TEMPE, Ariz.- Arizona State volleyball travels to Spokane, Wash., on Friday Sept. 6 to face Seattle University (2-3) at 4 p.m. PT in the first game of the Gonzaga Invitational. The Sun Devils then open Saturday morning against UNLV (2-1) at 10:30 a.m. PT followed by a primetime match against the host team Gonzaga (0-3) at 6 p.m. PT.
The Sun Devils swept all three opponents at last weekend’s Utah Valley invitational including a 3-0 win over No. 24 Wichita State behind Tournament MVP Macey Gardner’s 44 kills. ASU averaged 14.78 kills per set along with 2.28 blocks per set to frustrate opposing offenses, which were held at .068 hitting percentage, leading the Pac-12. ASU also tops the Pac-12 after the first week of play in digs with 158 with senior Stephanie Preach averaging 5.33 digs per set.
ASU comes into the tournament with the highest record, but the field also faced tough competition in each club’s opening week. Both Seattle and Gonzaga are coming off losses to Pac-12 foe No. 5 Washington (3-0) while UNLV fell to Kansas State (3-0).
About the Gonzaga Series
ASU leads the series 2-0 with the last win coming in last season’s 3-1 victory in Tempe. Savannah Blinn leads the offense for the Bull Dogs with her 46 kills, averaging 3.54 kills per set with a .353 hitting percentage.
About the Seattle Series
The Sun Devils hold the 1-0 advantage in their sole meeting with the Redhawks after a 3-1 win at the ASU Sheraton Classic in 2010. Sophomore Martina Samadan leads SU with 50 kills, hitting .400 through five games for the Redhawks.
About the UNLV Series
Arizona State has a chance to even up the series in this weekend’s tournament with the Rebels currently holding the 3-4 advantage over the Sun Devils. The last time these two teams met was during head coach Jason Watson’s first year at ASU in 2008 where ASU fell, 3-1, in the second game of the season. Outside hitter Daryn Glenn leads the Rebel offense with 40 kills.
Solid Season Start
Macey Gardner was named MVP of the Utah Valley La Quinta Inn & Suites invitational following a striking debut to start the 2013 season, posting a team-high 44 kills that includes a 19-point performance in the sweep of North Dakota State. The reigning 2012 Pac-12 All-Freshman also is making an impact on defense, posting through three games an average of 2.89 digs a set, an improvement from her freshmen average of 2.34.
Newcomer BreElle Bailey made an immediate impact for ASU in the Utah Valley La Quinta Inn & Suites invitational this past weekend with 37 total kills, only trailing to Gardner’s 44. Bailey would also post the team-high16 kills in the upset win over No. 24 Wichita State while hitting .636, which places her fourth on the Pac-12 individual match high list.
Three Earn All-Tournament Honors at Utah Valley
Stephanie Preach and BreElle Bailey were named to the All-Tournament team and sophomore Macey Gardner garnered Tournament Most Valuable Player. Leaders over the weekend in kills were Macey Gardner (44) and BreElle Bailey (37). Stephanie Preach who started the season fourth on ASU’s all-time career digs, now shy’s the third position by a mere 20 digs following her 48 dig performance this past weekend for a total of 1,508.
The Sun Devils and head coach Jason Watson posted its second-consective 3-0 start. The last time this occured for ASU was during the 1997-1998 seasons under Patti Snyder-Park.
Arizona State is hitting .287 while holding its first three opponents (UVU, WSU, NDSU) to a .068 hitting percentage. The Sun Devils only allowed nine points in the second set against No. 24 Wichita State where ASU went on to sweep the Shockers, 3-0.