Sun Devils Fall To Minnesota, 3-1

Dec. 2, 2000

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Outside hitter Nicole Branagh tallied 31 kills and 10digs to lead the No. 9 Minnesota Golden Gophers to a 3-1 win over theArizona State University Sun Devils in second round action of the NCAAVolleyball Tournament held at the Sports Pavilion on the University ofMinnesota campus.

The win improved the Gophers' overall record to 30-3 on the year, markingthe first time in school history Minnesota has reached the 30-win plateauin a season. ASU finished the year 18-12, winning the most matches in aseason since 1995.

The Sun Devils, who made their 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament inschool history, advanced to the second round by way of beating Duke 3-1 onFriday night. Minnesota handed Robert Morris a quick, 53-minute 3-0 lossin the other first-round match held Friday in Minneapolis. With the 15-12,10-15, 15-7, 15-6 victory, Minnesota moves on to the Sweet 16, and willplay the University of California-Santa Barbara in Honolulu, Hawai'i nextThursday. ASU is now 6-13 all-time in NCAA Tournament action, and evenedup the head-to-head series with Minnesota at 1-1.

While the Sun Devils lost the match, it was not without a fight. Senioroutside hitter Amanda Burbridge (Scottsdale, Ariz.) finished herillustrious ASU career with a bang, tallying 19 kills and a career highseven service aces. With 1,597 career kills, Burbridge ended her careerranked third in the ASU record books and her 599 kills this season broke aschool record by 44. The senior did not have a match with less thandouble-digit kills this season and her seven service aces vs. Minnesotarank third in single-match school history. Burbridge also contributed fiveblocks and six digs.

'I thought it was an incredibly competitive match, there were long rallies,tough serving and great play all around,' said ASU head coach PattiSnyder-Park. 'We hurt ourselves with our passing in game four. It is toughbeing down 2-1 and come out and do that. I am really proud of our girlsand what they did this season. Minnesota is just a great team and I wishthem all the luck in the world as they move on.'

With eight players returning, the Sun Devils will be armed and loaded whenthe 2001 season rolls around. Junior outside hitter Jami Coughlin(Glendale, Ariz.) returns with 1,011 career kills under her belt and is theactive leader my a wide margin in the Pac-10 in career digs. She is onpace to break the school record for career digs, needing 460 digs next year.

Freshman setter Cheryl Anglin (Queen Creek, Ariz.) capped a phenomenalrookie campaign on the court, setting an ASU single-season record with1,452 assists. She blasted the freshmen record of 1,062 and with 38 vs.Minnesota, became the most prolific setter in a single-season in 28 yearsof ASU Volleyball history. Three of her former high school teammates atChandler Valley Christian, Courtney Blocher, Kim Mehlhorn and NatalieHarris, also return next year.

'I was so excited when I found out that I set the record and it is really agreat accomplishment,' said Anglin after the match. 'I know that I got thatbecause of the five other players on the court and our big hitter Amanda(Burbridge). We had awesome passing this year and played great defense. Iam already excited for next year because of what we have returning.'

As a team the Sun Devils served up 12 aces, setting a season high that waspreviously nine set vs. IUPUI on Sept. 9. The Sun Devils did themselves inby hitting .137 for the match, their third lowest percentage of the year.

The Sun Devils came out hot in game one, giving the No. 9 Gophers a run fortheir money before falling 15-12. ASU served exceptionally well, rackingup four service aces. The Sun Devils came into the match averaging only1.34 service aces per game. Coughlin tallied two service aces, whileCourtney Blocher and Cheryl Anglin each contributed one. In a game markedby several long rallies, Minnesota came out on top winning several keypoints when trailing by as much as three. The Gophers out-hit ASU .313 to.178, but the Sun Devils strong defense kept them close throughout thegame. Burbridge led ASU with five kills in the opening frame, whileall-time Big Ten kill leader Branagh racked up 10. The opening game losswas only the seventh of the year for the Sun Devils.

Arizona State continued to play well on both sides of the net in game two,mounting a lead by as much as six early in the game and rolled on to a15-10 win to knot the match at 1-1. Burbridge gave the Sun Devils a hugeboost with four consecutive service aces to expand the ASU lead from 3-1 to7-1. She ended the game with five service aces, one off a career high foran entire match. Burbridge put down eight kills in the second frame,matching Branagh who also had eight.

The Golden Gophers turned it up a notch in game three, scoring the firstsix points, and went on to put the Devils away 15-7. Burbridge added twomore service aces to set a career high with seven, but ASU hit only .063for the game to their demise. Minnesota on the other hand, rode the hothitting of Branagh who added seven more kills and the Gophers hit .464 forthe game.

Minnesota put the match away in the fourth game, taking a 15-6 win toadvance to the Sweet 16 in Hawai'i. Branagh ended the match with 31 kills,tying a school record for kills in a NCAA match. Charnette Fair added 11kills and 10 blocks, and setter Lindsey Berg had a match high 55 assists.

Arizona State 12 10 7 6
Minnesota 15 15 15 15
ASU Statistical Leaders:
KILLS: Amanda Burbridge (19), Jami Coughlin (10)
ASSISTS: Cheryl Anglin (39)
TOTAL BLOCKS: Amanda Burbridge (5)
SERVICE ACES: Amanda Burbridge (7) *3rd in ASU record book*
Attendance: 2,461

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