#23 Sun Devil Volleyball Travels To Stanford And California

Nov. 6, 2002

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    What's On Tap:
    The Sun Devils (10-7, 6-6) look to end their season-high three-match losing streak this weekend with a pair of matches in the Bay Area. Currently in fifth place in the conference, ASU is looking for a strong finish to make its third postseason appearance in the last four years. The Sun Devils will take on No. 4 Stanford (21-3, 11-2) at 7 p.m. on Friday, then complete the road trip with a match against the California Golden Bears (15-8, 5-8) Saturday at 7 p.m. in Haas Pavilion. After Stanford and California, the Sun Devils have six remaining games in 2002 with Oregon State and Oregon (Nov. 15-16) completing the season home schedule. ASU will also travel to No. 2 USC and No. 19 UCLA (Nov. 21-22) to complete the Pac-10 season and then compete in the UNLV Thanksgiving Classic (Nov. 29-30) vs. Weber State, Oral Roberts and UNLV.

    A Tough Stretch Ahead:
    ASU will face a ranked opponent in three of its next six matches to complete the end of its 2002 Pac-10 season. The Devils take on No. 4 Stanford this Friday, then after hosting the Oregon schools, will travel to No. 2 USC and No. 19 UCLA. The Pac-10 currently has seven teams ranked in the AVCA/USA Today Top 25 poll.

    Poll Mechanics:
    The Arizona State Volleyball team earned a No. 24 ranking in the USA Today/AVCA poll on Sept. 30 to appear in the poll for the first time since Sept. 3, 1996 (#23). With a No. 23 ranking in the AVCA/USA Today poll this week, the Devils have now been a mainstay in the polls for the last six weeks. With a No. 18 ranking two weeks ago ASU earned its highest national ranking since finishing the 1995 season at No. 11. Now 3-6 against ranked opponents this year, the Devils have notched wins against No. 13 Pacific (3-2; 9/7), No. 11 UCLA (3-1; 9/21) and No. 12 Arizona (3-0; 9/27). The last time ASU finished a season ranked in the poll was 1995 when they were No. 11 and made an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16. ASU Volleyball, celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year (1973-2002), has now been ranked 130 times in school history. The 130 times ASU has appeared in the AVCA poll are the 19th most of all Division 1 volleyball schools.

    Recapping Last Weekend:
    The Sun Devils ran into a pair of hot teams last weekend dropping both matches to the then No. 17 Washington State Cougars and also lost to the Washington Huskies. The Cougars defeated ASU 3-0 (20-30, 24-30, 28-30), while the Huskies notched their third straight win over a ranked opponent with a 3-1 victory over ASU (27-30, 27-30, 30-27, 22-30). UW moved up to No. 21 in the polls after sweeping the trip after also recording a 3-0 win over Arizona. Junior outside hitter Juliana Escobar had a good weekend despite the two losses, recording 5.00 kpg (35 total) and 3.86 dpg (27). Freshman Sarah Watkins made her first career start vs. the Huskies and turned in her first double-double with 11 kills and 22 digs. Senior libero Brittany Arnett also made her first starts in 2002 over the weekend and performed well, notching 5.14 dpg in the two matches.

    Devils Remain Perfect in Five-Game Matches:
    Arizona State improved to 6-0 in five-game matches with the 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Oregon Ducks (10/18) at McArthur Court. In two of ASU's five-game wins, the Devils have had to battle back from a 0-2 deficit to keep their perfect record. ASU's five-game victories have come against Pacific (9/7), Clemson (9/14), Texas Tech (9/15), Washington (10/3), Cal (10/11) and most recently the Ducks. Comparatively, ASU was 2-3 in five-game matches last year. The Devils also own a 2-1 record in four-game matches and are 2-4 in three-game matches.

    Watkins Has Nice Debut:
    Freshman outside hitter Sarah Watkins played in only 12 games prior to her first career start Saturday vs. the Huskies, but after her performance may now be a fixture on the court. The native of Mishawaka, Ind., recorded her first career double-double with 11 kills and 22 digs vs. the Huskies. For the season Watkins is averaging 1.44 kpg and 1.69 dpg.

    Snyder-Park Has Ties To California:
    Arizona State head coach Patti Snyder-Park has several ties to the Bay Area. Coaching in her 14th and final season at ASU, Snyder-Park got her coaching start at California where she was the head assistant coach from 1984-88. Snyder-Park is a native of Palo Alto, growing up in the shadows of Stanford University with 10 brothers and sisters.

    Scouting Stanford:
    The Devils will travel to Stanford this weekend to take on the fourth-ranked Cardinal at Maples Pavilion. ASU is 4-40 all-time vs. Stanford and has never won at Maples Pavilion, going 0-20 since 1982. The Devils have lost 17 of their last 18 matches to the Cardinal dating back to 1993, with ASU's only win coming on Sept. 30, 2000 at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. Stanford won earlier this year in a three-game sweep (30-20, 30-28, 30-16) and will take a 21-3 overall record, 11-2 Pac-10, into Friday's match. The Cardinal are led by senior outside hitter Logan Tom who is averaging 4.77 kpg, 3.08 dpg and 0.82 bpg. Tom is a member of the USA Volleyball National Team and was the 2001 AVCA Player of the Year.

    Scouting California:
    While ASU has not earned a victory at Maples Pavilion during the program's 30-year history, ASU has walked away from the annual Bay Area road trip with a split in each of the last nine seasons. The Devils carry a nine-match win streak against the Golden Bears in Berkeley dating back to 1992 and are 15-2 since that loss. Under Patti Snyder-Park the Sun Devils are 20-7. The Devils earned a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Golden Bears earlier this year (10/11). The Golden Bears have lost three of their last four matches, mainly due to star outside hitter Mia Jerkov (6.01 kpg, 3.35 dpg) missing action due to a sprained ankle.

    Anglin Becomes Second Best Setter in ASU History:
    Junior setter Cheryl Anglin gained sole possession of second place in the ASU career record books three weeks ago moving past former Sun Devil Jennifer Helfrich, who dished out 2,956 assists as a four-year setter from 1989-92. With 3,199 in 73 career matches (11.68 per game average), Anglin has the most assists among active Pac-10 setters. Her season-high 76 assists vs. Oregon (10/18) are the sixth most in ASU single-match history and established an ASU and Pac-10 rally-scoring (adopted in 2001) record. Anglin already holds the single-season school record and freshman record when she had 1,452 in 2000 and also has the second (84) and fifth (77) most assist in single-match history.

    Escobar Having All-American Type Year:
    Arizona State outside hitter Juliana Escobar continues to have an All-American caliber year leading the Sun Devils in several statistical categories. She was named Pac-10 Volleyball Player of the Week for Sept. 23-Sept. 29 becoming ASU's 14th all-time POW award winner. Escobar recorded 20 kills (6.67 kpg) and 16 digs (5.33 dpg); both match highs in ASU's 3-0 win over rival Arizona. On the season, Escobar is fifth in the Pac-10 averaging 4.33 kills per game, fourth with 3.37 digs per game and second with 0.58 aces per game. She has recorded 12 double-doubles (kills/digs) this year (out of ASU's 17 matches), nine of which have been 20+ kill matches. She recorded her first 20-20 match with ASU rally-scoring record of 27 kills and 26 digs in a five-game win over Oregon (10/18).

    ASU Wins #500:
    The three-game sweep of then 12th-ranked Arizona (9/27) not only ended a five-match losing streak to the Wildcats, but also earned a milestone No. 500 all-time victory for the Sun Devil Volleyball program. Dating back to the perfect 21-0 season in the inaugural 1973 season, ASU is 504-353 (.588).

    The Barton County CC/Brazilian 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 hail from Barton County CC in Kansas. Escobar, who averaged 6.17 kills per game in her junior college career and was the 2001 AVCA JC Player of the Year, is from Brasilia, Brazil, while Habiger is from Cruzeira, Brazil.

    30 Years of Sun Devil Volleyball:
    The Sun Devil Volleyball program continues its 30th year of competition this weekend by taking on Stanford and California on the road. The program has combined for an all-time 504-353 (.588%) record dating back to the first year in 1973. The 1973 season 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 14 Pac-10 Player of the Week awards.

    2002 Sun Devil Player Notes...
    #1 Mandy Stephens (6-3, Jr., MB/OP, Napa, Calif.) --
    Has seen action in 10 matches this year, including one start vs. Cal (10/11)... averaging 1.67 kills per game... has recorded season-high six kills on three different occasions... had six kills in victory over Creighton (9/7) and six kills vs. Stanford (10/10) while hitting .462... inserted into lineup for an added block and an effective hitter. Career Notes: Averaged 2.51 kills per game while playing in 39 games and 18 matches in 2001... has a career 2.11 kpg average in 40 matches (87 games) as a Sun Devil.

    #2 Alicia Akporiaye (6-2, Fr., OH, Tucson, Ariz.) --
    Has started all 17 matches this year at opposite hitter... averaging 2.02 kills and 2.32 digs per game this year... has recorded four of her six career double-doubles this year, including a 12-kill and career-high 21-dig match vs. Oregon (10/18)... second on the team with 0.23 service aces per game... had her best career match vs. Cal (10/11), nearly tabbing a triple-double with 14 kills, 18 digs and a career-high blocks (8)... recorded career-high 16 kills and added 10 digs in five-game win over Washington (10/3)... notched double-double with 11 kills and 17 digs vs. UCLA (9/21)... the 17 digs matched her previous career high... recorded nine kills in season opener vs. South Carolina (9/6). Career Notes: 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 1.82 kpg and 2.13 (301 total) dpg in her 41 career matches as a Sun Devil.

    #3 Juliana Escobar (5-11, Jr., OH, Brasilia, Brazil) --
    Has started all 17 matches at outside hitter... has recorded a double-double (kills/digs) in 12 of ASU's 17 matches this year... also has 20 or more kills in nine matches and one 20-20 match this year... double-digits in kills in 14 of ASU's 17 matches... leads the team and is ranked fifth in the Pac-10 with 4.33 kpg average... also fourth in the league with 3.37 digs per game... leads the team and is second in the Pac-10 with 0.58 service aces per game, already passing the team leader (28; Jami Coughlin) from last year with 39... had solid weekend at Oregon and Oregon State, averaging 4.67 kpg and 4.89 dpg in two matches... recorded ASU rally-scoring records with 27 kills, 26 digs and 32.5 points in win over Oregon (10/18)... had 20 kills and 16 digs to help lead ASU to 3-0 win over Arizona (9/27)... became ASU's 14th player to ever earn Pac-10 Player of the Week (9/30) by recording 20 kills and 16 digs vs. Arizona (9/27)... had 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)... tallied 25 kills vs. No. 13 Pacific in her second match as a Sun Devil... 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. Career Notes: 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 15 of ASU's 17 matches this year, including five starts... averaging 1.44 kpg and 1.93 dpg... recorded season-high nine kills in victory over Creighton (9/7) and also had nine in loss to Washington State (10/4)... notched 10+ dig matches vs. Arizona (9/27) and Washington (10/3)... recorded his ninth career 10+ dig match with at Oregon (10/18)... best match this year was a nine-kill, nine-dig effort off the bench vs. UCLA (9/21). Career Notes: Coming off shoulder surgery and a redshirt season in 2001... averaging 1.26 kpg and 1.79 dpg in 43 career matches (109 games) as a Sun Devil.

    #5 Julia Leddy (6-2, Sr., MB, Mesa, Ariz.) --
    Has started all 17 matches this year at middle blocker... has recorded double-digits in kills in 12 of ASU's 17 matches and hit over .300 in all but six matches this year... second on the team with 3.04 kpg and is ranked fourth in the Pac-10 with .355 hitting percentage... leads the team with 0.87 blocks per game... had team-high 18 kills on a .471 hitting percentage vs. Oregon State (10/19)... recorded 15 kills and was one off of her career high with eight blocks in win over Cal. (10/11)... her four solo blocks vs. Washington (10/3) is the best in the Pac-10 this year and is tied for third with her eight blocks assists vs. Cal (10/11)... had solid weekend on the road at Oregon and Oregon State in which averaged 4.44 kpg and 1.00 bpg in the two victories... hit .526 with 22 kills in win over Oregon (10/18)... named tournament MVP at Red Raider Classic after averaging 2.90 kills in the two matches... had 14 kills in back-to-back matches vs. South Carolina and #13 Pacific in the season-opening Carolina Classic... named to all-tournament team at Carolina Classic. Career Notes: 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 44 matches with 10 or more kills and boasts a .336 hitting percentage in 90 career matches as a Sun Devil... two-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection... her 868 kills are 10th most among active Pac-10 players and 277 total blocks are sixth most.

    #7 Kim Mehlhorn (5-11, Jr., OH, Tempe, Ariz.) --
    Has started 10 of the 17 matches this year and seen action in 40 games... has been sidelined lately with a string of severe migraine headaches... averaging 1.83 kills per game and 1.40 dpg this year... hit .583 with seven kills off the bench to help ASU to 3-1 win over Oregon State (10/19)... notched consecutive double-doubles at the Red Raider Classic vs. Clemson and Texas Tech... named to all-tournament team at Red Raider Classic... had season-high 15 kills vs. Clemson (9/14)... has recorded double-digits in kills in three matches this year. Career Notes: 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 Devil hitters) and is averaging 2.31 kpg and 2.08 dpg in her 70 matches (225 games) as a Sun Devil.

    #8 Courtney Blocher (5-7, Jr, LI/OH, Scottsdale, Ariz.) --
    Has started 15 of 17 matches this year, with 14 coming at libero and one (Cal; 10/11) at outside hitter... second on the team and has been ranked in the top 10 in the Pac-10 with 298 digs per game... recorded her seventh career 20+ dig match with season-high 24 at Oregon (10/18)... also had 23 digs in five-game win at Washington (10/3)... recorded 20 digs vs. then No. 11 UCLA (9/21)... had 16 digs in five-game win over No. 13 Pacific (9/7)... has recorded 10 or more digs in nine of ASU's 17 matches. Career Notes: Started all 26 matches and played in every game in 2001... 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 (791 total) and has 41 career matches with 10 or more digs in her 73 matches as a Sun Devil... her 791 digs are eighth most among active Pac-10 players.

    #10 Cheryl Anglin (5-9, Jr., S, Queen Creek, Ariz.) --
    ASU's starting setter in all 17 matches this year... averaging 9.74 assists per game this year, seventh best in the Pac-10... recorded a Pac-10-best 76 assists at Oregon (10/18) to rank as the sixth-best assist performance in ASU single-match history... the 76 assists are the third most in Anglin's career and established an ASU and Pac-10 rally-scoring record... also dished out 67 assists vs. Clemson (9/14)... moved into second place in ASU career record books for assists (3,199) past former Sun Devil (1989-92) Jennifer Helfrich... her 17 assists vs. Arizona (10/25) were a single-match career low during her three years at ASU. Career Notes: Has the most career assists among active Pac-10 setters with 3,135... school single-season record and freshman record holder for assists when she had 1,452 as a freshman in 2000... owns the second (84), fifth (77) and sixth (76) best assist performances in school history... has recorded 39 career matches with 40 or more assists and 24 matches with 50 or more assists in her career... averaging 11.68 assists per game in 73 career matches (274 games) as a Sun Devil.

    #11 Jodi Smith (6-1, RS-Jr., MB, St. Johns, Ariz.) --
    Has started 16 matches this year at middle blocker... has 10 or more kills in eight of ASU's 17 matches... second on the team with 0.83 blocks per game... has four or more blocks in five of ASU's last six matches... had career-high eight blocks in five-game win over Cal (10/11)... set season-high with 15 kills vs. Oregon (10/18)... averaging 2.38 kpg to rank third on the team and is second in hitting percentage (behind Julia Leddy) at .256... had career-high three service aces vs. Pacific (9/7)... had 14 kills and hit .370 in win over No. 13 Pacific (9/7)... had 12 kills in four consecutive matches (9/20-10/3). Career Notes: 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... is averaging 2.27 kpg and is a career .262 hitter in 47 matches (157 games) as a Sun Devil... one of three married players on this year's squad (Habiger, Arnett).

    #12 Fernanda Habiger (5-11, Sr., S, Cruzeira, Brazil) --
    Has seen action in all 17 matches this year and is contending for more playing time behind Cheryl Anglin... was ASU's sparkplug off the bench in wins over Texas Tech (9/15), UCLA (9/21) and Arizona (9/27)... averaging 0.56 blocks per game this year, including one block in each of the last four matches... had a career-high 4.0 blocks vs. UCLA (9/21) and vs. Washington (10/3)... notched a career-high seven kills vs. Washington... averaging 3.56 assists per game, including a career-high 30 in five-game victory over Texas Tech (9/15)...her 30 assists vs. TTU marked the first time since 1999 that a player other then Cheryl Anglin has led the team in assists. Career Notes: 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... has moved into a starting role in the last two matches, averaging 5.14 dpg in ASU's two matches last weekend... had career-high 22 digs vs. Washington (11/02)... had 17 digs in five-game victory over California (10/11)... averaging 2.33 dpg in 33 games played this year. Career Notes: 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... made her first career start last weekend against Washington (11/02) and recorded her first career double-double with 11 kills and 22 digs... played in all three games vs. Creighton (9/7), recording one dig and one service ace... came off the bench in win vs. California (10/11) to record six kills while hitting .308... has played in six matches and 16 games this year, averaging 1.44 kpg and 1.69 points per game... 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 seven of ASU's 17 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)... averaging 0.87 digs per game this year... 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.

    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 system, who herself was an outstanding defensive specialist at Portland State and in professional volleyball, ASU has led the conference in total digs four times during her tenure (1989-P) 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 four times. 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 15.48 dpg average, with Juliana Escobar (4th) and Courtney Blocher (NR) ranking each in the top 10 in the league at one point this year with 3.37 and 2.98 dpg 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. Six Sun Devils (Anglin, Blocher, Mehlhorn, Habiger, Leddy, Harris) were nominated for Pac-10 All-Academic and Academic All-America this year.

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