Oregon (10/18)... had 20 kills and 16 digs to help lead ASU to 3-0 win over Arizona (9/27)... became ASU's 14th player to ever earn Pac-10 Player of the Week (9/30) by recording 20 kills and 16 digs vs. Arizona (9/27)... had 23 kills and 13 digs in win over #11 UCLA (9/21)... had 21 kills and 18 digs in her first match as a Sun Devil (South Carolina; 9/6)... tallied 25 kills vs. No. 13 Pacific in her second match as a Sun Devil... had 15 service aces in three matches at Carolina Classic, including six vs. Creighton (9/7)... the six aces are tied for the seventh most in ASU single-match history... named to the all-tournament team at the Carolina Classic and Red Raider Classic. Career Notes: Came to ASU from Barton County CC (Great Bend, Kan.) where she was the 2001 AVCA/NJCAA Player of the Year... averaged 6.17 kpg, 1.11 service aces per game and 2.29 dpg over her two years at the junior college level... played with Sun Devil teammate Fernanda Habiger at Barton County CC.
#4 Natalie Harris (5-11, RS-So., OH, Tempe, Ariz.) --
Has seen action 13 of ASU's 14 matches this year, including four starts... averaging 1.57 kpg and 2.05 dpg... recorded season-high nine kills in victory over Creighton (9/7) and also had nine in loss to Washington State (10/4)... notched 10+ dig matches vs. Arizona (9/27) and Washington (10/3)... recorded his ninth career 10+ dig match with at Oregon (10/18)... best match this year was a nine-kill, nine-dig effort off the bench vs. UCLA (9/21). Career Notes: Coming off shoulder surgery and a redshirt season in 2001... averaging 1.30 kpg and 1.83 dpg in 41 career matches (105 games) as a Sun Devil.
#5 Julia Leddy (6-2, Sr., MB, Mesa, Ariz.) --
Has started all 14 matches this year at middle blocker... coming off solid weekend in which averaged 4.44 kpg and 1.00 bpg vs. Oregon and Oregon State... hit .526 with 22 kills in win over Oregon (10/18)... also had team-high 18 kill on a .471 hitting percentage vs. Oregon State (10/19)... second on the team with 3.14 kpg and leads ASU with 0.88 blocks per game... leads team and is ranked fifth in the Pac-10 with .379 hitting percentage... ranked 18th in the NCAA with her .379 hitting percentage... recorded 15 kills and was one off of her career high with eight blocks in win over Cal. (10/11)... her four solo blocks vs. Washington (10/3) is the best in the Pac-10 this year and is tied for third with her eight blocks assists vs. Cal (10/11)... has 10 or more kills in 10 of ASU's 14 matches, including 18 vs. Clemson (9/14)... named tournament MVP at Red Raider Classic after averaging 2.90 kills in the two matches... had 14 kills in back-to-back matches vs. South Carolina and #13 Pacific in the season-opening Carolina Classic... named to all-tournament team at Carolina Classic. Career Notes: Ranked third on the team in 2001 by averaging 2.84 kills per game and led ASU with a .352 hitting percentage, notching the second-highest single-season hitting percentage in school history... had career-high 23 kills vs. Washington (10/12/01)... named tournament MVP of Loyola Marymount Volleyball Challenge during junior year... recorded double-digits in kills in 14 of ASU's 26 matches last year... has recorded 42 matches with 10 or more kills and boasts a.341 hitting percentage in 87 career matches as a Sun Devil... two-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection... her 843 kills are eighth most among active Pac-10 players and 270 total blocks are sixth most.
#7 Kim Mehlhorn (5-11, Jr., OH, Tempe, Ariz.) --
Has started nine of the 14 matches this year and seen action in 37 of ASU's 57 games... averaging 1.89 kills per game and 1.51 dpg this year... hit .583 with seven kills off the bench to help ASU to 3-1 win over Oregon State (10/19)... notched consecutive double-doubles at the Red Raider Classic vs. Clemson and Texas Tech... named to all-tournament team at Red Raider Classic... had season-high 15 kills vs. Clemson (9/14)... has recorded double-digits in kills in three matches this year. Career Notes: Recorded 19 matches with 10 or more kills last year, including a string of 14 of the last 15 matches to end the season... ranked eighth in the Pac-10 as a sophomore with 3.83 kills per game in league matches only... averaged 3.88 kills per game over the final 15 matches of 2001... has 16 career double-doubles (most among active Sun Devil hitters) and is averaging 2.33 kpg and 2.11 dpg in her 68 matches as a Sun Devil.
#8 Courtney Blocher (5-7, Jr, LI/OH, Scottsdale, Ariz.) --
Has started all 14 matches this year, with 13 coming at libero and one (Cal; 10/11) at outside hitter... second on the team and sixth in the Pac-10 with 3.19 digs per game... recorded her seventh career 20+ dig match with season-high 24 at Oregon (10/18)... also had 23 digs in five-game win at Washington (10/3)... recorded 20 digs vs. then No. 11 UCLA (9/21)... had 16 digs in five-game win over No. 13 Pacific (9/7)... has recorded 10 or more digs in nine of ASU's 14 matches. Career Notes: Started all 26 matches and played in every game in 2001... recorded four matches with 20+ digs... averaged 3.09 digs per game, second-best on team and ranked fifth in the Pac-10... one of ASU's four sophomores from Chandler's Valley Christian High School... 1999 Arizona Gatorade State Player of the Year... averaging 2.90 digs per game (776 total) and has 41 career matches with 10 or more digs in her 70 matches as a Sun Devil... her 776 digs are eighth most among active Pac-10 players.
#10 Cheryl Anglin (5-9, Jr., S, Queen Creek, Ariz.) --
ASU's starting setter in all 14 matches this year... averaging 10.04 assists per game this year, seventh best in the Pac-10... recorded a Pac-10-best 76 assists at Oregon (10/18) to rank as the sixth-best assist performance in ASU single-match history... the 76 assists are the third most in Anglin's career and established an ASU and Pac-10 rally-scoring record... also dished out 67 assists vs. Clemson (9/14)... moved into second place in ASU career record books for assists (3,118) past former Sun Devil (1989-92) Jennifer Helfrich. Career Notes: Has the most career assists among active Pac-10 setters with 3,118... school single-season record and freshman record holder for assists when she had 1,452 as a freshman in 2000... owns the second (84), fifth (77) and sixth (76) best assist performances in school history... has recorded 39 career matches with 40 or more assists and 24 matches with 50 or more assists in her career... averaging 11.81 assists per game in 70 career matches (264 games) as a Sun Devil.
#11 Jodi Smith (6-1, RS-Jr., MB, St. Johns, Ariz.) --
Has started 13 matches this year at middle blocker... has 10 or more kills in seven of ASU's 14 matches... had career-high eight blocks in five-game win over Cal (10/11)... set season-high with 15 kills vs. Oregon (10/18)... her three solo blocks in the Cal match rank as the third-best performance in the Pac-10... averaging 2.42 kpg to rank third on the team and is second in hitting percentage (behind Julia Leddy) at .269... had career-high three service aces vs. Pacific (9/7)... had 14 kills and hit .370 in win over No. 13 Pacific (9/7)... had 12 kills in four consecutive matches (9/20-10/3). Career Notes: ASU's only two sport female athlete... also a high jumper on the ASU track & field team... tied for third in last year's Pac-10 meet with a jump of 5 ft, 7.25 inches... led the team with 0.86 blocks per game last year and ranked fifth with a 2.27 kill/game average... is averaging 2.28 kpg and is a career .267 hitter in 44 matches (147 games) as a Sun Devil... one of three married players on this year's squad (Habiger, Arnett).
#12 Fernanda Habiger (5-11, Sr., S, Cruzeira, Brazil) --
Has seen action in all 14 matches this year and is contending for more playing time... has been ASU's sparkplug off the bench in wins over Texas Tech (9/15), UCLA (9/21) and Arizona (9/27)... averaging 0.56 blocks per game this year... had a career-high 4.0 blocks vs. UCLA (9/21) and vs. Washington (10/3)... notched a career-high seven kills vs. Washington... averaging 3.51 assists per game, including a career-high 30 in five-game victory over Texas Tech (9/15). Career Notes: Finished her first year as a Sun Devil (2001) with 0.39 kpg, 2.15 assists/game and 0.39 dpg... transferred from Barton County CC in Great Bend, Kansas... one of two ASU players who are native to Brazil... was the JC teammate of Juliana Escobar... one of three players on this years team that is married (Smith, Arnett).
#13 Brittany Arnett (5-7, Sr., DS, Mesa, Ariz.) --
One of three seniors on this years team... will be used as a defensive specialist and backup libero this year... averaging 1.74 dpg in 23 games (10 matches) this year... had season and career high 17 digs in five-game victory over California (10/11)... finished second on the team with 23 service aces last year... one of three players who are married (Smith, Habiger).
#14 Sarah Watkins (5-11, Fr., OH/S, Mishawaka, Ind.) --
One of two true freshmen on this year's squad... played in all three games vs. Creighton (9/7), recording one dig and one service ace... came off the bench in win vs. California (10/11) to record six kills while hitting .308... has played in three matches and eight games this year... a four-time all-conference selection in high school... named state MVP her senior year.
#15 Nora Pirzynski (5-6, Fr., DS/LI, Manhattan Beach, Calif.) --
One of two true freshmen on this year's squad... has seen action in six of ASU's 14 matches this year... had one kills and two digs in ASU debut vs. South Carolina (9/6)... season-high six digs vs. Clemson (9/14)... averaging 0.92 digs per game this year... attended Mira Costa High School where she lettered three years in varsity volleyball... first-team all-CIF as a senior and helped lead Mira Costa to back-to-back CIF championships.
Since the Pac-10 added women's volleyball, the Arizona State Sun Devils have been a defensive powerhouse. Always a trademark of Patti Snyder-Park's system, who herself was an outstanding defensive specialist at Portland State and in professional volleyball, ASU has led the conference in total digs four times during her tenure (1989-P) and digs per game four times as well. In the 16 years of Pac-10 Volleyball, an Arizona State individual has led the conference in digs per game four times. Jami Coughlin led the league in digs twice during her career, in 2001 with a 3.98 average and in 1998 with a 3.62 digs per game average. Current assistant coach Terri Cox led the league in her junior and senior years (1996-97) with a 4.90 and 3.54 per game average respectively. The Devils currently rank sixth in the Pac-10 with a 15.63 dpg average, with Juliana Escobar (5th) and Courtney Blocher (6th) ranking each in the top 10 in the league with 3.42 and 3.19 dpg respectively.
ASU Volleyball has a legacy of academic success in the programs 30-year history. Amanda Burbridge and Jami Coughlin were both named Verizon District VIII Academic All-Americans in 2000 with their outstanding performances in the classroom. Coughlin, who graduated with a perfect 4.0 in Education, was a two-time first-team Academic All-American in the University division. ASU now has 26 Academic All-Conference selections since 1986, the second most in the Pac-10 behind Stanford's 27. Coughlin and Julia Leddy were both named to the Pac-10 All-Academic team in 2001. Six Sun Devils (Anglin, Blocher, Mehlhorn, Habiger, Leddy, Harris) were nominated for Pac-10 All-Academic and Academic All-America this year.
More Rule Changes:
The libero (pronounced 'LEE-bah-ro) is a designated backrow player, intended to be used as a ball-control specialist. The libero is allowed to replace any player in the backrow without counting as a substitution and there is no limit to the number of libero replacements a team is allowed. The color of the libero's uniform must contrast from the color of her teammates' uniforms, but the libero's shorts must be the same as her teammates'. The libero plays only in the backrow but may not serve, block or attempt to block. The addition of the libero comes one year after the NCAA adapted the new rally scoring system with games now played to 30.
For You Stat Rats:
The 2001 season had many changes, including the change to rally scoring and also the introduction of a new category of stats. Now every kill, block and ace will not only earn a team a point, but the responsible player gets a point as well (just as a basketball player contributes 20 points in a game). The formula is as follows: points = kills + service aces + solo blocks + 1/2 block assists. For example, Juliana Escobar leads the team this year with 291.5 points (242 kills, 36 service aces, eight (8) block solos and 11 block assists).
Gatorade State Players of the Year Common at ASU:
Gatorade really is thirst aid for Arizona State University recruits coming out of high school. Several Gatorade Arizona State Players of the Year have gone on to attend ASU. Laura Hibsman (1995), Amanda Burbridge (1997), Jami Coughlin (1998) and Courtney Blocher (1999) have all won the prestigious award as the state's best prep volleyball player.
This is ASU Volleyball:
The ASU Volleyball program is rich in tradition with 12 appearances in the NCAA tournament. The Sun Devils advanced five years in a row in the mid '80s under head coach Debbie Brown, and have made five appearances under current head coach Patti Snyder-Park. The program has an overall 504-350 (.589%) record in 30 years of competition. The program has produced eight players with 1,000 digs and 1,000 kills in a career.
Head Coach Patti Snyder-Park:
Head Coach Patti Snyder-Park begins her 14th and final year at the helm of the ASU volleyball program. Snyder-Park has led ASU to six NCAA appearances in the last 10 years and has posted a winning record in seven of her last 11 seasons. She has posted a career 211-173 (.548) record as a Sun Devil, which ranks first in ASU history. Last year she became the fifth coach in Pac-10 history to surpass the 100-win mark in league play. Her overall Pac-10 record is 112-131 (.456). A graduate of Portland State University, Snyder-Park is assisted by two of her former players, Christine Garner and Terri Cox. Snyder-Park is married to husband John and has three kids; daughters Sydney and Sophia Rae and son Samuel.