Volleyball Opens 2006 Season This Weekend

Aug. 21, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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The 2006 Arizona State Volleyball season gets underway this weekend as the Sun Devils host Loyola Marymount, Northeastern and Utah Valley State in the Hilton Phoenix/East Mesa Sun Devil Volleyball Classic at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU will face Northeastern on Friday night, then take on Utah Valley State and Loyola Marymount on Saturday...Arizona State returns 12 letterwinners from last year's team, including All-Pac-10 honorable mention selections Sydney Donahue and Nicole Morton and Pac-10 All-Freshman Margie Giordano... Arizona State is 24-9 all-time in season openers after losing to #23 St. Mary's last season.

The Tournament Field:
The Sun Devils will see some new faces opening weekend. ASU has never faced Northeastern or Utah Valley State, their first two opponents of the year. They are 3-4 all-time against Loyola Marymount.

Tournament Schedule:
Friday, August 25
5 PM Utah Valley State vs. Loyola Marymount
7 PM Northeastern vs. Arizona State

Saturday, August 26
10 AM Loyola Marymount vs. Northeastern
12 PM Utah Valley State vs. Arizona State
5 PM Northeastern vs. Utah Valley State
7 PM Loyola Marymount vs. Arizona State

Tough Schedule, Again:
Once again the Sun Devils will face a daunting schedule. 15 of their 29 matches will be against teams ranked in the preseason Top 25, including six with Top 10 teams. Six Pac-10 schools made the 2005 NCAA Tornament, with Washington winning the NCAA crown. ASU will host two home tournaments and travel to two road tournaments.

New Coaches:

Head Coach Brad Saindon has brought in a new coaching staff for the 2006 season. Mike Wall and Megan Jacobson both begin their first seasons in Tempe. Wall comes to ASU from Utah, where he spent last season as the first assistant for the Mountain West Conference tournament champions. He has also coached at St. Mary's and UC-San Diego following his successful playing career at BYU. Jacobson spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix. She was named the Coach of the Year by the Arizona Republic following her teams state runner-up finish last season.

Welcome To The Show:

Three freshmen begin their collegiate careers this weekend. Rachel Oligmueller, Paige Mittelstaedt and Nikki Candela will suit up as collegians for the first time, joining the Sun Devils for 2006. Oligmueller and Mittelstaedt were local prep standouts while Candela is a walk-on from California.

Back For More:

Junior libero Sydney Donahue returns for her third season in Tempe and looks to continue her assault on the ASU record books. Last season Donahue set a school record for digs in a season with 628, besting the old record of 601 set in 1990 by Mindy Gowell. She finished second in the Pac-10 in digs, all this a year after shattering the school freshman record for digs in a season. Donahue was an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention in 2005.

Family Matters:

Junior setter Rachel Mittelstaedt will begin her third season in Maroon and Gold, but it will certainly have a different feel than before. That's because she is joined on this year's squad by her cousin, freshman outside hitter Paige Mittelstaedt. Both Mittelstaedt's attended Xavier College Prep before coming to Arizona State to play volleyball. Rachel was a member of two state championship squads at Xavier while Paige led them to a state title last season.

Head Coach Brad Saindon:

Head Coach Brad Saindon is in his fourth season at the helm of the Sun Devil Volleyball program. Saindon has compiled a 27-55 record at ASU and an all-time 271-195 record in 16 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.

Up Next:

The Sun Devils will hit the road for the first time in 2006 as they travel to Auburn, Alabama for the Auburn/Mizuno Challenge. ASU will face the host Tigers on September 1st, then play #16 Purdue and Virginia Tech on September 2nd.


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