LOS ANGELES, Calif.- Arizona State volleyball won in exciting fashion for the first five-set victory of the season Friday evening over UCLA. The win constitutes the ninth victory in the series history with the Bruins- the last for the Sun Devils occurring on Oct. 16, 2010 in Tempe.
The Sun Devils (18-11, 7-10) had three players in double-digit figures, with Macey Gardner leading the way with 19, with BreElle Bailey adding 15 and Whitney Follette with 13. Nora-Tuioti-Mariner followed close behind, adding nine kills of her own and hitting a solid .350 attack percentage.
UCLA was held to a mere .083 hitting percentage in the final frame, giving ASU the right of way to clinching the set. Both ASU and UCLA would snag seven service aces, with senior Stephanie Preach’s third on the day closing the fifth frame for the Sun Devils.
In the opening frame, UCLA would jump out the 8-4 lead before ASU began a scoring run of its own. Mercedes Binns would put up the first block of the night to bring the Sun Devils within three followed by back-to-back kills from Follette and Gardner. Arizona State was forced to battle from behind from there before a kill from Tuioti-Mariner evened the score at 18, the first tie since the commencing minutes. From there, ASU cruised on a 8-1 run to take the set.
The second frame would include 14 ties and nine lead changes, with both benches battling it out until the final points. ASU would see the final tie following two errors by UCLA before Maddy Klineman’s and Reeves’ gave the Bruins the 26-24 win.
Tied at one all, ASU came out of the break controlling the flow of the game, with UCLA’s sole lead occurring early in the set. The Sun Devils would lead by as many as six following a Follette and Gardner block for the 19-15 lead. UCLA would chip away at the lead to pull within two following a 4-0 run by the Bruins before a kill from Tuioti-Mariner and a UCLA gave the Sun Devils the set.
The Bruins started the fourth set on multiple scoring runs, jumping out to a 12-6 lead. The Sun Devils would attempt to close the gap, but the Bruins would ultimately come out victorious forcing a fifth frame.
ASU found itself down 5-0 early in the fifth frame before three-straight attack errors along with a kill from Gardner sprung them back into action, forcing a timeout from the UCLA bench. Down 11-7, ASU battled back and tied the score at 12 all following back-to-back kills from Bailey and Tuioti-Mariner. With the game on the line, Tuioti-Mariner slammed one down through the defenders, setting ASU up for match point before a perfect serve from Preach sealed the win over the Bruins.
The Sun Devils now head to take on No. 8 USC on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 11 a.m. PT/12 MT before heading home to Tempe. The match will be broadcasted on Pac-12 Networks.