No. 4 Huskers Just Too Much For Devils In NCAA Second Round

Dec. 7, 2002

LINCOLN, Neb. ( - They played hard, they playedscrappy and they never gave up, but in the end the No. 4 NebraskaCornhuskers were just too much for the Arizona State Sun Devils as the 2002season came to an end with a 3-0 loss in the second round of the NCAAVolleyball Tournament Saturday night in front of a red-clad crowd of 4,229at historic NU Coliseum. Game scores were 30-22, 30-21, 30-27 in favor ofthe 2000 NCAA National Champion Huskers.

With the loss the Sun Devils ended the 2002 season with a 15-12 record,marking the 17th time in the program's 30-year history that ASU has gained15 or more victories. In its 14th trip to the NCAA Tournament, ASU is now7-14. ASU head coach Patti Snyder-Park concluded her 14 years at the helmof the Sun Devils, finishing with a career record of 216-181.

Nebraska improved to 30-1 on the season and will move into the Sweet 16next weekend, most likely as the host at NU Coliseum. North Carolina,Hawaii and Miami (Fla.) will join the Huskers in the Central Region. TheHuskers have now won 62 straight matches at home, included in that is astring of 60 straight at NU Coliseum. They will be making an appearance inthe Sweet 16 for the ninth straight year.

'I'm really proud of our team. They played hard, they were aggressive andcompetitive. We knew we had our work cut out for us, but I'm proud of ourgang. We really pushed Nebraska and we were not a walkover by any means,'said Snyder-Park. 'I'm really proud of middle blocker Julia Leddy. Shesaved her best for last tonight. It has been a fun ride and I can't thankArizona State enough for 14 great years.'

The Devils were led by the 15 kills from junior outside hitter JulianaEscobar (Brasilia, Brazil). Escobar finished her rookie campaign at ASUwith 420 kills to rank 13th in the single-season record books. With oneservice ace, she also moved into a tie for third in the single-seasonannals with 50. Her 15 kills marked the 21st time in 2002 that she recorded10 or more kills in a match.

Senior middle blocker Julia Leddy (Mesa, Ariz.) was keyed by the Nebraskadefense and was limited to her fourth lowest kill output of the year withseven. After a 22-kill effort vs. Cincinnati in the first round, Leddysolidified her name among the best middle blockers in ASU history and willend her career as the leader in career hitting percentage (.342) and hasthe first (.367, 2002), third (.352, 2001) and fifth (.328, 2000)single-season hitting percentages in school history.

Junior middle blocker Jodi Smith (St. Johns, Ariz.) also had seven kills inthe defeat, while junior Kim Mehlhorn (Tempe, Ariz.) and sophomore NatalieHarris (Tempe, Ariz.) each had six. Harris and junior setter Cheryl Anglin(Queen Creek, Ariz.) anchored the ASU defense with nine digs apiece. Anglinfinished with 23 assists and now has 3,560 career assists (second best inASU history) going into her senior season.

The Huskers were led by a trio of co-Big 13 Players of the Year in setterGreichaly Cepero, outside hitter Laura Pilakowski and middle blocker AmberHolmquist. Cepero had three kills, five digs and 41 assists, whilePilakowski and Holmquist combined for 20 kills.

'This is a good win; a good effort from the Huskers. Arizona Statepresented a good match; they have good middle blockers. We played gooddefense, and we had a good block tonight. The crowd was psyched, so it's sofun to be out there,' said Nebraska head coach John Cook.

The Huskers took control of the match from the get-go, gaining a 30-22 winin game one. Despite ASU playing solid, they were no match for the Huskerssize at the net as NU hit .455 to ASU's .171. Escobar led the Devils withfive kills in the opening frame.

In game two the scrappy Sun Devils got as close as two points threedifferent times, but the Huskers were tough with the block late in the gameto secure a 2-0 lead with a 30-21 game two win. Escobar led the Devilsagain with six kills.

Game three was much of the same for the Devils, as they fought hard to tiethe score three times at 21-21, 22-22 and 23-23, and came within one pointat 28-27, but couldn't push the match to a fourth game as Nebraska finishedoff the match for the 30-27 win.

                 1       2       3ASU (15-12)     22      21      27NEB (30-1)      30      30      30ASU Statistical Leaders:KILLS: Escobar (15), Leddy (7), Smith (7)ASSISTS: Anglin (23)TOTAL BLOCKS: Smith (3)SERVICE ACES: Escobar (1), Harris (1)DIGS: Anglin (9), Harris (9)ATTENDANCE: 4,229

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