Volleyball Advances To NCAA Tournament For Third Time In Four Years

Dec. 1, 2002

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TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- For the third time in the lastfour years and for the 17th time in the program's 30-year history,the Arizona State Sun Devil Volleyball team will advance topostseason play. ASU will face Cincinnati (23-8) in a first-roundmatch-up in the NCAA Tournament Friday night at 5 p.m. (CST) inLincoln, Neb. Nebraska will face Tennessee-Martin (24-5) in the otherfirst-round match.

The Sun Devils finished the regular season with a 14-11, 8-10 Pac-10record and was one of eight teams from the tough Pacific-10Conference to earn a berth into the Field of 64. ASU has now advancedto the NCAA Tournament 14 times with a career 6-13 (.316) record. Theat-large bid is ASU's third since the NCAA expanded the field from 48to 64 in 1998.

1. Southern California
2. Stanford
3. Nebraska
4. Northern Iowa
5. Florida
6. Hawaii
7. Minnesota
8. UC Santa Barbara
9. Pepperdine
10. Arizona
11. North Carolina
12. Washington State
13. Penn State
14. Wisconsin
15. Ohio State
16. Notre Dame

'We are extremely excited to make the tournament and to have thefeeling that we earned a spot among because we played well down thestretch,' said ASU head coach Patti Snyder-Park. 'For me this isobviously a great moment with it being my final year at ASU. Icouldn't be prouder of this group of girls who have battled all yearthrough all of the ups and downs. We are going to compete hard andhave fun as we play some more great competition.'

The No. 3 national seed Nebraska Cornhuskers enter the tournamentwith a 28-1 overall record and were a perfect 20-0 in the Big 12 in2002. The 2000 NCAA Champions lost its only match of the year to No.1 USC and won 25 of its 28 matches in three games.

Arizona State will enter the tournament having won three four of itslast six matches, including a pair of three-game sweeps against OralRoberts (11/29) and Weber State (11/30) in capturing the UNLV/HardRock Thanksgiving Classic in Las Vegas over the weekend. The SunDevils head into the tournament led by the solid play of First-TeamAll-Pac-10 performer Juliana Escobar and senior middle blocker JuliaLeddy. Escobar leads ASU in kills (4.26 per game), digs (3.30 pergame), service aces (0.52 per game) and points (451.5). Leddy is onpace to break the single-season (.360) and career (.340) hittingpercentage marks and has recorded double-digits in kills in 17 ofASU's 25 matches this year.

'To go to the tournament in my last year and in Patti's last year isgreat feeling,' said senior captain Julia Leddy. 'We went throughsome highs and lows this year, but in the end we pulled through anddid what we needed to in order to get this bid. We have been playingwell and I am real confident that we can continue to play well in thetournament.'

Tickets for the NCAA first and second rounds at Nebraska can bepurchased on the web at www.Huskers.com, or by calling the Nebraskaticket office at (800)-8BIGRED. Tickets are sold in a package forboth nights and are = $24 for preferred reserved seating, $20 forupper reserved and $16 for general admission. Any remaining ticketscan be purchased at the door and are $12 for reserved, $10 for upperreserved and $8 for general admission.

NCAA first round match #1:
Friday, Dec. 6, at 5 p.m.: Arizona State (14-11) vs. Cincinnati
(23-8) -- Arizona State will be visitor and wear dark uniforms.

NCAA first round match #2:
Friday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. or 30 minutes after match No. 1:
Tennessee-Martin (24-5) vs. Nebraska (28-1)

NCAA second round match:
Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m.: match 1 winner vs. match 2 winner

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