Volleyball Opens NCAA Tournament Thursday

Nov. 28, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Listen To Coach Saindon Talk About The NCAA Tournament

Listen To Senior N. Reeves Talk About The NCAA Tournament

For the first time since 2002, the Arizona State Sun Devils are headed to the NCAA Tournament...ASU will face the College of Charleston in the First Round of the tournament in Gainesville, Florida on Thursday at 3 p.m. Arizona time...This is the 15th all-time NCAA appearance for the Sun Devils.


Gainesville, Florida Bracket:

ASU is joined by College of Charleston (27-7), Florida A&M (21-6) and the #9 national seed Florida (28-2). The Sun Devils have never faced any of the three teams in the bracket. The Gators are ranked 7th in the AVCA Coaches Poll. They are the only ranked team in the bracket.


Tough Regular Season Schedule:

The Sun Devils faced 11 teams who earned NCAA Tournament bids during the regular season, including six national seeds. ASU faced national seeds Stanford (#2), UCLA (#4), USC (#5), Washington (#6), OhioState (#11) and Purdue (#14). They defeated tournament-bound Notre Dame, MichiganState and Oregon.


Career Highs:

Margie Giordano has set new career highs with her 23 kills against Washington State on Nov. 16, and her 23 digs against Butler...Sydney Donahue's 50 digs against LMU are a career high and NCAA record for digs in a three-game match...Danielle Fernandes set a career high in kills, three times recording ten against UVSC, LMU and Duke...Tierra Burnley set a career high with 14 kills against California on Oct. 28.


Quick Sets :

•    Sydney Donahue has recorded 10 or more digs in 73 of her 83 career matches.

•    Sydney Donahue has recorded double-digit digs in  straight matches.

•   Nina Reeves is writing a weekly blog on TheSunDevils.com.



Last Week's Rewind:

The Sun Devils swept the Arizona Wildcats on Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena, marking the first time since 1995 that they beat the Wildcats twice in the same year...1,607 fans witnessed Nina Reeves total 13 kills in her final home match to lead the Devils to the 3-0 win. She added 13 digs for her seventh double-double of the year. Margie Giordano recorded her 13th double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs. Sydney Donahue added 24 digs in the win.


Syd's New Record(s):

Junior libero Sydney Donahue became the all-time leading digger in ArizonaStateUniversity volleyball history on Nov. 10 during the 3-1 win over Oregon. In that match, Donahue recorded her 1,598th career dig, moving her past Christy Nore for the top spot. Donahue now has 1,698 digs over her almost three seasons in Tempe. She also broke her own record for digs in a season, surpassing the 628 she recorded last year. Donahue currently leads the Pac-10 in total digs (695) and digs per game (6.62). The 695 digs is the third most in Pac-10 history. The conference record is 708, set by UCLA's Chrissie Zartman in 2004. Donahue totaled over 20 digs in 21 matches this season, including five straight to end the regular season.


                ASU CAREER DIGS

                1. Sydney Donahue (2004-Present)- 1,698

                2. Christy Nore (1985-88)- 1,597


                ASU SINGLE SEASON DIGS

                1. Sydney Donahue, 2006- 695 (Current)

                2. Sydney Donahue, 2005- 628

                3. Mindy Gowell, 1990- 601

Reeves To The Rescue:

Senior Nina Reeves has very quietly been a killing machine this season. She leads the team with 335 kills, an average of 3.22 per game and she's turned in seven double-doubles, including a 19 kill, 24 dig performance against WashingtonState on Nov. 18.


Morton Magnificent:

Senior outside hitter Nicole Morton is closing out her outstanding Sun Devil career in style. She is second on the team in kills (331) and kills per game (3.21) while hitting at a .232 clip. She led the team last season with 300 kills and was named honorable mention All-Pac-10. She earned an Academic All-Pac-10 honorable mention for the second straight season.


No Sophomore Slump:

Sophomore outside hitter Margie Giordano has picked up right where she left off last season when she was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. Giordano has played rock solid so far this year, totaling 316 kills for an average of 3.01 per game. Margie is also second on the squad in digs, totaling 369. She is also tied for the team lead with her 27 service aces. Giordano leads the squad with 13 double-doubles.


Knowledge Is Its Own Reward:

Junior middle blocker Colette Meek has been named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII Second Team. She was also named an Academic All-Pac-10 First Team selection after earning Second Team honors a season ago. Meek was joined on the First Team by redshirt freshman setter Marina Mercer, while junior setter Rachel Mittelstaedt was a Second Team honoree. This marks the eighth consecutive season the Sun Devils have had a First Team selection. ArizonaState now has 41 all-time Academic All-Pac-10 selections (first and second teams), tops in the Pac-10 since 1996.


Pac-10 Awards:

Three Sun Devils have earned postseason honors from the Pacific-10 Conference. Setter Marina Mercer was named to the 2006 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team, the second straight year an ASU player has earned the honor. Last season Margie Giordano earned the distinction. Mercer, a redshirt freshman, leads the team with 1,070 assists. Junior libero Sydney Donahue and senior outside hitter Nicole Morton were both named All-Pac-10 honorable mentions. It is the second straight season that Donahue and Morton have earned honorable mentions from the conference.


Family Matters:

Junior setter Rachel Mittelstaedt is in her third season in Maroon and Gold, but this season has a different feel than the previous three. 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 ArizonaState to play volleyball. Rachel was a member of two state championship squads at Xavier while Paige led them to a state title last season.


Postseason History:

This year's NCAA selection marks the 15th time ArizonaState has been selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. Their previous trip was in 2002, when they were sent to the Lincoln, Nebraska regional. They defeated the University of Cincinnati 3-2 in the first round before being swept by #4 Nebraska on their home floor. The three year absence from tournament play ties the longest in school history. The Sun Devils missed the tournament from 1996 to 1998. ASU's best ever NCAA finish came in both 1994 and 1995 when the team earned Sweet 16 appearances. Both of those teams were coached by Patti Snyder-Park, who took ASU to seven NCAA Tournaments.


ASU Veterans, Tournament Rookies:

None of the 15 student-athletes on the roster have played in the NCAA Tournament. Senior Nina Reeves has played in the most career matches without a postseason apperance, seeing action in 109 matches. Senior Nicole Morton has played in 95 matches without a postseason appearance. Senior Tierra Burnley is right behind them with 93 matches played. The three senior have combined for 922 total games played before their first postseason match.


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 41-69 record at ASU and an all-time 285-209 record in 16 seasons at the collegiate level. He coached the University of Colorado to a 181-112 record from 1986-96, leading the Buffaloes 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. This season marks his first postseason appearance with the Sun Devils and seventh overall. He is assisted by Mike Wall and Megan Jacobson, both in their first season. This will be Wall's third straight NCAA Tournament appearance after coaching Utah (2005) and St. Mary's (2004) into the tournament.


2006 Sun Devil Player Notes:


#1 Alison Lund (5-6, Jr., L/DS, Bowie, Md.) -- Has seen action in 28 matches, starting 16 of them...Academic All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention...has 173 digs for an average of 1.84 per game...topped the ten-dig mark three times, including a season high 12 against Oregon State on Nov. 9...has also recorded eight service aces.


#2 Tierra Burnley (5-11, Sr., MB, Clarita, Calif.) -- Has played in 26 matches, starting 13...leads the team with a .276 hitting percentage...has 142 kills (1.87 per game)...has collected 63 total blocks, including 12 solo and 51 assists...three times has totaled six blocks in a match...recorded a career-high 14 kills against California on Oct. 28.


#3 Staci Smith (6-1, Jr., MB, Gresham, Ore.) -- Has appeared in 28 matches, starting 25...second on the team with a .269 hitting percentage...leads the team with 92 total blocks, averaging .94 per game...has 181 kills, averaging 1.85 per contest...tied for the team lead with 27 service aces...recorded a season high 18 kills against USC on Oct. 6...had seven total blocks, a season high, against California on Oct. 28.


#4 Rachel Oligmueller (5-9, Fr., OH/L, Scottsdale, Ariz.) -- Has not played this season and will redshirt.


#5 Rachel Mittelstaedt (6-1, Jr., S, Phoenix, Ariz.) -- Has played in 18 matches, starting five...Academic All-Pac-10 Second Team selection...second on the team with 199 assists, an average of 4.42 per game...turned in a double-double with 21 assists and ten digs against Duke on Sept. 15...had a season high 25 assists against Northeastern on Aug. 25.


#6 Paige Mittelstaedt (6-3, Fr., MB, Phoenix, Ariz.) -- Has played in 20 matches during her freshman season, starting once...has 58 kills and a 1.38 hitting percentage...has 12 total blocks...had a breakout match against Stanford on Oct. 27, recording 15 kills.


#7 Kristen Trayser (6-1, Jr., OH/MB, Crystal Lake, Ill.) -- Will miss the entire season due to a back injury.


#9 Marina Mercer (5-11, R-Fr., S, Chandler, Ariz.) -- Seen action in all 29 matches, starting 22 of them...named to the Freshman All-Pac-10 Team...First Team Academic All-Pac-10 selection...took over the full-time setter duties midway through the season...leads the team with 1,070 assists, the highest total for a Sun Devil since 2001...had a season high 62 assists against Washington State on Oct. 20...has 27 kills on the year and a .162 hitting percentage...also has 21 service aces...has added 160 digs.


#10 Colette Meek (6-1, Jr., MB, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada) -- Has appeared in 25 matches, starting 20...ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII Second Team selection...Academic All-Pac-10 First Team selection...has totaled 62 blocks this season, seven solo and 55 assists...has 84 kills...hitting at a .203 clip...had a season high seven blocks against Cal on Sept. 29.


#11 Nina Reeves (5-8, Sr., OH, Gilbert, Ariz.) -- Has appeared in all 29 matches, starting 26 of them...Academic All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention...leads the team with 335 kills, averaging 3.22 per game...leads the team in total attacks with 1,077...has 13 service aces...has recorded 201 digs...has 62 blocks...has scored seven double-doubles...twice killed a season high 19 (Nov. 10 vs. Oregon, Nov. 16 at Washington State)...had a season high 24 digs against Washington State on Nov. 16.


#12 Nicole Morton (5-10, Sr., OH, Fallbrook, Calif.) -- Has played in all 29 matches, starting in 14...All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention...Academic All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention...second on the team with 331 kills...averages 3.21 kills per game...hitting at a .232 clip...has recorded 21 service aces...so far has 167 digs...second on the team with 68 total blocks...recorded a seaosn high 21 kills against Arizona on Sept. 22...had a season high 23 digs against Loyola Marymount on Aug. 26...totaled a season high seven blocks against USC on Oct. 6


#14 Nikki Candela (5-9, Fr., OH/DS, Northridge, Calif.) -- Has not played this season and will redshirt.


#15 Sydney Donahue (5-7, Jr., L, Manhattan Beach, Calif.) -- Has played in all 29 matches...Honorable Mention All-Pac-10...having perhaps the finest defensive season in Sun Devil volleyball history...has already shattered the school's single season record with 695 digs, breaking her own record of 628 set last year...is ASU's all-time leading digger with 1,698 career digs...leads the Pac-10 in both digs and digs per game (6.62) and is only 13 digs away from tying the Pac-10 single season record...set a new NCAA record for digs in a three-game match with 50 against Loyola Marymount on Aug. 26...has topped the 30-dig mark five times and the 20-dig mark 21 times, including a current five match streak...also has 17 service aces.


#18 Margie Giordano (5-10, So., OH, Glendale, Ariz.) -- Has played in all 29 matches, leading the team with 28 starts...third on the team with 316 kills, averaging 3.01 per game...tied for the team lead with 27 service aces...second on the squad with 369 digs...has recorded 13 double-doubles...had a career high 23 kills against Washington State on Nov. 16...had a career high 23 digs against Butler on Sept. 16.


#32 Danielle Fernandes (6-1, Jr., OH, Santa Monica, Calif.) -- Has seen action in 15 matches, starting two...Academic All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention...has not played since Nov. 9 due to a knee injury...has totaled 81 kills on the year...three times had a career high ten kills (Aug. 26 vs. Utah Valley State, Aug. 26 vs. Loyola Marymount, Sept. 15 vs. Duke.)


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