Volleyball Hosts #16 UCLA and #14 USC in Final Home Matches of the Year

Nov. 14, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. -

The Arizona State Sun Devils (7-17 overall, 2-12 Pac-10) return home this weekend to play host to another pair of ranked opponents. ASU will host the 16th ranked UCLA Bruins (16-8 overall, 8-6 Pac-10) on Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena at 7 p.m. MST, and the No. 14 USC Trojans (14-8 overall, 10-4 Pac-10) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. MST. The game against the Trojans is Senior Night. The Devils are coming off a pair of 3-0 losses last weekend to #4 Stanford and #18 California. ASU has now lost four in a row, and 12 of their last 13. UCLA handed #2 Washington their first loss of the season on Saturday, ending the Huskie's 22-game winning streak in five games. They also swept Washington State on Friday night. The Women of Troy split the weekend against the Washington schools, falling 3-0 to the Huskies, but sweeping the Cougars. USC is in fourth place in the Pac-10, while UCLA sits in sixth. This weekend's series continues a streak of six straight matches against ranked teams, which began with Washington on October 28th. It will be the 11th and 12th matches in the last 14 against ranked opponents.

Lights, Camera, Action:

All of ASU's home matches will be available through a fee-based webcast at www.sundevilsportsnetwork.com. Fans can also follow all of ASU's home matches, and most road matches, via the free statistical GameTracker at www.thesundevils.com.

Recapping Last Weekend:

The Sun Devils were swept both Thursday and Friday night, falling to #4 Stanford Thursday and #18 California on Friday. Junior Nicole Morton posted a double-double against the Cardinal, leading ASU with 18 kills and adding 10 digs. Sophomore Sydney Donahue had a huge evening against the Golden Bears, recording 37 digs to lead the Sun Devils.

Series History vs. UCLA:

The Sun Devils trail the Bruins in the all-time series 53-6, and have lost six straight matches to UCLA dating back to September 21, 2002. ASU fell to UCLA on October 22, three games to one.

Series History vs. USC:

USC holds a 46-10 advantage over the Sun Devils, including an 11-match winning streak. ASU has not beaten the Women of Troy since November 11, 1995.

Quick Sets -- Release Highlights:

• 14 of ASU's 17 losses have come against teams ranked in the top 25 at some point this season.

• Libero Sydney Donahue has recorded 10 or more digs in 37 of her 40 career matches.

• The Sun Devils are second in the Pac-10 behind USC averaging 17.86 digs per game.

• OH Nicole Morton leads the Sun Devils averaging 3.23 kpg and has recorded six double-doubles.

• L/DS Sydney Donahue needs only 76 digs in the remaining four matches to set the ASU record.

• Seniors Giovana Melo and Sarah Watkins will play their final home matches this weekend.

Senior Weekend:

Saturday night's match-up with USC will be the final home contest for seniors Giovana Melo and Sarah Watkins. Melo, a setter from Brazil, leads the Sun Devils with 663 assists, averaging 9.21 per game. For her career, she averages 7.4 assists per game entering this weekend. Melo is also the team's captain this season. Watkins, an Outside Hitter from Mishawaka, Wisc., is averaging just over two kills a game for her career. She is a three-time CoSIDA All-District VIII Academic honoree, and has twice been named to the All-Pac-10 All-Academic First-Team.

Donahue Digs and Serves Her Name Into The Record Books:

Sophomore libero Sydney Donahue ranks second in the Pac-10 averaging 6.25 digs per game and has recorded the second, third, fourth, sixth and 10th-best dig performances in ASU history through the first 24 matches this season. She recorded 43 digs in ASU's five-game loss to Notre Dame on Sept. 4, nearly eclipsing the 17-year-old school record of 44 digs set by Christy Nore in 1988. In addition to being the second most digs in single-match school history, Donahue's stellar defensive performance established an ASU rally-scoring record (previous was 30), tied for fourth most in Pac-10 history and are the fifth-most by any player in the country this season. Her 37 digs against Cal (11/11) were good enough for the fourth most in ASU history. Donahue also recorded 34 digs against Texas State (9/10) to tie for the fifth most digs in school history and 33 digs against Washington State (10/1) to tie for seventh.. Donahue also etched her name in the record books when she recorded seven aces against Oregon State (9/24), tying the ASU rally-scoring record and ranking third in the ASU single-match record book. In 24 matches this season, Donahue has recorded double-digits in digs in all but three matches and has 13 matches with 20 or more digs. She has recorded 900 digs in her ASU career (5.29 per game average). Donahue needs to average 19 digs per game over the last four games to tie the ASU school record for digs in a season Mindy Gowell had 601 digs in the 1990 season. She is already on pace to shatter the school record for digs per game. Donahue is averaging 6.35 digs a contest, which would obliterate the previous record of 4.92 set by Christy Nore in 1988.

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 have already played 14 of their 22 matches against teams that were ranked in the AVCA/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll, including Washington, Stanford, Notre Dame, Arizona, California, USC, UCLA, Texas and Saint Mary's. The Devils will also play six Pac-10 teams that are currently listed top 25, including UW (#2), Stanford (#4), Arizona (#8), California (#18), USC (#14) and UCLA (#16).

Head Coach Brad Saindon:

Head Coach Brad Saindon is in his third season at the helm of the Sun Devil Volleyball program. Saindon has compiled a 26-52 record at ASU and an all-time 270-192 record in 15 seasons at the collegiate level. He coached the University of Colorado to a 181-112 record from 1986-96, leading the Buffalos to six NCAA Tournaments and two Sweet 16 appearances. He was also the head coach of the Australian Women's National Team in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Saindon graduated from ASU in 1976 with a degree in business administration.

The Coaching Staff:

Assistant coaches Terri Spann and Jami Coughlin join head coach Brad Saindon as graduates of Arizona State. Both Spann and Coughlin were standout outside hitters for the Sun Devils during their respective collegiate careers. Spann (1994-97) earned All-Pac-10 honors in 1996 and ranks third in the ASU career record books in digs (1,382) and ninth in kills (1,185). Coughlin (1998-2001) ranks second with 1,528 career digs and sixth with 1,360 kills. They are among the elite to ever wear the Maroon and Gold as they are two of eight players in ASU.

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