Arizona State Volleyball Weekly Release - #12 Arizona

Sept. 25, 2002

  • Weekly Release in PDF Format
  • 2002 Season Statistics
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    What's On Tap:
    The Sun Devils continue their recent stretch of touch matches with a third straight match against a ranked opponent. ASU faces No. 12 Arizona this Friday at 7 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils are off to a 5-2 start in 2002 and are 1-1 in Pac-10 play. After enduring a three-game sweep at the hands of the No. 1 USC Trojans last Friday, the Devils rebounded to end a 12-match losing streak to the UCLA Bruins. ASU will play a ranked opponent in three of its next four matches. After the Arizona match, the Devils will travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on Washington (Oct. 3) and No. 18 Washington State (Oct. 4).

    Scouting Arizona:
    The No. 12 Wildcats are 6-4 overall and 1-1 in Pac-10 play heading into Friday's match with the Sun Devils. Arizona is coming off a 25-5 season in 2001 in which they advanced to the NCAA Final Four in San Diego, Calif. Head Coach David Rubio recently won his 200th career game as a Wildcat. UA returned nine letterwinners and four starters from the 2001 squad, but recently lost senior middle blocker Stefani Saragosa for the year to injuries. Arizona also added three Fab 50 freshman to the squad. The Wildcats split last weekend with USC and UCLA. Three of their four loses have come against ranked opponents. Freshman Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) leads the team with 4.38 kpg and 2.59 dpg.

    The All-Time Series:
    ASU leads the all-time series with its rivals to the South, 33-29 (according to ASU records). The Wildcats have held the upperhand in the series as of late though, winning 10 of the last 12 matches. The Sun Devils have not defeated the Wildcats at home in Wells Fargo Arena since 1996. Arizona has won five straight matches dating back to the 1999 season with a 3-1 win in Tucson.

    Devils Tough Against Ranked Opponents:
    The Sun Devils were 0-9 against ranked opponents last year... and oh what a difference a year makes. Facing a very challenging slate to start the season, ASU is already 2-1 against ranked opponents, knocking off then No. 13 Pacific (9/7) and No. 11 UCLA (9/21). ASU will play eight more ranked opponents throughout the season, including an upcoming stretch of three ranked teams in the next four matches. The Pac-10 currently has five teams ranked in the top 20 in the most recent AVCA Top 25 poll, with ASU, California and Washington all receiving votes in the poll.

    ASU Inches Toward National Respect:
    Off to a 5-2 start and a 2-1 record against teams ranked in the top 15, the Sun Devils picked up 35 votes in the recent USA Today/AVCA poll to rank 28th in the country. ASU last finished a season ranked in the Top 25 in 1995 (11th).

    Quick Sets:

  • ASU needs only one more victory to reach 500 in the programs 30-year history.
  • Escobar has recorded 20 or more kills and a double-double in five of ASU's seven matches.
  • With 2,841 career assists, Cheryl Anglin is now 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.
  • Escobar is ranked 12th in the NCAA with 0.83 service aces per game.
  • Of ASU's five wins this year, three have come in five games and two are against ranked teams.
  • The Devils face a ranked opponent in three of their next four matches.
  • ASU is ranked 20th nationally in attendance with an average of 1,026 in its first two matches.
  • ASU's Oct. 10 match vs. #4 Stanford will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.
  • Libero Courtney Blocher is ranked 9th in the Pac-10 with 3.17 digs per game.
  • Juliana Escobar was the 2001 AVCA Junior College Player of the Year.

    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 has since added to that impressive number with 54 so far this season. The Devils are ranked fifth in the Pac-10 with 1.86 aces per game and junior outside hitter Juliana Escobar is second in the conference and 12th in the NCAA with 0.83 aces per game. ASU's 54 service aces in seven matches this season is 42% of the total number of aces the 2001 when the Sun Devils recorded 128. Escobar's 24 aces is just four 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 4.45 kpg, 2.90 dpg and 0.83 aces per game. Habiger is coming off a solid weekend in which she set a career-high with four blocks vs. UCLA and set a season-high with four kills vs. the Bruins.

    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 206-171 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 by hosting rival Arizona at Wells Fargo Arena. The program has combined for an all-time 499-348 (.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.

    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.

    Leddy and Smith Tearing it up in the Middle:
    ASU's middle blockers Jodi Smith and Julia Leddy are eighth and ninth respectively in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage. Fresh off a weekend with 12 kills in both matches against USC and UCLA, Smith leads the team with a .358 mark. Leddy, ASU's senior captain, is right behind Smith with a .357 mark. Leddy also has the distinction of having the second highest single-season hitting percentage when she hit .352 as a junior in 2001.

    2002 Sun Devil Player Notes...
    #1 Mandy Stephens (6-3, Jr., MB/OP, Napa, Calif.) --
    Has seen action in four matches this year, averaging 1.50 kills per game... had six kills in victory over Creighton (9/7), hitting .273 in that match... inserted into lineup for an added block... 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 seven matches this year at opposite hitter... averaging 1.89 kills and 2.11 digs... notched third career double-double with 11 kills and 17 digs vs. UCLA (9/21)... the 17 digs matched her career high... 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 1.71 kpg and 2.01 dpg in her 31 career matches as a Sun Devil.

    #3 Juliana Escobar (5-11, Jr., OH, Sobradinhio DF, Brazil) --
    Has started all seven matches at outside hitter... has recorded a double-double (kills/digs) in five of ASU's seven matches this year... also has 20 or more kills in five matches... averaging 4.45 kpg and 2.90 digs per game... also leads the team with 24 service aces (0.83 per game average) to rank second in the Pac-10 and 13th in the NCAA... ranks third in the Pac-10 in kpg (4.45) and points per game (5.48)... recorded 23 kills and 13 digs in win over #11 UCLA (9/21)... 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 seven matches this year... expected to move into a starting role at outside hitter this weekend vs. Arizona... averaging 1.32 kpg and 1.37 dpg... recorded season-high nine kills in victory over Creighton (9/7)... season-high nine digs in win over UCLA (9/21)... best match this year was a nine-kill, nine-dig effort off the bench vs. UCLA (9/21)... coming off shoulder surgery and a redshirt season in 2001... averaging 1.18 kpg and 1.63 dpg in 35 career matches as a Sun Devil... turned 21 on Sept. 24 (Tuesday).

    #5 Julia Leddy (6-2, Sr., MB, Mesa, Ariz.) --
    Has started all seven matches this year at middle blocker... named tournament MVP at Red Raider Classic after averaging 2.90 kills in the two matches... second on the team with 2.83 kpg this year and leads ASU with 0.76 blocks per game... hitting .357 on the season to rank second on the squad and 9th in the Pac-10... has season-high six blocks vs. UCLA (9/21)... 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, notching the second-highest single-season hitting percentage in school history... had career-high 23 kills vs. Washington (10/12/01) ... 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 37 career matches with 10 or more kills and boasts a career .334 hitting percentage... two-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection.

    #7 Kim Mehlhorn (5-11, Jr., OH, Tempe, Ariz.) --
    Has started all seven matches this year who is averaging 2.00 kills per game... is being challenged for the starting spot by Natalie Harris... notched consecutive double-doubles at the Red Raider Classic vs. Clemson and Texas Tech... had season-high 15 kills vs. Clemson (9/14)... has recorded double-digits in kills in three of ASU's seven 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 2.36 kpg and 2.18 dpg in her 62 matches as a Sun Devil.

    #8 Courtney Blocher (5-7, Jr, LI/OH, Scottsdale, Ariz.) --
    Has started all seven matches this year at the libero position... leads the team and is ninth in the Pac-10 with 3.17 digs per game... recorded her fifth career 20+ dig match with season-high 20 vs. UCLA (9/21)... had 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 2.86 digs per game (686 total) and has 38 career matches with 10 or more digs in her 63 career matches as a Sun Devil.

    #10 Cheryl Anglin (5-9, Jr., S, Queen Creek, Ariz.) --
    ASU's starting setter... being challenged by senior Fernanda Habiger... averaging 10.19 assists per game this year, seventh best in the Pac-10... recorded a season-high 67 vs. Clemson (9/14), ranking as the top assist performance in the Pac-10 this year... moved into third place in ASU career record books for assists (2,841) and is now 117 off second place... has the most career assists among active Pac-10 setters... school single-season record holder for assists when she had 1,452 as a freshman in 2000... 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 seven matches this year at middle blocker... coming off a solid weekend vs. USC and UCLA with back-to-back 12-kill performances... averaging 2.38 kpg to rank third on the team... leads squad and is eighth in the Pac-10 with a .358 hitting percentage... had career-high three service aces vs. Pacific (9/7)... 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 seven matches this year and is contending for the starting spot... has been ASU's sparkplug off the bench in recent wins over Texas Tech (9/15) and UCLA (9/21)... averaging 1.25 blocks per game over her last three matches... had a career-high 4.0 blocks vs. UCLA (9/21)... averaging 4.16 assists per game, including a career-high 30 in five-game victory over TTU (9/15)... 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 be used as a defensive specialist and libero this year... averaging 1.38 dpg in 13 games (five matches) 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 ASU Record Books:
    Junior Cheryl Anglin (Queen Creek, Ariz.) moved into third place in the ASU career record books during the Red Raider Classic (9/14-15) and continues to inch toward the No. 2 spot. Anglin's 67-assist performance against Clemson moved her all the way from sixth place into third place. She now needs 115 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 2,841 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. The Devils currently rank sixth in the Pac-10 with a 14.83 dpg average.

    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.

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