Defense Dominates In Annual Volleyball Preseason Scrimmage

Aug. 24, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. -- After two weeks of two-a-day practices and grueling workouts, the 2002 Arizona State University volleyball team finally got a chance to test its skills in live competition, with the squad facing off in the annual Maroon and Gold Match. The match ended with gold squad taking two of the three games in the annual match held Saturday evening at the Student Recreation Center on the ASU campus.

Solid defense by both squads highlighted the hour-long scrimmage, with head coach Patti Snyder-Park leaving very pleased with the progress of her team.

'It was good to get out there in a real game situation and work on things you normally don't get a chance to in practice,' said Snyder-Park, who begins her 14th and final season at the helm of ASU Volleyball this year. 'There was a lot of great defense played tonight and I am very please with that. It was hard to score a point at times because we were digging everything. We are a dynamic group this year that can do a lot of things on the court and I am excited to get things going.'

The gold squad, featuring sophomore Alicia Akporiaye (Tucson/Sal Pointe), juniors Courtney Blocher (Scottsdale/Valley Christian) and Kim Mehlhorn (Tempe/Valley Christian), and seniors Julia Leddy (Mesa/Mountain View) and setter Fernanda Habiger (Cruzeira, Brazil) won the each of the first two games by a score of 30-24.

The maroon squad, featuring redshirt sophomore Natalie Harris (Tempe/Valley Christian), juniors Mandy Stephens (Napa, Calif.), Jodi Smith (St. John's), setter Cheryl Anglin (Queen Creek/Valley Christian) and outside hitter Juliana Escobar (Sobradinho DF, Brazil/Barton County CC), came back to win the third game 30-19.

Mehlhorn, who averaged 3.42 kills and 2.76 digs per game as a sophomore in 2001, led all players with 13 in the scrimmage. Escobar, who was the AVCA Junior College Player of the Year in 2001 at Barton County CC, had 12 kills and several spectacular defensive digs. Harris, who is coming off shoulder surgery last year, was noted by Snyder-Park as having probably the best all-around match, contributed 10 kills to for the maroon squad.

The Sun Devils will have one final preseason tune-up with the annual Alumnae Match next Friday (7 p.m.) at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU opens the 30th year of Sun Devil Volleyball with consecutive tournaments on the road at South Carolina (Sept. 6-7) and Texas Tech (Sept. 14-15) before opening at home with Pac-10 matches against USC and UCLA (Sept. 20-21).

Maroon  	24	24	30Gold  	30	30	19Kill Leaders: Jodi Smith (5), Natalie Harris (10), Mandy Stephens (9), Juliana Escobar (12), Alicia Akporiaye (5), Kim Mehlhorn (13), Julia Leddy (7), Courtney Blocher (8).

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