Volleyball Takes No. 9 Stanford To The Limit

Oct. 31, 2003

STANFORD, Calif. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- Despite several outstanding performances and a pair of 20-kill matches from Juliana Escobar and Natalie Harris, the Arizona State Sun Devils fell short of an upset of ninth-ranked Stanford Friday night in Pac-10 volleyball action at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal rallied to defeat the Sun Devils in five games by scores of 30-27, 30-23, 35-37, 29-31, 15-9.

With the loss the Devils remain winless at Maples Pavilion in the program's 31-year history and fall to 8-12 overall and 3-8 in Pac-10 play. Stanford improves to 17-5 overall and 10-3 in conference action.

Escobar (Brasilia, Brazil) led ASU with 22 kills and tied for the team high with 17 digs for her ninth double-double of the year. Harris (Tempe, Ariz.) recorded 23 kills (one off her season high) and added nine digs and one service ace. Senior middle blocker Mandy Stephens (Napa, Calif.) had a nice homecoming to the Bay Area, hitting .500 behind 14 kills. Freshman middle blocker Tierra Burnley (Santa Clarita, Calif.) recorded a career-high 11 kills on a .529 (11-2-17) attack percentage. Escobar and senior libero Courtney Blocher (Scottsdale, Ariz.) tied for the team lead with 17 digs.

Stanford had three players reach double-digits in kills, led by the 19 from junior All-American Ogonna Nnamani. Freshman Kristin Richards added 18 kills and 15 digs and middle blocker Jennifer Harvey had 16 kills (.464) and seven blocks.

The Devils played tough in the first game, leading the Cardinal as late as 22-21. After Stanford forged a 24-24 tie, they went on a decisive 4-0 run and eventually went on to gain the 30-27 opening-frame win. Harris led all players with five kills in the set.

Stanford took game two 30-23, but not without a fight from the Sun Devils. After trailing early 11-4, ASU rallied to pull to within one at 15-14, but the Cardinal were just too tough gaining the win. Stephens led ASU with four kills, but the Devils were limited to a .087 hitting percentage in the set.

Much like the first two games, the Devils were also right in the third game, only this time they pushed the match to a fourth game. ASU took a late lead late in the set at 27-26 and battled through eight tie scores to earn the win. Tie scores ensued at 28-28, 29-29, 30-30, 31-31, 32-32, 33-33, 34-34 and 35-35, before a kill from Harris a Stanford attack error gave the Devils the hard-fought 37-35 win. Led by the eight kills from Escobar, ASU out-hit the Cardinal .315 to .208 in the third set.

The Devils looked like they would easily push the match to a decisive fifth game, but a late Stanford again knotted the set. ASU built a 23-19 lead, but Stanford went on a 6-0 run to gain a 25-23 advantage. Tied at 27-27, Escobar recorded three of her six kills in the set to give ASU the 31-29 win. Harris led the Devils with eight kills on a scorching .538 (8-1-13) hitting percentage. ASU again out-hit the Cardinal .395 to .300 in the fourth game.

In game five, the Cardinal opened with a 4-1 lead to force an early Sun Devil timeout after a kill by Jennifer Hucke. Stanford led 8-6 as the two squads switched sides of the court. Stanford pushed the lead to 11-8 on a kill by Kristin Richards but called a timeout at 11-9. The Cardinal came out of the timeout to score the final four points, including a service ace by Jennifer Harvey to reach match point at 14-9. An Arizona State hitting error gave Stanford the 15-9 win.

Sun Devil volleyball fans can watch a tape-delayed version of the match against Stanford on Fox Sports Net. The game will air at 10:30 a.m. in the Phoenix area with Roxy Bernstein and Lisa Sharpley calling all the action from Maples Pavilion. Please check your local cable listings for air times in your local area. The Devils return to action Saturday night with a 7 p.m. match against No. 6 California at Haas Pavilion.

Match Notes:
ASU is now 4-43 all-time against Stanford and has never won at Maples Pavilion... freshman middle blocker Tierra Burnley registered a career high 11 kills... senior setter Cheryl Anglin recorded season highs in assists (47) and digs (15)... Juliana Escobar tied a season high with four blocks... sophomore Sarah Watkins had a season-high 10 digs... ASU led Stanford in kills (86-69) and digs (77-73).

--Sun Devil Volleyball--
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