Volleyball Travels To Tucson For Rivalry Match With Wildcats

Oct. 21, 2003

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    The Sun Devil Volleyball team (8-10, 3-6 Pac-10) takes a two-match winning streak into its Saturday rivalry match against the University of Arizona (9-11, 3-6 Pac-10) at the McKale Center in Tucson. ASU earned a three-game win over Oregon and inched out a five-game win over Oregon State for its first Pac-10 sweep of the year. ASU defeated Arizona earlier in the year in five games. Junior outside hitter Natalie Harris leads the team and is fifth in the Pac-10 averaging 4.23 kills per game.

    Devils Coming Off Successful Weekend:
    ASU is coming off its most successful weekend thus far during the Pac-10 season. The Devils defeated both Oregon and Oregon State to improve to 3-6 in Pac-10 play. ASU started the weekend by sweeping Oregon in three games (30-17, 30-26, 33-31). Senior outside hitter Juliana Escobar led three Devils in double-digits in kills with 16 (.538 hitting percentage). Natalie Harris also tallied 12 kills and Mandy Stephens had 11 on a .647 hitting percentage. The Devils completed the sweep with a hard-fought five-game win over Oregon State (29-31, 30-16, 27-30, 30-25, 15-13). Escobar (22 kills) and Harris (21 kills, 18 digs) led the way for the Sun Devils. Senior libero Courtney Blocher also tallied a season-high 22 digs. ASU trailed in the deciding fifth game 10-6 before coming from behind to earn its eighth win of the year. For the weekend, Escobar averaged 4.75 kpg on an efficient .411 hitting percentage. Harris (4.12 kpg) and Stephens (3.25 kpg, .478%) also had standout performances on the court.

    The All-Time Series With Arizona:
    ASU leads the all-time series with its rivals to the South, 35-30 (according to ASU records). The Wildcats have held the upper hand in the series as of late though, winning 11 of the last 15 matches. The Sun Devils and Wildcats split the season series last year with each team winning at home in straight sets. The Sun Devils swept Arizona at home last year by scores of 33-31, 30-26, 42-40 on Sept. 27, 2002. It marked ASU's third win against a ranked opponent in 2002 and the 500th victory in ASU Volleyball history. 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 Comeback vs. Arizona:
    The Sun Devils recorded a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind win over No. 22 Arizona (9/26) for their lone Pac-10 victory this season. 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.

    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 Regina Stahl vs. New Mexico in 1984. The performances by Mehlhorn and Watkins both established records under the rally scoring format. For the season, ASU leads the Pac-10 averaging 1.94 aces per game (126 total). The Devils have already surpassed their 2002 total of 122 (27 matches).

    Mehlhorn Heating Up:
    Senior outside Kim Mehlhorn recorded one of the best performance in her career when she hit a career-high .467 with 16 kills against California (10/3). Over her last seven matches, Mehlhorn is averaging 2.30 kills per game. For the season Mehlhorn is third on the team averaging 2.34 kpg and has recorded five matches with 10 or more kills. She is also third on the team with 0.36 service aces per game (22 total) and has recorded five matches with two or more aces.

    Harris Becoming Big-Time Player:
    Redshirt junior Natalie Harris has quickly become ASU's go-to player on the court. For the season, Harris leads ASU and is fifth in the Pac-10 averaging 4.23 kills per game. She also leads the Devils with 0.42 service aces per game (27 total) and is fourth on the team with 2.59 digs per game. She has 15 matches with 10 or more kills (83% of ASU's matches) and has recorded eight double-doubles. Harris made the all-tournament team at the SBC/Sand Regency Volleyball Classic in Reno, Nev. Harris tied her previous career high with 17 digs against Tennessee (9/6) and set a new high with 24 kills. She also had 27.5 points and four total blocks vs. the Lady Vols. She is coming off a solid weekend against Oregon and Oregon State in which she averaged 4.12 kills per game and recorded her fourth 20+ kill performance of the year. She is only eight kills shy of 500 for her career.

    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). Watkins has been one of ASU's most consistent players through 18 matches, averaging 2.26 kills per game to rank fifth on the team and has recorded 10 or more kills in nine matches. She set career highs against Washington State (9/19) with 15 kills (.375), 20.0 points and 4.0 blocks.

    Stephens Fourth in Pac-10 and Sixth in NCAA In Hitting Percentage:
    Senior middle blocker Mandy Stephens (Napa, Calif.) ranks fourth in the Pac-10 and sixth in the NCAA with a .425 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%) during tourney play. 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. She is coming off a solid weekend against the Oregon schools after averaging 3.25 kpg on a .478 hitting percentage. She also set a season high with 15 kills in a five-game win over Oregon State (10/18). For the season, Stephens is averaging 2.32 kills per game and leads ASU with 0.78 blocks per game. She has recorded 10 or more kills in eight matches this year.

    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 18 matches, Escobar is averaging 3.48 kpg and 3.09 digs per game (both second on the team). She has recorded 10 or more kills in 13 matches and has eight double-doubles to her credit. She also ranks second in total points (262.5) and aces per game (0.38). For her career, Escobar has recorded 643 kills (3.97 kpg) and 527 digs (3.25 dpg) while tallying 24 double-doubles.

    Quick Sets:
    * Senior OH Kim Mehlhorn has 745 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 4,054 assists.
    * Juliana Escobar has recorded a double-double in 24 of her 44 (55%) 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 (1,067).
    * ASU has led its opponents in kills in 14 of the 18 matches this year, but also recorded 284 service errors.
    * Saindon became only the second coach in ASU Volleyball history to defeat Arizona in his debut.
    * Saindon compiled a 181-112 (.618) record at Colorado (1986-96) and led CU to six NCAA Tournaments.
    * ASU's nine academic All-Americans are fourth most among Division I volleyball programs.

    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 27th with an average crowd of 982 and the 3,225 vs. Arizona is the 45th highest attended match this year.

    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. ASU is 2-1 this year in five-game matches.

    Anglin Becomes Second Best Setter in ASU History:
    Senior setter Cheryl Anglin became only the second Sun Devil to record 4,000 assists in a career. Anglin gained sole possession of second place in the ASU career record books midway through her junior season, moving past former Sun Devil Jennifer Helfrich. With 4,054 in 101 career matches (10.84 per game average), Anglin has the most assists among active Pac-10 setters. She recorded 76 assists vs. Oregon (10/18/02) to ranks as the sixth most in ASU single-match history and established an ASU and Pac-10 rally-scoring (adopted in 2001) record. Anglin also 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. Anglin leads the Devils with 7.98 assists per game and has recorded seven matches with 30 or more assists.

    ASU Career Assists:1.	Regina Stahl (1984-87)	5,1802.	Cheryl Anglin (2000-P)	4,0543.	Jennifer Helfrich (1989-92)	2,9564.	Noelle Fridrich (1986-89)	2,7315.	Jolynn Faatulu (1995-98)	2,730

    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 37 more digs. Blocher ranks fourth in the Pac-10 averaging 3.55 digs per game this year.

    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.	Courtney Blocher (2000-P)	1,06712.	Amanda Burbridge (1997-00)	1,06013.	Noelle Fridrich (1986-89)	1,050
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