Volleyball Returns Home For Pac-10 Openers Vs. Oregon And Oregon State

Sept. 18, 2001

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    The Arizona State volleyball team (4-3, 0-0) will return to the court this weekend after having both of its matches postponed last weekend when they were to open the Pac-10 season with a pair of matches in the Bay Area at California and Stanford. Due to the events in New York City and Washington D.C., all of Division I collegiate volleyball was sidelined, with no immediate plans to reschedule the postponed matches. After going 3-0 and earning top tournament honors at the Loyola Marymount Volleyball Classic (Sept. 7-8), the Devils return to the court to open the Pac-10 season this weekend by hosting Oregon (8-1, 0-0) and Oregon State (5-2, 0-0) at Wells Fargo Arena. Both matches will start at 7 p.m. The Devils were a combined 3-1 vs. the Oregon schools last year, defeating both schools at home and going 1-1 on the road. ASU leads the all-time series with both schools, combining to go 23-7 in school history vs. the Ducks and 23-8 vs. the Beavers. Head coach Patti Snyder-Park is 16-8 vs. the Beavers in her 12-year career, and 22-2 vs. Oregon. She is a combined 20-4 vs. both schools at home. Saturday's 7 p.m. match vs. Oregon State will be Kid's Appreciation Day, with any person 18 years or younger gaining free admission into the match.

    After starting the season 1-3 at their own tournament, the Sun Devils turned the slow start into a driving force for success when they opened their road schedule with a 3-0 weekend. ASU defeated New Mexico (3-1), Indiana (3-0) and preseason-ranked Loyola Marymount (3-1) to take top honors at the Loyola Marymount Volleyball Challenge. Junior middle blocker Julia Leddy (Mesa, Ariz.) took home tournament MVP honors by hitting .412 over the three matches with 25 kills. Sophomore Jodi Smith (St. Johns, Ariz.) was also named to the all-tournament team.

    While senior Jami Coughlin and junior Julia Leddy are the extent of the veteran leadership on the 2001 squad, a group of six talented sophomores make up the core of the team. Tabbed as the 'Sensational Sophomores,' setter Cheryl Anglin, middle blockers Jodi Smith and Mandy Stephens, outside hitter Natalie Harris and utility player Kim Mehlhorn all have a valuable year of experience in the Pac-10 and NCAA Tournament under their belt. Anglin set the school record for assists in a season with 1,452 during her rookie campaign, earning Pac-10 All-Freshman honors. Mehlhorn played a valuable utility role and earned honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman honors. Both, along with outside hitter Natalie Harris and defensive specialist Courtney Blocher, all prepped together at volleyball powerhouse Chandler Valley Christian.

    Arizona State opens its 2001 Pac-10 season this weekend with a pair of matches vs. the Oregon schools. The Sun Devils are a combined 11-10 on the opening weekend of Pac-10 play under current head coach Patti Snyder-Park. ASU is 7-4 when they open the Pac-10 season at Wells Fargo Arena. The Devils have opened their Pac-10 season with the Oregon schools on three prior occasions, last going 2-0 vs. the Ducks and Beavers (both 3-0 wins) in 1999. ASU is a perfect 6-0 when opening the Pac-10 season under Snyder-Park vs. Oregon and Oregon State.

    The 2001 Phoenix Airport Hilton/Sun Devil Challenge was a sign of things to come for the ASU volleyball team. The Devils will open the year with ranked teams in four of their first eight matches. Having already played and lost to preseason #22 Santa Clara and preseason #24 South Carolina. ASU defeated Loyola Marymount 3-1, who was ranked #24 in the preseason. ASU also has two matches each with #3 Arizona, #5 USC, #8 UCLA and possible two more with #4 Stanford remaining in 2001.

    Head Coach Patti Snyder-Park is in her 13th year at the helm of the ASU volleyball program. Snyder-Park has led ASU to five NCAA appearances in the last eight years and has posted a winning record in seven of her last 10 seasons. She has posted a career 195-156 record as a Sun Devil, which ranks first in ASU history. Last year she became the fifth coach in Pac-10 history to surpass the 100-win mark in league play. Her overall Pac-10 record is 101-112. A graduate of Portland State University, Snyder-Park is assisted by sixth-year assistant coach Scott Swanson and second-year assistant Christine Garner. Snyder-Park is married to husband John and has three kids, daughters Sydney (6) and Sophia Rae (9 months) and son Samuel (4). Snyder-Park is only five wins short of 200 for her career.

    Senior outside hitter Jami Coughlin is ASU's leader in kills this season, totaling 118 in ASU's seven matches for a 4.07 kpg average. She also leads the Devils with 3.31 digs per game and has amassed five double-doubles so far this year. Coughlin has the distinct honor of being only the eighth Sun Devil in the program's illustrious history to record over 1,000 digs and 1,000 kills in a career. Her 10 kills in the season finale at Minnesota in 2000 put her over 1,000 in her career. With a stellar start to the 2001 season, Coughlin now has 1,129 kills and 1,234 digs in her career. Her kill mark is ranked ninth in school history, while her 1,234 digs are the most among active Pac-10 players and already the sixth most in ASU history. She needs 401 digs to match the school career record of 1,597 set by Christy Nore (1985-88). Coughlin set a career high with 26 digs in the Duke (12/1/00) match and for the 2000 season recorded 27 matches with at least double-digits in digs. She is off to a fast start again in the dig and kill department in 2001, recording double-doubles in five of her seven matches. Her 4.00 digs per game ranked second in the Pac-10 in 2000, just .01 behind the league leader, while her 464 digs were the fifth most in a season in ASU history. Her dig total in 2000 was the most by a Sun Devil since Mindy Gowell's school record of 601 in 1990. Coughlin was solid all year for the Sun Devils and a true 'iron woman' on the court, playing in each of ASU's 116 games. She tallied 17 double-doubles during her junior campaign and had 20 or more kills in three matches. She also had seven matches with 20 or more digs. Coughlin averaged 3.48 kills per game, which was well above her 2.94 average from 1999, and ranked 10th in the Pac-10. The Glendale native also has a perfect 4.0 GPA in the classroom and was named an All-Pac-10, all-District VIII Academic, and Academic All-American award winner.

    ASU Career Digs1.	Christy Nore	1,5972.	Mindy Gowell	1,3653.	Terri Cox	1,3824.	Leanne Schuster	1,2845.	Christine Garner	1,2536.	Jami Coughlin	1,234

    ASU Career Kills1. Christine Garner 1,8712. Tammy Webb 1,6793. Amanda Burbridge 1,5974. Christy Nore 1,5175. Valentina Vega 1,3929. Jami Coughlin 1,129

    Sun Devil Player Notes...
    #1 Mandy Stephens (6-3, So., MB, Napa, Calif.) --
    Has been solid in the middle with a 3.25 kill per game average in ASU's seven matches... also averaging 0.67 blocks per game, second best on ASU... contributed three service aces as well... matched her career high in kills with 11 vs. Nevada (8/31)... had 10 kills vs. New Mexico... is competing for starting middle blocker position.

    #2 Alicia Akporiaye (6-2, Fr., OH, Tucson, Ariz.) --
    Has started six of ASU's seven matches as a freshman... averaging 1.96 kills per game... had 12 kills and 12 digs vs. Hofstra (9/1)... season-high four block assists in loss to Santa Clara... averaging 0.63 blocks per game... season and career high 17 digs vs. Loyola Marymount... averaging 2.74 digs per game.

    #4 Natalie Harris (5-11, So., OH, Tempe, Ariz.) --
    Played in 11 games and is averaging 1.18 kills per game... hampered by shoulder injury that may sideline her for a few weeks... had 10 digs vs. Nevada in first match of 2001... currently sidelined with shoulder injury... tba when expected back.

    #5 Julia Leddy (6-2, Jr., MB, Mesa, Ariz.) --
    Named tournament MVP of Loyola Marymount Volleyball Challenge... leads ASU with .403 hitting percentage... has recorded double-digits in kills in all five of seven matches... tied career high with 18 kills vs. Santa Clara ... had 8.0 total blocks vs. Loyola Marymount for season high... hit .500 with 14 kills vs. Hofstra... named all-tournament at Phoenix Airport Hilton/Sun Devil Challenge... averaging 2.93 kills per game.

    #7 Kim Mehlhorn (5-11, So., OP/OH, Tempe, Ariz.) --
    Averaging 2.54 kills per game and 2.23 digs per game this season... has started six of ASU's seven matches... moved into starting role at opposite hitter at LMU Volleyball Classic... recorded career high in kills in consecutive days with 15 vs. New Mexico (9/7) and 16 vs. Loyola Marymount (9/8)... also had 14 kills in season opener vs. Nevada (8/31)... her dig average ranks fifth on the team.

    #8 Courtney Blocher (5-7, So., DS/OH, Scottsdale, Ariz.) --
    Has started all seven matches in 2001... has tallied double-digits in digs in four matches this year... season-high 13 digs vs. Nevada (8/31)... in addition to duties as defensive specialist, may see time at outside hitter with injury to Natalie Harris... averaging 2.55 digs per game, third best on team.... leads ASU with .41 serving aces per game.

    #9 Crystal Bluth (5-11, Jr., OH, Las Cruces, N.M.) --
    Transfer from Auburn who has played in five games this year... averaging 2.00 kills per game and 0.80 digs... also has 0.20 blocks per game to her credit... has added a spark to the ASU lineup when inserted... in addition to providing depth off the bench, may see increased playing time with injury to Harris.

    #10 Cheryl Anglin (5-9, So., S, Queen Creek, Ariz.) --
    School single-season record holder for assists when she had 1,452 in 2000... averaging 11.07 assists per game this year as ASU's starting setter... improved defense with 1.76 digs per game and is fourth on the team with 0.17 service aces per game... had 60 assists in season opener vs. Nevada (8/31), her ninth career match logging over 60 assists... had season high three kills vs. South Carolina (9/1)... Anglin has three matches with 50+ assists in 2001... she has a column on ASU's website titled Coughlin's Corner and Anglin's Angle.

    #11 Jodi Smith (6-1, So., MB, St. Johns, Ariz.) --
    ASU's only two sport female athlete... also a high jumper on the ASU track & field team... has been battling Mandy Stephens for starting role at middle blocker... named to all-tournament team at LMU Volleyball Classic... has three matches with double-digit kills, including career-high 13 kills vs. Loyola Marymount (9/8)... also had 12 kills vs. South Carolina (9/1)... added career high four total blocks vs. South Carolina... third on the team with 0.64 blocks per game... averaging 2.73 kpg, fourth best on ASU, and her .395 hitting percentage is second behind Julia Leddy... has started six matches.

    #12 Fernanda Habiger (5-11, Jr., S, Cruzeira, Brazil) --
    Has seen limited action on the court while still learning the offense... has played in six matches and 17 games... recorded 12 assists and four kills vs. South Carolina (9/1)... credited with two block assists vs. Hofstra... credited with season high 15 assists vs. Indiana... averaging 0.76 kills per game and 3.24 assists.

    #13 Brittany Ahlstrom (5-7, Jr., DS, Mesa, Ariz.) --
    Junior defensive specialist who has played in all 29 games for the Sun Devils... second on the team with 13 service aces, including team high four vs. Loyola Marymount... averaging 2.24 digs per game, fourth best on the squad... had career high 16 digs vs. Loyola Marymount (9/8).

    #14 Jami Coughlin (6-0, Sr., OH, Glendale, Ariz.) --
    ASU's lone senior and team co-captain... led all players at the Phoenix Airport Hilton/Sun Devil Challenge with 75 kills for a 4.17 per game average... named to the all-tournament team... has three 20+ kill matches this year... is currently the active career leader in the Pac-10 with 1,196 career digs... her 1,234 career digs rank sixth in ASU history... also has 1,129 career kills which ranks her ninth in school history... is only the 8th player in ASU volleyball history with 1,000 career digs and 1,000 career kills... has recorded double-digits in digs in 68 of her 89 matches played as a Sun Devil, including 13 career matches with 20 or more digs, and owns a career 3.62 dpg average... also has 10 career matches with 20 or more kills and three career 20-20 matches... first-team Academic All-American last year with a 4.0 GPA in Education... averaging 4.07 kills and 3.31 digs per game in 2001.

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