Volleyball Faces Nation's Best With No. 4 Stanford And No. 9 California

Sept. 30, 2003

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    The Arizona State Volleyball team continues its longest Pac-10 home stretch of matches this season by hosting a pair of nationally ranked opponents this week at Wells Fargo Arena. Starting a stretch where the Sun Devils will face four consecutive teams ranked in the top 10 nationally, ASU hosts No. 4 Stanford (Thursday, 7 p.m.) and No. 9 California (Friday, 7 p.m.). The Devils are coming off a thrilling five-game win over rival Arizona and stand at 6-6 overall and 1-2 in Pac-10 play. The Cardinal (10-2) and Golden Bears (12-0) are both undefeated in Pac-10 play.

    A Tough Road Ahead:
    The Pac-10 currently has six teams ranked in the top 25, and ASU is currently in a stretch where they will face all six in a seven match span. ASU is now 1-1 against ranked opponents after knocking off rival No. 22 Arizona last Friday. ASU will host Stanford (#4) and California (#9) Oct. 2-3 and take to the road to face defending national champion USC (#1) and UCLA (#8) on Oct. 10-11. ASU's next four opponents have a combined 13-1 record in Pac-10 play and a 44-4 overall combined record.

    Recapping The Arizona Match:
    The Sun Devils are coming off a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind win over No. 22 Arizona last Friday. The Devils trailed 2-0 heading into the intermission, but stormed back to take the last three games and earn back-to-back wins over Arizona at home for the first time since 1995-96. The Devils were led by a balanced offensive attack that saw four players record double-digits in kills. Natalie Harris recorded 19 kills (.234) and 13 digs for her sixth double-double of the year. Mandy Stephens tallied a season-high 13 kills on a blistering .435 hitting percentage. Juliana Escobar tallied 12 kills and Sarah Watkins contributed 10 in the winning effort.

    Packing the House:
    The official attendance of 3,225 for the Arizona (9/26) match marked only the fourth time since 1990 that an ASU Volleyball match had a crowd of over 3,000. The crowd is the fourth best dating back to 1990 and is second most dating back to the 1994 season. The school record for attendance at a home match was in 1986 against Stanford when 8,516 fans attempted to break the NCAA record. In the weekly AVCA Volleyball Attendance Rankings, ASU ranks 24th with an average crowd of 1,182 and the 3,225 vs. Arizona is the 28th highest attended match.

    Seven Times The Fun:
    Twice so far during the 2003 season a pair of Sun Devils have recorded seven service aces in a single match. The seven aces served up by Sarah Watkins (8/29 vs. Utah) and Kim Mehlhorn (9/26 vs. Arizona) are tied for the third most in ASU single-match history. The school record for service aces in a match is nine set by Reginal Stahl vs. New Mexico in 1984. The performances by Mehlhorn and Watkins both established records under the rally scoring format.

    Down 0-2... No Problem:
    After being down 0-2 to Arizona, the Devils stormed back to capture the thrilling 3-2 win over the Wildcats. The come-from-behind win marked the third straight year under the rally scoring format that ASU has rallied for victory after being down a pair of games. The Devils defeated California (Oct. 11) last year at home by scores of 27-30, 21-30, 30-27, 30-26, 15-10. In 2001, the Devils defeated in-state rival Northern Arizona (Oct. 23, 2001) also after being down 2-0. The Devils came back to defeat the Lumberjacks 28-30, 25-30, 30-21, 30-19, 15-9.

    Blocher Reaches 1,000 Career Digs:
    Senior libero Courtney Blocher made history during the Arizona match when she recorded her 1,000th career dig. Blocher, a three-year starter for the Sun Devils, notched 14 digs to pass the milestone, becoming only the 13th player in Sun Devil Volleyball history to reach 1,000 digs in a career. Current assistant coaches Jami Coughlin (1,528) and Terri Cox (1,382) are second and third respectively in ASU's career record books. To crack the career top 10, Blocher needs 91 more digs. Blocher ranks fourth in the Pac-10 averaging 3.63 digs per game.

    Watkins Inks Name In Record Books:
    Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Watkins etched her name in the ASU record books with a memorable serving performance in the season-opening 3-1 victory over Utah. Watkins, one of ASU's starting outside hitters who played sparingly as a freshman in 2002, recorded seven aces to rank tied for third in the single-match record books. Senior OH Kim Mehlhorn also matched her performance against Arizona (9/26). The last Sun Devil to record seven aces in a single match was All-American outside hitter Amanda Burbridge against Minnesota in the 2000 NCAA Tournament (12/2/00). Watkins has been one of ASU's most consistent players through the first 12 matches of the year, averaging 2.43 kills per game and has recorded 10 or more kills seven times. She set career highs against Washington State with 15 kills (.375) and 4.0 blocks.

    Stephens Second in Pac-10 In Hitting Percentage:
    Senior middle blocker Mandy Stephens (Napa, Calif.) ranks second in the Pac-10 and eighth in the nation with a .432 hitting percentage. She was named the tournament MVP of the SMU Radisson Volleyball classic held Sept. 12-13 in Dallas, Texas. Stephens averaged 3.00 kills per game and did not make a hitting error on 46 attacks (.587%). She recorded one of the best matches of her career in the three-game win over SMU (9/13) when she tallied 10 kills (.625 attack percentage) and a career-high six blocks. For the season, Stephens is averaging 2.43 kills per game and leads ASU with 0.91 blocks per game. In her last seven matches, Stephens has recorded eight or more kills in each match and is averaging 2.80 kills per game. She had a string of four consecutive error-free matches snapped when she had three hitting errors against Washington State (9/19).

    Escobar Earns All-Tournament Trifecta:
    Senior outside hitter Juliana Escobar (Brasilia, Brazil) was named to the all-tournament team in each of ASU's three non-conference tournaments. Through ASU's first 12 matches, Escobar is averaging 3.51 kpg and 3.42 digs per game. She has recorded 10 or more kills in nine matches and has seven double-doubles to her credit. For her career, Escobar has recorded 571 kills (4.05 kpg) and 476 digs (3.38 dpg) while tallying 23 double-doubles.

    Harris Becoming Big-Time Player:
    Redshirt junior outside hitter Natalie Harris likes to set career highs in bunches. In 2002, Harris recorded a career best performance against UCLA (11/21/02) when she tallied 22 kills and 17 digs. Harris tied her career high with 17 digs against Tennessee and set a new high with 24 kills. She also had 27.5 points and four total blocks vs. the Lady Vols. For the season, Harris leads ASU and is fifth in the Pac-10 averaging 4.14 kills per game. She also leads the Devils with 0.51 service aces per game and is third on the team with 2.58 digs per game. She has 10 matches with 10 or more kills and has recorded six double-doubles. Harris made the all-tournament team at the SBC/Sand Regency Volleyball Classic in Reno, Nev.

    Quick Sets:

    *	Senior OH Kim Mehlhorn has 692 career kills, ninth most among active Pac-10 players.*	The Sun Devils feature a roster of six seniors, three juniors, one sophomore and four freshmen.*	Senior setter Cheryl Anglin is second in the ASU career record books with 3,913 assists.*	Juliana Escobar has recorded a double-double in 23 of her 37 (62%) career matches as a Sun Devil.*	Head Coach Brad Saindon and assistants Terri Cox and Jami Coughlin are all ASU graduates.*	Senior libero Courtney Blocher became only the 13th Sun Devil to record 1,000 digs in a career.*	ASU has outscored its opponent 1,204-1,148 in the 12 matches this year and led in kills in all but one match.*	Saindon became only the second coach in ASU Volleyball history to defeat Arizona in his debut.*	Stephens ranks second in the Pac-10 and eighth nationally with her .432 hitting percentage.*	Escobar's 26 digs against Tennessee (9/6) are tied for the most among Pac-10 players this year.*	Saindon compiled a 181-112 (.618) record at Colorado (1986-96) and led CU to six NCAA Tournaments.

    In the Record Books:

    ASU Career Digs:1.	Christy Nore (1985-88)	1,5972.	Jami Coughlin (1998-01)	1,5283.	Terri Cox (1994-97)	1,3824.	Mindy Gowell (1987-91)	1,3655.	Leanne Schuster (1991-94)	1,2846.	Christine Garner (1992-95)	1,2537.	Nancy Christian (1990-93)	1,2218.	Kelly Plaisted (1987-90)	1,1949.	Tammy Webb (1983-86)	1,17810.	Tracey Barberie (1984-87)	1,10411.	Amanda Burbridge (1997-00)	1,06012.	Noelle Fridrich (1986-89)	1,05013.	Courtney Blocher (2000-P)	1,013

    ASU Career Assists:1. Regina Stahl (1984-87) 5,1802. Cheryl Angiln (2000-P) 3,9133. Jennifer Helfrich (1989-92) 2,9564. Noelle Fridrich (1986-89) 2,7315. Jolynn Faatulu (1995-98) 2,730

    ASU Single-Season Assists:1. Cheryl Anglin (2000) 1,4522. Regina Stahl (1985) 1,4503. Noelle Fridrich (1988) 1,4444. Regina Stahl (1986) 1,4135. Regina Stahl (1987) 1,255

    ASU Single-Match Assists:1. Regina Stahl (UW; 10/10/87) 902. Cheryl Anglin (WSU; 10/20/00) 843. Tracy Heflin (Oregon; 10/26/96) 804. Tracy Heflin (UNM; 9/10/93) 785. Cheryl Anglin (Cal Poly; 9/1/00) 776. Cheryl Anglin (Oregon; 10/18/02) 7611. Cheryl Anglin (WSU; 9/23/00) 7113 Cheryl Anglin (Cin; 12/6/02) 70

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