Volleyball Looking To End Six-Match Losing Streak In Oregon

Oct. 16, 2001

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    The Arizona State Sun Devil volleyball team (5-9, 1-6 Pac-10) continues its 14-day, seven-match stretch this week with a road series at Oregon and Oregon State. ASU will be looking to end a six-match losing streak against the Ducks Thursday night at 7 p.m., and then make the one-hour bus ride from Eugene to Corvallis to battle the third-place Oregon State Beavers. ASU returns home for its last non-conference match of the year vs. Northern Arizona (Oct. 23). The Devils have 12 matches remaining in the regular season, including the makeup matches vs. Stanford and Cal at the end of the season. Those matches have been officially scheduled for Nov. 24-25 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. respectively.

    Thursday's match against the Oregon Ducks in Eugene is the featured Pac-10 match of the week and will run on a tape-delayed basis on Fox Sports Net across the country on Saturday morning. ASU Volleyball fans can view the match in its entirety on Saturday morning starting at 10 a.m. The Sun Devils were 0-2 on television last year, dropping two matches to UCLA. ASU is not scheduled to appear on TV again in 2001.

    Something has got to give when the Devils square off against the Oregon Ducks (8-9, 0-7 Pac-10) in the Pac-10/Fox Sports Net Match of the week. Both schools are at the bottom of the conference standings with ASU having lost six straight and the Ducks currently in a eight-match slide. Oregon is 0-7 in Pac-10 play and is 2-23 in league play dating back to the start of the 2000 season. ASU has dominated the all-time series with a 24-7 record and has swept the Ducks in 10 of the 12 seasons under head coach Patti Snyder-Park. ASU has not lost on McArthur Court since Oct. 5, 1990 when Snyder-Park was in only her second year at the helm of the Sun Devils. ASU swept the Ducks in the Pac-10 opener for both schools earlier this year (30-17, 30-19, 30-27).

    The Oregon State Beavers head into Friday's match with ASU carrying a three-match win streak and are in third place in the Pac-10 with a 12-4 record, 5-2 in Pac-10 play. The Beavers already defeated ASU earlier this year with a 3-2 come-from-behind win. ASU still dominates the all-time series with OSU 23-9, but have struggled in recent years at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. ASU is 2-4 dating back to 1995 when playing the Beavers on the road. ASU head coach Patti Snyder-Park is 7-5 in her 12-year career against the Beavers on the road. ASU dropped last year's match in Corvallis 3-1 (15-11, 11-15, 12-15 12-15) and have not lost consecutive road matches to OSU since 1996-97.

    The Sun Devils couldn't end their losing streak, dropping a pair of 3-1 matches to Washington and Washington State over the weekend. ASU endured its first loss to the Huskies in Tempe since 1998 and the first at home against the Cougars since 1997. ASU was last swept by the Washington schools in 1996. Despite going 0-2 on the weekend, several Sun Devils had notable performances. Junior middle blocker Julia Leddy had a career-high 23 kills vs. UW, while hitting .500. Sophomore Courtney Blocher has moved into a full-time role on the court, playing the front row as a opposite hitter. Blocher had a pair of 20-dig matches and contributed six kills against the Cougars. Senior Jami Coughlin averaged 3.88 kills and 5.00 digs in the two matches. Sophomore Kim Mehlhorn bettered her career high in kills in both matches, tallying 18 vs. UW and 19 vs. WSU.

    The Sun Devils will be looking to avoid their first seven-match losing streak since the end of the 1997 season when they dropped seven straight Pac-10 matches en route to a 9-15 record. ASU also had a seven-match losing streak in 1989, Snyder-Park's first year as ASU's head coach. ASU's endured a school-record nine-match losing streak in 1996.

    Sun Devil Player Notes...

    #1 Mandy Stephens (6-3, So., MB, Napa, Calif.) --
    Has been solid in the middle with a 2.75 kill per game average, playing in 11 matches and 24 games... also averaging 0.54 blocks per game, fourth 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... had five kills and two blocks vs. Oregon (9.21)... eight kills vs. UCLA (9/29)... has four career 10+ kill matches.

    #2 Alicia Akporiaye (6-2, Fr., OH, Tucson, Ariz.) --
    Has started 12 of ASU's 14 matches as a freshman... averaging 1.73 kills per game... had 12 kills and 12 digs vs. Hofstra (9/1)... contributed second double-double of 2001 with 10-kill, 15-dig effort vs. Arizona (10/5)... season-best 6.0 total blocks vs. Arizona as well... season-high four block assists in loss to Santa Clara... averaging 0.67 blocks per game to rank third on team... season and career high 17 digs vs. Loyola Marymount... fourth on team with 2.47 digs per game.

    #4 Natalie Harris (5-11, So., OH, Tempe, Ariz.) --
    Played in 11 games and is averaging 1.18 kills per game... 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.) --
    Coming off career-high 23 kills vs. Washington ... added career-high seven digs vs. Washington State... named tournament MVP of Loyola Marymount Volleyball Challenge... leads ASU hitters with .356 hitting percentage, seventh in the Pac-10... has recorded double-digits in kills in eight of ASU's 14 matches and has 26 in her career... 18 kills vs. Santa Clara (8/31) ... 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... her 0.74 blocks per game average is second on the team... averaging 2.80 kills per game, third best on ASU.

    #7 Kim Mehlhorn (5-11, So., OP/OH, Tempe, Ariz.) --
    Has been one of ASU's most potent weapons on the court as of late... has broken her career high in kills five times this season... most recently with 19 kills vs. Washington State (10/13)... averaging 2.98 kpg (second on team) and 2.65 dpg (third on team) this season... set career high with 19 digs vs. Oregon State (9/22)... has started 13 of ASU's 14 matches... moved into starting role at opposite hitter at LMU Volleyball Classic... recorded 15 kills vs. New Mexico (9/7) and 16 vs. Loyola Marymount (9/8), which were then career highs... also had 14 kills in season opener vs. Nevada (8/31)... also ranked third with 170.5 points... has recorded six double-doubles in 2001... eight matches with 10 or more kills this year... seven matches with 10+ digs.

    #8 Courtney Blocher (5-7, So., DS/OH, Scottsdale, Ariz.) --
    Has started all 14matches in 2001... has tallied double-digits in digs in seven matches this year, including back-to-back 20+ dig matches... moved into a full-time role and will play the front row as an outside hitter... set career high with 21 digs vs. Washington (10/12).... had six kills vs. New Mexico (9/7) and added five vs. Washington State (10/13)... averaging 2.78 digs per game, second-best on team.... has 15 service aces to rank third on the team... one of ASU's four sophomores from Chandler's Valley Christian High School... 1999 Arizona Gatorate State Player of the Year.

    #9 Crystal Bluth (5-11, Jr., OH, Las Cruces, N.M.) --
    Transfer from Auburn who has played in 11 games this year... averaging 1.27 kills per game and 1.18 digs... also has 0.09 blocks per game to her credit... career-high six digs vs. Oregon State (9/22)... three kills vs. Arizona (10/5)... has added a spark to the ASU lineup when inserted.

    #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 11.05 assists per game this year as ASU's starting setter to rank seventh in the Pac-10... improved defense with 1.80 dpg, including three matches with 10+ digs... season-high 61 assists vs. Washington, her 11th career match with 60+ assists... had 60 assists in season opener vs. Nevada (8/31)... has six matches this year with 50+ assists... had season and career-high six kills vs. Oregon (9/21)... co-authors a column on ASU's website titled Coughlin's Corner and Anglin's Angle... currently ranked fifth among active Pac-10 setters with 2,060 in her career, but is the only underclassman on that list.

    #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... named to all-tournament team at LMU Volleyball Classic... has three matches with double-digits in kills, including career-high 13 vs. Loyola Marymount (9/8)... also had 12 kills vs. South Carolina (9/1)... added career high four total blocks vs. South Carolina... leads the team with 0.78 blocks per game... averaging 2.04 kpg, sixth best on ASU... had 4.0 total blocks vs. both Oregon (9/21) and Oregon State (9/22).

    #12 Fernanda Habiger (5-11, Jr., S, Cruzeira, Brazil) --
    Has played in 12 matches and 30 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... career-high six digs vs. USC (9/28)... averaging 0.50 kills per game and 2.63 assists in 2001.

    #13 Brittany Arnett (5-7, Jr., DS, Mesa, Ariz.) --
    Junior defensive specialist who has played in all 55 games... second on the team with 17 service aces, including team high four vs. Loyola Marymount (9/8)... averaging 2.04 dpg, fifth best on the squad... had career high 16 digs vs. Loyola Marymount (9/8)... has recorded six matches with 10+ digs... a deadly jump serve, but also leads team with 33 service errors... formerly Brittany Ahlstrom.

    #14 Jami Coughlin (6-0, Sr., OH, Glendale, Ariz.) --
    ASU's lone senior and team co-captain... named to the all-tournament team at Sun Devil Challenge... has recorded double-digits in kills in 12 of ASU's 14 matches... also has three 20+ kill matches this year... is currently the active career leader in the Pac-10 with 1,343 career digs, a mark that is already 13th in Pac-10 history... her 1,343 career digs ranks fourth in ASU history, recently moving past current ASU assistant coach Christine Garner and Leanne Schuster to crack the top four... also has 1,221 career kills which ranks her eighth in school history, 51st in Pac-10 history and is third among active Pac-10 players... 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 74 of her 96 matches played as a Sun Devil, including 15 career matches with 20 or more digs... 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... leads ASU and is 8th in the Pac-10 with 3.82 kills per game... leads the Pac-10 with 3.73 digs per game... has 10 double-doubles (kills-digs) this year and 52 in her career... leads ASU with 0.35 service aces per game (19).

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