TEMPE, Ariz.—The Arizona State volleyball team (17-11, 6-10) will take its penultimate road trip of the regular season this week, traveling to Los Angeles to face UCLA and No. 8 USC on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The UCLA match is set for a 7 p.m. MT first serve at the Wooden Center and will be live streamed on uclabruins.com. Sunday’s contest at USC has a Noon MT start and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
About the UCLA Series
The Bruins split a pair of road matches this week, falling to Washington in three before surviving a five-set battle with Washington State.
Against the Huskies, Karsta Lowe led the way with 16 kills, while Kelly Reeves added 13. In the win over the Cougars, Lowe, Mariana Aquino, Maddy Klineman and Reeves each posted double-digit kills with 22, 17, 10, and 10 each. In the match, UCLA came back after dropping the first set to come out with the second, third, and deciding set in the win.
The two teams last met in Tempe, with UCLA taking the win in three sets. Nora Tuioti-Mariner led the way with nine kills while Macey Gardner and Whitney Follette put up eight kills apiece in the match.
About the USC Series
Over the weekend, the Trojans dropped a pair of road matches, falling to Washington in four before dropping a five-set thriller to Washington State.
Against the Huskies, Samantha Bricio led the way with 21 kills and a team-high hitting percentage of .341. In the match against the Cougars, Bricio and Ebony Nwanebu combined for 42 of USC’s 74 kills in a match that went down to the wire, pushing the final score of the fifth set to 21-19.
Earlier this season, the two squads met in Tempe, and the Trojans picked up the three-set win. BreElle Bailey led the Sun Devils with 10 kills.
Last Time Out
Over the weekend, the Sun Devils picked up a split at home, sweeping past Colorado before dropping a four-set decision to Utah.
In the match against the Buffaloes, Macey Gardner led the way with 18 kills while she and Stephanie Preach combined for 24 total digs.
BeElle Bailey had a career-high afternoon in the loss to the Utes, picking up 24 kills for the first time in her career. Gardner added 16 while Preach and Jenny Teslevich picked up 21 and 15 digs, respectively.
Heating Up The Polls
This season, the Sun Devils had previously been ranked every week between Sept. 16 and Oct. 24 in the AVCA Division I volleyball polls.
ASU’s move to No. 15 in the Sept 30, 2013 poll constitutes the highest ranking since 1995 where the Sun Devils, led by Patti Snyder-Park, made it into the Sweet 16.
ASU’s debut at No. 18 in the polls was the first top-25 ranking since Nov. 4, 2002.
Stifling Sun Devils
ASU continues to lead the league in opponent hitting percentage with a low of .160.
In Oct. 4 contest with Oregon State, the Sun Devils held the Beavers to a scant eight points in the second set, which marks the lowest ASU has held a squad in a set this season.
Racking Up The Kills
Macey Gardner has totaled 411 kills so far this season, and leads the league in kills per set with a clip of 4.57. Gardner also sits in third in the conference in points per set with an average of 4.84. Additionally, both marks rank Gardner nationally: 12th in kills per set and 23rd in points per set.
Setter Bianca Arellano has posted 10 double-doubles this season, which places her in a three-way tie for fifth-most in the conference. Arellano posted a season high 55 assists on Oct. 12 at Utah.
Gardner Has Career Night
Macey Gardner picked up a new career high in kills at 29 in the five-set battle with Utah on Oct. 24. Gardner was one kill away from tying the single-game kill record (per the rally scoring era) of 30, set by Sarah Reaves in a match against Western Kentucky on Sept. 20, 2008.
Gardner’s previous career high of 28 from the match at UC Irvine on Aug. 31, 2012, marks the ASU freshman record, which is shared by Reaves, who recorded the same mark in a match against Oregon on Sept. 27, 2007.
Watch Out For Tuioti-Mariner
Nora Tuioti-Mariner has emerged as a force on the court for the Sun Devils, picking up 30 kills in a span of three matches, second most on the team. At Utah, Tuioti-Mariner recorded 14 kills, and 14 digs, both season highs.
2013 Sweep Count
On the season, the Sun Devils have swept their opponent en route to 14 of their wins. Notably, the then-unranked squad defeated then-No. 2 Texas in straight sets at the Illini Classic on Sept. 13.
Attacking The Warhawks
Arizona State’s blistering attack percentage of .374 in the win over Louisiana Monroe during the ASU Marriott Invitational (Sept. 20) ranks as the fifth-highest performance at ASU in the rally-scoring era (2001).
ASU Opens with Program-Best Start Since 1997
The Sun Devils began the 2013 season with a 7-0 start, the program’s best since Patti Snyder-Park’s 1997 squad posted the same record.
Starting with A Sweep
The Sun Devils recorded a sweep in each of its first seven wins this season, marking the longest stretch of wins without relinquishing to start a season during the rally-scoring era, which was instituted in NCAA Volleyball in 2001.
Arellano Named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week
Bianca Arellano was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week following her performances in the Illini Classic. The sophomore recorded 13-digs, 32-assists for her fourth double-double performance in the 3-0 sweep of then No. 2 Texas Longhorns. Arellano also added a season-high six kills in the match win.
Arellano, a Phoenix-native newcomer to the Sun Devils, also posted 40 assists and 20 digs in the five-set setback to host team No. 14 Illinois, after leading ASU to a win by totaling 29 assists. Arellano average 4.90 digs and 9.18 assists per set, as ASU went 3-1 in the Illini Classic.
Gardner Named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week
Sophomore outside hitter Macey Gardner was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday, Sept. 9. Gardner, a native of Gilbert, Ariz., was named the Most Valuable Player of the Gonzaga Invitational where she averaged 5.94 kills and 7.06 points per game, while hitting .367 over three matches. Gardner had three-consecutive 20-kill outings, including 22 in a 3-0 win over UNLV. She hit .452 in that match, committing just three errors.
Ranked Teams vs. Watson
Head coach Jason Watson has grabbed 10 wins over ranked teams in his tenure at Arizona State. Most recently, the Sun Devils snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over Oregon on the road in Eugene, Ore.
Notably, ASU topped defending national champion and then-No. 2 Texas, 3-0, at the Illini Classic on Sept. 13. This marks the second time in Watson’s tenure that ASU has defeated the No. 2 team in the country, as the Sun Devils defeated Cal, 3-2, during the 2011 season.
Top-25 Wins Under Watson
Oct. 25, 2008 at No. 24 Oregon State.........W 3-0
Sept. 25, 2009 No. 14 UCLA* ...................W 3-0
Oct. 15, 2010 No. 5 USC* .........................W 3-1
Oct. 16, 2010 No. 10 UCLA* .....................W 3-1
Nov. 24, 2011 at No. 2 California* .............W 3-2
Nov. 2, 2012 No. 6 USC*............................W 3-0
Nov. 21, 2012 at No. 5 Washington*...........W 3-1
Aug. 31, 2013 No. 24 Wichita State ……..W 3-0
Sept. 13, 2013 No. 2 Texas ……………….W 3-0
Nov. 1, 2013 No. 23 Oregon ...........................W, 3-1
The Sun Devils closed out the non-conference slate at home, hosting the Marriott Invitational, Sept 20-21. Arizona State picked up straight-set wins over Cal Poly, Alabama State and Louisiana-Monroe, and Bianca Arellano was named tournament MVP. Stephanie Preach and BreElle Bailey were named to the All-Tournament Team.
ASU earned its first marquee win of the year to close out the Ilini Classic, defeating the defending national champion and then No. 2 ranked Texas in straight sets.
In the second tournament, the Sun Devils trekked to Spokane, Wash., for the Gonzaga Invitational, Sept. 6-7. ASU defeated Seattle and UNLV in straight sets before executing the sweep of host-Gonzaga. Macey Gardner was voted tournament MVP for the second time this season while Bianca Arellano was voted to the All-Tournament Team.
ASU opened its 2013 season with a tournament win over the Utah Valley La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational, defeating Utah Valley and North Dakota State before upsetting then No. 24 Wichita State, Aug. 30-31.
Macey Gardner was named Tournament MVP, while Stephanie Preach and BreElle Bailey were named to the All-Tournament Team.