Volleyball Returns Home For Pac-10 Play

Sept. 17, 2002

  • Complete Release in PDF Format
  • 2002 ASU Volleyball Media Guide in PDF Format
  • www.AVCA.org
  • USC Volleyball Website
  • UCLA Volleyball Website

    What's On Tap:
    The 2002 Arizona State Sun Devil Volleyball makes its 2002 home and Pac-10 debut this weekend with a pair of matches against ranked opponents at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU begins a tough stretch with five ranked opponents in the next six matches. ASU's upcoming three-match home streak vs. USC, UCLA and Arizona is the longest homestand of the season. The Devils host second-ranked USC to open the 2002 season Friday night at 7 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena. The Devils host No. 14 UCLA on Saturday, Sept. 21 also at 7 p.m. ASU meets in-state rival Arizona in the annual showdown between the Wildcats and Sun Devils Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

    Scouting USC:
    The Devils have their hands full this weekend with the USC Trojans coming to town. Ranked No. 1 by the AVCA and Volleyball magazine, the Women of Troy enter Friday's match with a perfect 6-0 record, having won all but one match in three games this year. The Trojans earned impressive three-game sweeps over then No. 2 Nebraska and No. 6 Florida. USC is led by junior outside hitter April Ross, who is averaging 4.26 kills, 3.37 digs and 0.74 blocks in 2002. USC has six players who are averaging over 2.00 kpg. Head coach Mick Haley, a former coach of the USA Women's National team, is in his second season at the helm of the Women of Troy. In 26 years of coaching at the college level, Haley has a 804-19201 career record, including a 31-4 record at USC. The Trojans lead the all-time series against ASU 39-10, including a streak of 12 straight.

    Scouting UCLA:
    The No. 11 Bruins are off to a 7-3 start to the season, having faced a tough non-conference schedule with five ranked opponents to start the season. UCLA heads into its match with Arizona (Friday) having won five straight matches. They are led by senior middle blocker Lauren Fendrick, who is averaging 3.56 kills, 2.79 digs and 0.59 blocks in the Bruins' 10 matches this year. Head coach Andy Banachowski, the winningest women's college coach of all-time, is in his 36th year at the helm of the Bruins, posting a 928-224 career record. The Sun Devils have lost 12 straight matches to the Bruins dating back to 1995 and are 5-47 all-time in the series. ASU dropped both matches to the Bruins last year in three games.

    Escobar, Mehlhorn and Leddy Named All-Tournament:
    While the Sun Devils claimed the Sheraton Four Points/Red Raider Classic over the weekend, it was also a successful trip for three ASU individuals. Senior middle blocker Julia Leddy was named the tournament MVP after averaging 2.90 kpg and hitting .290 in the two matches. Junior outside hitters Juliana Escobar and Kim Mehlhorn were also named to the all-tournament team. Escobar averaged 4.30 kills, 3.10 digs and 0.60 service aces in the two matches while hitting at a .207 clip. Mehlhorn posted a pair of double-doubles, averaging 2.80 kills and 2.40 digs. Escobar and Leddy were also named to the all-tournament team at the Carolina Classic.

    Quick Sets:

  • Juliana Escobar was the 2001 AVCA Junior College Player of the Year.
  • ASU needs only two more victories to reach 500 in the programs 30-year history.
  • With 2,785 career assists, Cheryl Anglin moved into third in the ASU career record books.
  • Escobar's 25 kills and 32.0 points vs. Pacific (9/7) 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).
  • Of ASU's four wins this year, three have come in five games.
  • The Devils face a ranked opponent in five of their next six matches.
  • For the first time since the start of the 2000 season, a player other than Cheryl Anglin led the Devils in assists when Fernanda Habiger had 30 in the victory over Texas Tech (9/15).
  • ASU has not beaten USC or UCLA since 1995, a streak spanning 12 consecutive matches.

    Aces Are Wild:
    Led by the 15 service aces from junior Juliana Escobar, ASU recorded 34 service aces in the season-opening Carolina Classic. ASU added to that imprssive number with 13 more in the two matches at the Red Raider Classic over the weekend. ASU already has 47 service aces in five matches this season, which is is nearly 37% of the total number of aces the 2001 Sun Devils recorded all year (128). Escobar's 21 aces is just seven 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.

    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. Escobar is leading the Sun Devils with 4.59 kpg, 3.09 dpg and 0.95 aces per game. Habiger is coming off a solid weekend at the Red Raider Classic, setting a career-high with 30 assists in the five-game win over Texas Tech.

    Snyder-Park's Swan Song:
    ASU head coach Patti Snyder-Park is in her 14th and final season as the head coach for the Sun Devils. Arriving in Tempe after serving as an assistant coach at Cal in 1989, Snyder-Park has recorded a career 205-170 record in her 14 seasons at the helm of the program.

    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 498-347 (.589) 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.

    It Doesn't Get Any Tougher Than This:
    While the Sun Devils walked away from a tough preseason with a 4-1 record, the challenge of a brutally tough Pac-10 schedule begins this weekend with USC and UCLA. The Pac-10 currently has five teams ranked in the top 25 and two more teams receiving votes. Of ASU's next six matches, five come against teams ranked in the top 20 by the AVCA.

    Looking Ahead:
    The Sun Devils have their longest homestand on tap starting this weekend with a pair of matches against USC (Sept. 20) and UCLA (Sept. 21). The Devils then face in-state rival Arizona on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. ASU returns to the road at Washington (Oct. 3) and at Washington State (Oct. 4).

    2002 Sun Devil Player Notes...

    #1 Mandy Stephens (6-3, Jr., MB/OP, Napa, Calif.) --
    Has seen action in three matches this year, averaging 1.60 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 five matches this year at opposite hitter... averaging 1.62 kills and 1.86 digs... averaged 2.00 kpg in two matches at Red Raider Classic... matched her career high in kills with 13 vs. Clemson (9/14)... recorded nine kills in season opener vs. South Carolina (9/6)... named honorable mention freshman All-Pac-10 in 2001... ranked sixth on the team in 2001 by averaging 1.64 kills per game and third with 0.65 blocks per game... averaging 1.64 kpg and 1.95 dpg in her 29 career matches as a Sun Devil.

    #3 Juliana Escobar (5-11, Jr., OH, Sobradinhio DF, Brazil) --
    Has started all five matches at outside hitter... has recorded a double-double (kills/digs) in four of ASU's five matches this year... has recorded double-digits in kills in all five matches this year, including four with 20 or more kills... averaging 4.59 kpg and 3.09 digs per game... also leads the team with 21 service aces (0.95 per game average)... 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 and Red Raider 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 four matches this year... averaging 1.00 kills per game... recorded season-high nine kills in victory over Creighton (9/7)... season-high six digs vs. Clemson (9/14)... coming off shoulder surgery and a redshirt season in 2001... averaging 1.12 kpg and 1.63 dpg in 33 career matches as a Sun Devil.

    #5 Julia Leddy (6-2, Sr., MB, Mesa, Ariz.) --
    Has started all five matches this year... named tournament MVP at Red Raider Classic after averaging 2.90 kills in the two matches... second on the team with 3.00 kpg this year and leads ASU with 0.50 blocks per game... hitting .391 on the season... season-high 18 kills in five-game win over Clemson (9/14)... had 14 kills in back-to-back matches vs. South Carolina and #13 Pacific... named to all-tournament team at Carolina Classic... 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 36 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 2.40 kills per game... coming off solid weekend with consecutive double-doubles at the Red Raider Classic... had season-high 15 kills vs. Clemson (9/14)... has recorded double-digits in kills in three of ASU's five matches this year... 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 16 career double-doubles (most among active Sun Devils) and is averaging 2.41 kpg and 2.21 dpg in her 60 matches as a Sun Devil.

    #8 Courtney Blocher (5-7, Jr, LI/OH, Scottsdale, Ariz.) --
    Has started all five matches this year at the libero position... second on the team with 2.68 dpg average... recorded season-high 16 digs in five-game win over No. 13 Pacific (9/7)... also had 16 digs vs. Clemson (9/14)... 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 2.80 digs per game and has 36 career matches with 10 or more digs in her 61 career matches as a Sun Devil.

    #10 Cheryl Anglin (5-9, Jr., S, Queen Creek, Ariz.) --
    ASU's starting setter... averaging 10.95 assists per game this year, including a season-high 67 vs. Clemson (9/14)... moved into third place in ASU career record books for assists last weekend... school single-season record holder for assists when she had 1,452 as a freshman in 2000... currently in third place in career assists in ASU history (2,785) and is only 171 assists from the No. 2 spot... has recorded 37 career matches with 40 or more assists and 23 or matches with 50 or more assists in her career.

    #11 Jodi Smith (6-1, RS-Jr., MB, St. Johns, Ariz.) --
    Has started all five matches this year at middle blocker... averaging 2.05 kpg... had career-high three service aces vs. Pacific (9/7)... second on team with .298 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 five matches this year as the backup setter... averaging 4.00 assists per game, including a career-high 30 in five-game victory over Texas Tech (9/15)... matched her career high with 3.0 blocks vs. TTU... 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 1.50 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... has seen action in four of ASU's five matches this year... had one kills and two digs in ASU debut vs. South Carolina (9/6)... season-high six digs vs. Clemson (9/14)... 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.

    Anglin Moves Up To Third In Career Asssists:
    Junior Cheryl Anglin (Queen Creek, Ariz.) moved into third place in the ASU career record books this last weekend. Starting the week needing only seven assists to crack the top five, Anglin's 67-assist performance against Clemson moved her all the way into third place. She now needs 171 assists to claim the No. 2 spot in the record books. 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 2,785 assists and has 37 career matches with 40 or more assists.

    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 per game average respectively.

    Academic Accolades:
    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. Coughlin, who graduated with a perfect 4.0 in Education, was a two-time first-team Academic All-American in the University division. 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.

    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 127.0 points (101 kills, 21 service aces, 4 block solos and 2 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 498-347 (.589%) record in 30 years of competition.

    Head Coach Patti Snyder-Park:
    Head Coach 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 205-170 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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