Volleyball Has Final Test Before Pac-10 Play At Red Raider Classic

Sept. 11, 2002

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    What's On Tap:
    The 2002 Arizona State Sun Devil Volleyball team continues the 2002 season this weekend with the Four Points Sheraton/Red Raider Classic in Lubbock, Texas. ASU takes on Clemson Saturday at 4 p.m., and then will battle host Texas Tech on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Devils are coming off a successful weekend at the Carolina Classic, going 2-1 with wins over then No. 13 Pacific and Creighton. Junior college transfer Juliana Escobar led the charge for ASU, averaging 4.83 kills, 1.25 service aces and 3.08 digs in the three matches. Arizona State will play its first home match of the season Friday, Sept. 20 vs. second-ranked USC.

    Scouting Clemson (Website):
    For the second straight week the Sun Devils will face a school from South Carolina. This week ASU will battle with Clemson in the Four Points Sheraton/Red Raider Classic in Lubbock, Texas. Clemson enters Saturday's match with the Sun Devils with a 4-4 record. The Tigers dropped their first three matches of the year to Pepperdine, Michigan and South Florida, but then rebounded to win their next four matches vs. Georgia, East Carolina, Jacksonville and George Mason. Clemson dropped a midweek match to rival South Carolina 3-2. Sophomore middle hitter Lori Ashton leads Clemson with 3.84 kpg and is third with 0.68 bpg. The Tigers are coached Jolene Jordan-Hoover, who has compiled a 202-101 record in her 10 years at Clemson. ASU and Clemson will be meeting for the first time.

    Scouting Texas Tech (Website | Statistics):
    The Red Raiders are coming off a disappointing weekend after going 0-3 at the UNLV/Gameworks Volleyball Classic in Las Vegas. TTU fell to Ball State (3-2), host UNLV (3-1) and California (3-0). The Red Raiders are now 3-3 on the season after opening the 2002 campaign by claiming the Hofstra/Asics Classic Championship. TTU is coached by former Arizona State assistant coach Jeff Nelson. ASU is 4-1 all-time vs. Texas Tech.

    Aces Are Wild:
    Led by the 15 service aces from junior Juliana Escobar, ASU recorded 34 service aces in the season-opening Carolina Classic. The 34 aces is nearly 27% of the total number of aces the 2001 Sun Devils recorded all year (128). Escobar's 15 aces is just 13 short of ASU's team leader (Jami Coughlin, 28) from a year ago. Her six aces against Creighton (9/6) rank tied for seventh most in ASU single-match history.

    Escobar and Leddy Named All-Tournament:
    Senior middle blocker Julia Leddy and junior outside hitter Juliana Escobar were both named to the all-tournament team for their performance during the three-match Carolina Classic. Escobar averaged 4.83 kills, 3.08 digs and recorded 15 service aces. Leddy, one of three seniors on this year's squad, hit .492 in the three matches, with a 3.08 kpg average.

    Snyder-Park's Swan Song:
    ASU head coach Patti Snyder-Park begins coaching her 14th and final season for the Sun Devils. Arriving in Tempe after serving as an assistant coach at Cal in 1989, Snyder-Park has recorded a career 203-170 record in her 13 seasons at the helm of the program.

    Quick Sets:

  • ASU received three votes in the AVCA poll, ranking 40th in the nation.
  • Juliana Escobar was the 2001 AVCA Junior College Player of the Year.
  • ASU needs only four more victories to reach 500 in the programs 30-year history.
  • With 2,691 career assists, Cheryl Anglin is only seven from cracking the career top five.
  • Escobar's 25 kills and 32.0 points vs. Pacific are the most by an ASU player under rally scoring.
  • Assistant coaches Christine Garner and Terri Cox combined for 3,056 kills during their ASU careers.
  • The 3-2 win over No. 13 Pacific was the first win over a ranked opponent since 2000 (#15 Stanford).

    The Barton County CC/Brazillian Connection:
    With the addition of 2001 AVCA Junior College Player of the Year Juliana Escobar, the Sun Devils now have two players who are native to Brazil. Senior setter Fernanda Habiger and Escobar both came from Barton County CC in Kansas. Escobar, who averaged 6.17 kills per game in her junior college career, is from Sobradinho DF, Brazil, while Habiger is from Cruzeira, Brazil.

    2001 Honors and Awards:
    Senior outside hitter Jami Coughlin was the conference leader in digs with a 3.98 per game average, but did not make any of the All-Pac-10 teams. Coughlin did earn her third straight mention to the Pac-10 Academic team and was a first-team Verizon Academic All-American with a perfect 4.0 GPA in Education. Although not on the team any more as a player, Coughlin returns in 2002 as the team manager. Junior middle blocker Julia Leddy was also a Pac-10 Academic selection. Freshman middle blocker Alicia Akporiaye was an honorable mention selection for the Pac-10 Freshman team.

    30 Years of Sun Devil Volleyball:
    The Sun Devil Volleyball program continues its 30th year of competition this weekend at the Four Points Sheraton/Red Raider Classic. The program has combined for an all-time 496-347 (.588) record dating back to the first year in 1973. That 1973 year, also provided the best record in school history, with the Sun Devils going 21-0 under the guidance of head coach Mary Littlewood. Four head coaches have guided the program to 16 appearances in postseason play, including a string of four straight regional appearances from 1985-88 and 1992-95. The program has finished in the AVCA Top 25 rankings nine times and has had five players earn AVCA All-America status. Since beginning play in the Pac-10 in 1986, ASU has had 13 Pac-10 Player of the Week awards.

    On The Road:
    For the first time since Patti Snyder-Parks inaugural season in 1989, the Sun Devils opened the season on the road. In fact, ASU will not play a home match this year until opening the Pac-10 season with nationally ranked USC and UCLA Sept. 20-21 at Wells Fargo Arena. Due to not enough teams committing to what was the annual Phoenix Airport Hilton/Sun Devil Classic, ASU will open the year with two tournaments on the road. ASU's first three home matches are against teams ranked in the top 12.

    Looking Ahead:
    After facing Creighton, South Carolina and Pacific at the Columbia Volleyball Classic, the Sun Devils will travel to Lubbock, Texas to face Texas Tech and Clemson in the Red Raider Classic (Sept. 14-15). ASU will then play three straight Pac-10 matches at home against ranked opponents, hosting No. 2 USC (Sept. 20), No. 14 UCLA (Sept. 21) and No. 15 Arizona (Sept. 27). The stretch of three straight home matches is the longest home stand of the season for ASU.

    Season Openers:
    The four-game loss to South Carolina (9/6) extended ASU's losing streak in season openers to four straight years. The Sun Devils now own an all-time 22-8 record in season openers and head coach Patti Snyder-Park will finish her career with a 9-5 mark in season openers.

    2002 Sun Devil Player Notes...
    #1 Mandy Stephens (6-3, Jr., MB/OP, Napa, Calif.) --
    Has seen action in two matches this year, averaging 2.00 kills per game... had six kills in victory over Creighton (9/7), hitting .273 in that match... will compete for starting time at opposite hitter and middle blocker this year... averaged 2.51 kills per game while playing in 39 games and 18 matches in 2001... has a career 2.20 kpg average in 32 career matches as a Sun Devil.

    #2 Alicia Akporiaye (6-2, Fr., OH, Tucson, Ariz.) --
    Has started all three matches this year at opposite hitter... averaging 1.27 kills per game and 1.64 digs... recorded season-high nine kills in season opener vs. South Carolina (9/6)... named honorable mention freshman All-Pac-10 last year... ranked sixth on the team in 2001 by averaging 1.64 kills per game and third with 0.65 blocks per game... averaging 1.59 kpg and 1.93 dpg in her 27 career matches as a Sun Devil.

    #3 Juliana Escobar (5-11, Jr., OH, Sobradinhio DF, Brazil) --
    Has started all three matches at outside hitter... recorded double-digits in kills in each of ASU's matches last weekend in South Carolina... leads the team with 4.83 kpg, 1.25 service aces per game, 3.08 digs per game and 6.33 points per game... had 21 kills and 18 digs in her first match as a Sun Devil (South Carolina; 9/6)... her 25 kills vs. No. 13 Pacific are the most by a Sun Devil since the NCAA adopted the new rally scoring system last year... had 15 service aces in three matches at Carolina Classic, including six vs. Creighton (9/7)... the six aces are tied for the seventh most in ASU single-match history... named to the all-tournament team at the Carolina Classic... came to ASU from Barton County CC (Great Bend, Kan.) where she was the 2001 AVCA/NJCAA Player of the Year... averaged 6.17 kpg, 1.11 service aces per game and 2.29 dpg over her two years at the junior college level... played with Sun Devil teammate Fernanda Habiger at Barton County CC.

    #4 Natalie Harris (5-11, RS-So., OH, Tempe, Ariz.) --
    Has seen action in all three matches this year... averaging 1.12 kills per game... recorded season-high nine kills in victory over Creighton (9/7)... led the team with five digs vs. Creighton... coming off shoulder surgery and a redshirt season in 2001... averaging 1.14 kpg and 1.64 dpg in 31 career matches as a Sun Devil.

    #5 Julia Leddy (6-2, Sr., MB, Mesa, Ariz.) --
    Has started all three matches this year... had 14 kills in back-to-back matches vs. South Carolina and #13 Pacific... named to all-tournament team at Carolina Classic... leads ASU with .492 hitting percentage and is second with 3.08 kills per game... ranked third on the team in 2001 by averaging 2.84 kills per game and led ASU with a .352 hitting percentage... had career-high 23 kills vs. Washington (10/12) ... named tournament MVP of Loyola Marymount Volleyball Challenge during junior year... recorded double-digits in kills in 14 of ASU's 26 matches last year... has recorded 34 career matches with 10 or more kills... two-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection.

    #7 Kim Mehlhorn (5-11, Jr., OH, Tempe, Ariz.) --
    Starting outside hitter who is averaging 2.00 kills per game... had season-high 11 kills in opener vs. South Carolina... had 10 digs in victory over Pacific (9/7)... recorded 19 matches with 10 or more kills last year, including a string of 14 of the last 15 matches to end the season... ranked eighth in the Pac-10 as a sophomore with 3.83 kills per game in league matches only... averaged 3.88 kills per game over the final 15 matches of 2001... has 14 career double-doubles and is averaging 2.39 kpg in her 58 matches as a Sun Devil.

    #8 Courtney Blocher (5-7, Jr, LI/OH, Scottsdale, Ariz.) --
    Has started all three matches this year at the libero position... second on the team with 2.75 dpg average... recorded season-high 16 digs in five-game win over No. 13 Pacific (9/7)... started all 26 matches in 2001 and recorded four matches with 20+ digs... averaged 3.09 digs per game, second-best on team and ranked fifth in the Pac-10... one of ASU's four sophomores from Chandler's Valley Christian High School... 1999 Arizona Gatorade State Player of the Year... averaging 2.81 digs per game in her 59 career matches as a Sun Devil.

    #10 Cheryl Anglin (5-9, Jr., S, Queen Creek, Ariz.) --
    ASU's starting setter... averaging 10.42 assists per game this year, including a season-high 59 vs. Pacific (9/7)... school single-season record holder for assists when she had 1,452 as a freshman in 2000... currently in sixth place in career assists in ASU history (2,691) and is only seven off of cracking the top five... has recorded 36 career matches with 40 or more assists and 22 or matches with 50 or more assists.

    #11 Jodi Smith (6-1, RS-Jr., MB, St. Johns, Ariz.) --
    Has started all three matches this year at middle blocker... averaging 2.17 kpg... had career-high three service aces vs. Pacific (9/7)... second on team with .426 hitting percentage... had 14 kills and hit .370 in win over No. 13 Pacific (9/7)... ASU's only two sport female athlete... also a high jumper on the ASU track & field team... tied for third in last year's Pac-10 meet with a jump of 5 ft, 7.25 inches... led the team with 0.86 blocks per game last year and ranked fifth with a 2.27 kill/game average.

    #12 Fernanda Habiger (5-11, Sr., S, Cruzeira, Brazil) --
    Has seen action in all three matches this year as the backup setter... averaging 2.57 assists, including a season-high 11 in victory over Creighton (9/7)... finished her first year as a Sun Devil (2001) with 0.39 kpg, 2.15 assists/game and 0.39 dpg... transferred from Barton County CC in Great Bend, Kansas... one of two ASU players who are native to Brazil... was the JC teammate of Juliana Escobar... one of three players on this years team that is married (Smith, Arnett).

    #13 Brittany Arnett (5-7, Sr., DS, Mesa, Ariz.) --
    One of three seniors on this years team... will play defensive specialist and the libero position this year... averaging 2.00 dpg this year... had season-high 11 digs in victory over Pacific... finished second on the team with 23 service aces last year... one of three players who are married (Smith, Habiger).

    #14 Sarah Watkins (5-11, Fr., OH/S, Mishawaka, Ind.) --
    One of two true freshmen on this year's squad... played in all three games vs. Creighton (9/7), recording one dig and one service ace... a four-time all-conference selection in high school... named state MVP her senior year.

    #15 Nora Pirzynski (5-6, Fr., DS/LI, Manhattan Beach, Calif.) --
    One of two true freshmen on this year's squad... saw action in two of ASU's three matches last weekend... had one kills and two digs in ASU debut vs. South Carolina (9/6)... attended Mira Costa High School where she lettered three years in varsity volleyball... first-team all-CIF as a senior and helped lead Mira Costa to back-to-back CIF championships.

    Junior Cheryl Anglin (Queen Creek, Ariz.) is in her third year as the Sun Devils starting setter. As a freshman she set the school record with 1,452 assists and is now just seven away from cracking the top five in school history (see list to left). As a sophomore in 2001 she recorded nine matches with 50 or more assists and four 60+ assist matches. She ended the season on a high note, recording 40 or more assists in eight of the last 14 matches. Anglin arrived at ASU in 2000 and took the freshmen record book by assault. She broke the freshman record for assists in a season vs. Stanford (10/27/00) midway through the year, and continued on to break the overall school record with 1,452. Anglin passed Regina Stahl, who recorded 1,062 in her freshman year of 1984, to set the freshman record. In her first collegiate start, she wasted little leaving her name in the ASU record books. The Valley Christian product recorded 77 assists vs. Cal Poly (9/1/00) to rank fourth (at the time and now fifth) all-time in single-match history at ASU. Anglin recorded the second-best assist performance in school history with 84 vs. Washington State (10/20/00). The 84 assists broke her own freshman school record which she set earlier in the year. The record was previously set by Tracy Heflin (74) in 1993. For her career, Anglin has recorded 2,691 assists and has 36 career matches with 40 or more assists.

    ASU Volleyball has a legacy of academic success in the programs 30-year history. Amanda Burbridge and Jami Coughlin were both named Verizon District VIII Academic All-Americans in 2000 with their outstanding performances in the classroom. Burbridge has a 3.43 GPA in Sociology and graduated last May after four outstanding years in the Maroon and Gold. Coughlin, who graduated with a perfect 4.0 in Education, was named a first-team Academic All-American in the University division, while Burbridge was a third-team pick. Coughlin was selected to the All-Pac-10 Academic first team, while Burbridge and Julia Leddy were second-team picks. Three Sun Devils were named to the 1999 Pacific-10 All-Academic Team: Burbridge (first team), Coughlin (first team) and Laura Hibsman second team). Two Arizona State student-athletes were selected to the 1999 GTE Academic District VIII All-Academic Team as well. Burbridge and Coughlin were both second team picks. They were two of only twelve athletes selected to the first and second teams (out of 49 total nominations). ASU now has 26 Academic All-Conference selections since 1986, the second most in the Pac-10 behind Stanford's 27. Coughlin and Julia Leddy were both named to the Pac-10 All-Academic team in 2001.

    Defensive Domination:
    Since the Pac-10 added women's volleyball, the Arizona State Sun Devils have been a defensive powerhouse. Always a trademark of Patti Snyder-Park's teams, who herself was an outstanding defensive specialist at Portland State and professional volleyball, ASU has led the conference in total digs four times and digs per game four times as well. In the 16 years of Pac-10 Volleyball, an Arizona State individual has led the conference in digs per game. Jami Coughlin led the league in digs twice during her career, in 2001 with a 3.98 average and in 1998 with a 3.62 digs per game average. Current assistant coach Terri Cox led the league in her junior and senior years (1996-97) with a 4.90 and 3.54 average respectively.

    Rule Changes:
    The libero (pronounced 'LEE-bah-ro) is a designated backrow player, intended to be used as a ball-control specialist. The libero is allowed to replace any player in the backrow without counting as a substitution and there is no limit to the number of libero replacements a team is allowed. The color of the libero's uniform must contrast from the color of her teammates' uniforms, but the libero's shorts must be the same as her teammates'. The libero plays only in the backrow but may not serve, block or attempt to block. The addition of the libero comes one year after the NCAA adapted a the new rally scoring system with games now played to 30.

    For You Stat Rats:
    The 2001 season had many changes, including the change to rally scoring and also the introduction of a new category of stats. Now every kill, block and ace will not only earn a team a point, but the responsible player gets a point as well (just as a basketball player contributes 20 points in a game). The formula is as follows: points = kills + service aces + solo blocks + 1/2 block assists. For example, Juliana Escobar leads the team this year with 76.0 points (58 kills, 15 service aces, 3 block solos and 0 block assists).

    Gatorade State Players of the Year Common at ASU:
    Gatorade really is thirst aid for Arizona State University recruits coming out of high school. Several Gatorade Arizona State Players of the Year have gone on to attend ASU. Laura Hibsman (1995), Amanda Burbridge (1997), Jami Coughlin (1998) and Courtney Blocher (1999) have all won the prestigious award as the state's best prep volleyball player.

    This is ASU Volleyball:
    The ASU Volleyball program is rich in tradition with 12 appearances in the NCAA tournament. The Sun Devils advanced five years in a row in the mid '80s under head coach Debbie Brown, and have made five appearances under current head coach Patti Snyder-Park. The program has an overall 496-347 (.588%) record in 30 years of competition.

    Head Coach Patti Snyder-Park:
    Patti Snyder-Park begins her 14th and final year at the helm of the ASU volleyball program. Snyder-Park has led ASU to six NCAA appearances in the last 10 years and has posted a winning record in seven of her last 11 seasons. She has posted a career 201-169 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 106-125. A graduate of Portland State University, Snyder-Park is assisted by two of her former players, Christine Garner and Terri Cox. Snyder-Park is married to husband John and has three kids; daughters Sydney and Sophia Rae and son Samuel.

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