Volleyball Opens 2005 Season This Weekend

Aug. 22, 2005

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  • AVCA/USA Today Top 25 Poll

    The Arizona State Volleyball team opens the 2005 season this weekend with three matches at the Fremont Investment & Loan Invitational hosted by Cal State Northridge. The Sun Devils will take on No. 23 Saint Mary's and the tournament host Matadors Friday. ASU will then play UNLV on Saturday at 5 p.m. to conclude the opening weekend of the season. Arizona State is coming off a 10-17 season in 2004 and have been picked to finish seventh in the Pac-10.

    ASU in Season Openers:
    ASU is 24-8 all-time in season openers heading into the program's 33rd season. Third-year head coach Brad Saindon is 2-0 in season openers after the Sun Devils upset eventual NCAA Tournament participant Utah in four games in 2003 and taking care of Florida International in four games last season.

    A Tough Schedule:
    ASU's tough slate for the 2005 season includes 14 of its 30 matches against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season. The Sun Devils will also play 14 matches against eight schools that are ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll. Six Pac-10 teams are listed in the preseason top 25, including Washington (#2), Stanford (#3), USC (#7), UCLA (#13), Arizona (#17) and California (#19).

    What Returns:
    The Sun Devils return nearly the entire team from last season with only one regular player being lost to graduation. All total, ASU returns 12 letterwinners and seven players that recorded 10 or more starts last season and the normal libero (Sydney Donahue). Senior setter Giovano Melo is also back for a fifth year of eligibility after suffering a season-ending knee surgery after only three matches last season.

    What Returns:
    The Sun Devils return nearly the entire team from last season with only one regular player being lost to graduation. All total, ASU returns 12 letterwinners and seven players that recorded 10 or more starts last season and the normal libero (Sydney Donahue). Senior setter Giovano Melo is also back for a fifth year of eligibility after suffering a season-ending knee surgery after only three matches last season.

    All-Pac-10 Freshmen:
    Setter Rachel Mittelstaedt, middle blocker Colette Meek and libero Sydney Donahue were all named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team last season. Meek led ASU with 1.20 blocks per game to rank fifth in the Pac-10 and broke the ASU freshman record set previously by Laura Hibsman (1.09) in 1996. Donahue shattered ASU's freshman record with 4.36 digs per game and recorded double-digits in digs in 19 matches. Donahue and Meek were first-team selections, while Mittelstaedt was honorable mention.

    Quick Sets:

    ... So. MB Colette Meek helped lead Alberta to a bronze medal in the 2005 Canada Games.... So. L/DS Alison Lund will miss this weekend's tournament for her sister's wedding in Oregon.... The Devils have advanced to the NCAA Tournament 14 times in school history, including three of the last six seasons (1999, 2000, 2002).... Jr. OH Nicole Morton is ASU's top returning player after averaging 3.53 kpg last season.... ASU's 2.48 blocks per game last season set a team record during the rally-scoring era (2001-P).... ASU will appear on national TV twice this season on FSN -- Arizona (Oct. 7), Cal (Nov. 11).... Fr. OH Margie Giordano was the 2004 Arizona/Gatorade State Player of the Year.

    2004 Season in Review:
    The Sun Devils finished the 2004 season with a 10-17 record and tied for seventh place in the Pac-10 with a 5-13 record... both records (overall and conference) were one-game improvements from 2003 under second-year head coach Brad Saindon... the Sun Devils featured a young team with eight newcomers, including seven freshmen... ASU also had two key knee injuries that sidelined senior setter Giovana Melo and outside hitter Natalie Harris for the entire season... Melo is expected to return for a fifth year of eligibility in 2005... libero Sydney Donahue, middle blocker Colette Meek and setter Rachel Mittelstaedt were all named to the All-Pac-10 Freshman team... Donahue and Meek were first-team selections, while Mittelstaedt earned honorable mention honors... junior outside hitter Sarah Watkins was named first-team All-Pac-10 Academic for the second straight year and sophomore outside hitter Nicole Morton earned honorable mention academic honors... Watkins was also named first-team Academic All-District VIII... ASU has 36 all-academic selections dating back to 1986, leading all Pac-10 schools... Morton led the team with 3.53 kills per game and 349.0 points (3.92 per game average)... she also led the team with 20 matches with double-digits in kills and seven double-doubles... Watkins finished second on the team with 2.97 kills per game and ranked second in the Pac-10 with 0.36 service aces per game (31 aces)... Watkins also had 12 matches with 10 or more kills, including a career-high 24 against Washington State (10/16)... Donahue set ASU freshman records with 4.36 digs per game and 375 total digs in her rookie season as the starting libero... she also broke the single-match freshman record with 30 digs against Oregon State (11/4)... she ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in digs per game (4.36) and sixth in service aces per game (0.30)... she also led all Pac-10 freshman in both statistical categories... Donahue recorded 19 matches with 10 or more digs... Meek set the ASU freshman record with 1.20 blocks per game, ranking fifth in the conference... she became the first Sun Devil to average over 1.00 blocks per game since 1998... senior libero Stephanie Kohner ended her career ranking second on the team with 2.36 digs per game... she came on strong near the end of the season recording double-digits in digs in her last three matches... ASU recorded seven or more blocks in 17 matches and the nine double-digit block matches are six more than the entire season output from 2003... the 17.0 blocks against Cal State Fullerton (9/18) were the most total blocks since 2002 (20.5 vs. California)... Meek's 9.0 total blocks against CSF and Oregon State (10/9) are also the most by a single player since Amanda Burbridge and Michelle Mortensen also had nine in a single match in 2000... ASU's tough schedule included 13 matches against ranked opponents... the competitive Pac-10 conference saw the six teams ahead of ASU earn final top 25 rankings and three teams (USC, Stanford, Washington) advanced to the NCAA Final Four in Long Beach, Calif... with Stanford winning the NCAA title, the Pac-10 has now won four straight national championships.

    All-Pac-10 FreshmanSydney Donahue (1st)Colette Meek (1st)Rachel Mittelstaedt (HM)

    Academic All-Pac-10:Sarah Watkins (1st)Nicole Morton (HM)

    Academic All-District VIII:Sarah Watkins (1st team)

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