Volleyball Completes Non-Conference Slate At SMU Classic

Sept. 9, 2003

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    The Arizona State Sun Devil Volleyball team faces its final non-conference challenge this weekend with the three-match SMU Radisson Volleyball Classic in Dallas, Texas. ASU will face Tennessee-Chattanooga, Stephen F. Austin and tournament host SMU this Friday and Saturday. ASU is 2-4 on the season and is looking to even its record before starting a rugged Pac-10 schedule with road matches at Washington (9/18) and Washington State (9/19).

    The Tournament Schedule:
    The Sun Devils open the tournament Friday with a 4:30 p.m. (CST) match against Tennessee-Chattanooga. ASU will then play a pair of matches on Saturday, starting with Stephen F. Austin at 10 a.m. and tournament host SMU at 7 p.m. The Devils are 2-0 all-time against SFA, but have never played either UTC or SMU.

    Recapping Last Weekend:
    ASU endured another disappointing weekend on the court with a 1-2 record in the SBC/Sand Regency Volleyball Classic hosted by the University of Nevada. ASU opened the weekend with a three-set win over Gonzaga, but then dropped matches to Tennessee (3-2) and Nevada (3-1). For the second straight weekend in tournament action the Devils posted 0-2 records on a Saturday.

    Watkins Inks Name In Record Books:
    Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Watkins etched her name in the ASU record books with a memorable serving performance in the season-opening 3-1 victory over Utah. Watkins, one of ASU's starting outside hitters who played sparingly as a freshman in 2002, recorded seven aces to rank tied for third in the single-match record books. The last Sun Devil to record seven aces in a single match was All-American outside hitter Amanda Burbridge against Minnesota in the 2000 NCAA Tournament (12/2/00). Watkins has been one of ASU's most consistent players through the first six matches, averaging 2.43 kills per game and is tied for the team lead with 0.52 service aces per game (12 total).

    Escobar and Harris Named To All-Tournament Team in Reno:
    Arizona State outside hitter Juliana Escobar and Natalie Harris were named to the all-tournament team at the SBC/Sands Regency Volleyball Classic last weekend in Reno, Nev. Escobar (Brasilia, Brazil) averaged 3.50 kills and 3.83 digs per game during the three-match tournament. The senior is averaging 3.70 kills per game in 2003 to rank second on the team. Harris (Tempe, Ariz.) averaged 4.75 kills per game (57 total) during the tournament, including a career high 24 against Tennessee. For the season, Harris leads the Sun Devils and is fifth in the Pac-10 averaging 4.09 kills per game.

    A Career Day For Harris:
    Redshirt junior outside hitter Natalie Harris likes to set career highs in bunches. In 2002, Harris recorded a career best performance against UCLA (11/21/02) when she tallied 22 kills and 17 digs. Harris tied her career high with 17 digs last Saturday against Tennessee and recorded a career high with 24 kills. She also had 27.5 points and four total blocks vs. the Lady Vols. For the season Harris leads ASU with 4.09 kills per game and is tied for the team lead with 12 service aces.

    Quick Sets:

  • ASU has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in three of the past four years.
  • The Sun Devils feature a roster of six seniors, three juniors, one sophomore and four freshmen.
  • Although 2-4, ASU has played its opponents extremely tough with a combined score of 617-616.
  • Juliana Escobar has recorded a double-double in 19 of her 32 career matches as a Sun Devil.
  • Head Coach Brad Saindon and assistants Terri Cox and Jami Coughlin are all ASU graduates.
  • Senior setter Cheryl Anglin ranks second in the ASU record books with 3,722 career assists.
  • Senior libero Courtney Blocher is only 65 digs shy of becoming only the 13th Sun Devil with 1,000 digs.
  • Sophomore Sarah Watkins has recorded double-digits in kills in four of ASU's six matches.
  • Saindon compiled a 181-112 (.618) record at Colorado (1986-96) and led CU to six NCAA Tournaments.

    Devils To Face Tough Schedule in 2003:
    The Sun Devils will have to fight through a tough schedule in 2003 in order to repeat as a participant in the NCAA Tournament. ASU is scheduled to play 12 matches against preseason (AVCA) top 25 opponents and 10 programs that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year. ASU will play two matches each against USC (# 1), Stanford (#4), Arizona (#14), UCLA (#9), Washington State (preseason #19), Washington (#18) and California (#16). The Sun Devils were picked to finish seventh in the Pac-10 and picked up 13 votes in the preseason AVCA/USA Today national poll to unofficially be listed 41st.

    Saindon Makes Memorable Debut With Win Over Utah:
    For the first time in 14 years, the Arizona State Volleyball program will usher in a new era when Brad Saindon takes the court as the fifth head coach in 31 years of program history. Saindon replaced Patti Snyder-Park who retired after leading the program to seven NCAA appearances in her 14 years at the helm of the Sun Devils. Saindon has experience at nearly every level of volleyball coaching, having spent 10 seasons as the head coach at the University of Colorado and the past six at various international levels. He previously spent the last two years with USA Volleyball and coached the Australian National Women's Team to a ninth place finish in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Saindon is a 1976 graduate of Arizona State with a degree in business administration. In his first match as ASU's head coach, Saindon coached the Sun Devils to a 3-1 win over Mountain West Conference preseason favorite Utah.

    Escobar Looks To Build Off All-Pac-10 Season in 2002:
    Senior outside hitter Juliana Escobar joined elite company last year when she earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors. Escobar led the Sun Devils averaging 4.29 kills, 3.36 digs and 5.05 points per game in 2002. She also recorded 50 service aces to rank tied for third in the ASU single-season record books and with became the 14th Sun Devil to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. Through ASU's first six matches, Escobar is second on the team and ninth in the Pac-10 averaging 3.70 kills per game and is fifth in the league with 3.26 digs per game. She has recorded three double-doubles (kills/digs) this season and has 19 in 32 career matches as a Sun Devil. Her 26 digs against Tennessee (9/6) tied a career high and is second best during the rally-scoring era (2001-P).

    Anglin Becomes Second Best Setter in ASU History:
    Senior setter Cheryl Anglin will spit time with junior Giovana Melo in 2003, but will forever have her named etched in the ASU record books. Anglin gained sole possession of second place in the ASU career record books midway through her junior season, moving past former Sun Devil Jennifer Helfrich. With 3,722 in 89 career matches (11.21 per game average), Anglin has the most assists among active Pac-10 setters. She recorded 76 assists vs. Oregon (10/18/02) to ranks as 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. Anglin leads the Devils with 7.04 assists per game and has recorded two matches with 30 or more assists.

    ASU Career Assists:

    1.	Regina Stahl (1984-87)	5,1802.	Cheryl Anglin (2000-P)	3,7223.	Jennifer Helfrich (1989-92)	2,9564.	Noelle Fridrich (1986-89)	2,7315.	Jolynn Faatulu (1995-98)	2,730
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