SPOKANE, Wash.- Arizona State volleyball continued with the momentum in the opening game of the Gonzaga Invitational with a 3-0 (25-13, 28-26, 25-15) against Seattle University Friday evening.
Sophomore Macey Gardner continued with her dominant performance on the court, leading the team with 21 kills, six digs and a solo block. In all, four Sun Devils would end the night with five or more kills. Freshmen BreElle Bailey and Kizzy Willey would both put up six kills, while Mercedes Binns snagged five of her own along with five blocks.
Defensive leaders for the Sun Devils include setter Bianca Arellano who ended the night with five blocks, nine digs and 35 assists. Seniors Stephanie Preach and Jenny Teslevich would close with 11 and 10 digs, respectively.
The Sun Devils would slide past the Redhawks in the first set (25-13), but were soon put to the test in the second set causing ASU to trek back from a eight-point deficit to take the set 28-26 followed by a match clinching 25-15 performance in the third.
In the first set, ASU would go on multiple scoring runs while holding the Redhawks to 13 points overall. The set would begin with both teams taking turns holding the lead until back-to-back kills from Gardner forced Seattle its first timeout. Seattle would pull within five (15-10) before a 10-3 run sealed the first set.
The second set would begin with both teams battling it out on the court and creating six tie-scores in the beginning moments before three-straight errors for ASU caused head coach Jason Watson to call the first timeout of the match, down 11-8. Three subsequent errors adding to the Seattle run would lead to another timeout from the ASU bench.
Three-straight kills from Bailey would halt the Seattle run and bring the score to 11-18 with the Redhawks still holding the advantage. A kill from setter Bianca Arellano, would ensue the 11-4 run by ASU that would tie the game, 22-22, following block assists from Bailey and Whitney Follette. SU would avoid the match win after an error that would bring Arizona State within one. Gardner then took the games by its reigns and closed the set with three-straight kills, giving ASU the win.
"We struggled to control the serving of Seattle. They really put a lot of pressure on our passing.” Head Coach Jason Watson commented. “As uncomfortable as it was, we found a way to battle back in Game 2. Moving forward, we need to find a little more balance in our offense. Macey was outstanding tonight in the way she scored points for our team."
ASU would waste no time in the final set, pulling to a 20-8 lead following the scoring run by the Sun Devils. Defense would not allow a final kill in the remaining seven points put up by the Redhawks, Follette would shut the door on the match with her kill, giving ASU its fourth consecutive sweep with the win over SU.
The Sun Devils return to action Saturday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. PT for the second game of the tournament against UNLV followed by an evening match against host-team Gonzaga at 6 p.m.