Sun Devils Lucky To Have Leddy
Sept. 18, 2002
The Arizona State volleyball program should consider itself fortunate to have Julia Leddy in a Sun Devil uniform. Not only because the senior co-captain is the returning hitting percentage leader the last two years for the Sun Devils. And not only because she is the returning leader in block solos or a two-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection or because she is a natural leader on the court.
Although all of these things are true, ASU volleyball should consider itself fortunate to have Julia Leddy because she was not even sure she wanted to play college volleyball.
'I wasn't much into college sports when I was playing high school, I pretty much focused on my own thing,' says Leddy, an elementary education major. 'Until my junior year of high school I wasn't planning on playing in college.'
Even once the offers from various colleges started coming in for the all-region performer from Mesa, Ariz., ASU was not high on her list of potential prospects for a collegiate career.
'When ASU gave me an offer, I wasn't really interested in it because it was close to home and I wanted to get away,' reflects Leddy. 'But then that turned into the reason I stayed here.' What a victory for ASU!
Leddy has been a steady performer for the Sun Devils since her freshman year and only looks to build on what she has done so far. She saw action in 17 matches her freshman season and has never looked back. Last year she led the squad in hitting percentage with a .352 mark, the highest single-season mark recorded by a Sun Devil since All-American Tammy Webb registered a .353 in 1985. She leads all active team members by having 35 career matches with 10 or more kills. By the time her career is over, she should rank in the ASU all-time top-15 in block assists. With Julia's steady performance and commitment to teamwork, she was a natural selection to be a co-captain of the squad for both her junior and senior years.
'It's an honor to be a captain of a Division-I volleyball team. It probably hasn't really hit me yet. Looking back to being in high school, the thought of being the captain of the volleyball team would seem impossible, something out of my reach.' Out of her reach it certainly was not.
Leddy is again off to a quick start in 2002, earning MVP honors at the Red Raider Classic hosted by Texas Tech the weekend of September 14-15. The Sun Devils managed to win the title in Lubbock by earning a comeback victory over the host Red Raiders in the championship match after being down two games. That's never an easy deficit to erase, but Leddy's senior leadership and solid performance during the whole weekend helped the Devils down the stretch.
'I think it shows what we're capable of because I believe that sometimes our problem is just confidence.' Confidence builds from such results and it is needed if the team is to attain Julia's goal of reaching the NCAA tournament. 'As a team, I really want to get to the NCAA tournament. We didn't get to go last year and we did go my first two years here. I want us to get farther than we've ever gone and keep improving.'
This reflects the feeling of the squad and certainly of its coach, Patti Snyder-Park. Like Julia, coach Snyder-Park's last season with the Sun Devils is underway, and getting to the tournament would be the only appropriate ending to either individual's time in Tempe. One of Julia's reasons for committing to ASU was the coaching staff, and she is grateful that she got to complete her four years with Snyder-Park at the helm.
'I'm glad that I got to be with her all four years, she's been great and has had a big impact on me.' Snyder-Park's influence has helped Julia improve during her years at ASU. Leddy aims to make her senior year her best and be a leader for the team.
Due to the NCAAs move to a 'libero' position along the back line, Leddy now finds herself having to serve, something she hasn't had to do before on the collegiate level. The 'libero' can replace any player in the backrow without counting as a substitution but the new position cannot serve. This puts Leddy in a position to add a new skill to her repertoire.
Although the rule change does not dramatically change her role in the game, it adds a new aspect that works well in Julia's opinion. 'I like it, it's fun. It's been a good experience because I've never been able to serve before. It's pretty cool staying in and serving.'
Already through the young season, ASU has played in two tournaments - the Carolina Classic and the Texas Tech Tournament - and Julia Leddy has been named to the all-tournament team on both occasions. For a player that was originally not considering playing college volleyball, starting the first two trips of the year with performances like she has makes one wonders what would have happened had Leddy decided to leave the state and forego the offer from ASU. Lucky for the Sun Devils she stayed close to home and is on her way to having a fourth memorable season in Tempe.
By Jon Evans - ASU Media Relations