TEMPE, Ariz.—After snapping its seven-game losing streak with a pair of crucial road wins, the Arizona State volleyball team (15-9, 4-8 Pac-12) returns to Wells Fargo Arena this week for a pair of Pac-12 rematches with the Washington schools. ASU will face Washington State on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. MT, with the game to be aired on the Pac-12 Networks. Saturday’s match against No. 3 Washington is set for a Noon MT first serve.
About the Washington State Series
The Cougars split a pair of home matches to Colorado and Utah over the weekend, falling to the Buffaloes in a five-set battle before sweeping the Utes in straight-sets.
In the loss to Colorado, Washington State picked up the first two sets before dropping the final three. Three Cougars recorded double-digit kills for the match. Led by Kyra Holt’s 20 kills, Washington State rebounded on Saturday in the 3-0 win over Utah. Holt was most recently named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.
Last time the two squads met, in Pullman, Wash., the Sun Devils battled back from a set-one loss and eventually forced the deciding frame before falling to the Cougars, 3-2.
About the Washington Series
Over the weekend, the No. 3 Huskies picked up a pair of home wins over Utah and Colorado.
In the 3-1 win over the Utes, Krista Vansant and Kaleigh Nelson combined for 42 of Washington’s 64 kills. Against Colorado, the Huskies held the Buffaloes to sub-20 points in each of the three sets while Vansant and Nelson were once again the kill leaders with 10 and 13, respectively.
The Huskies and Sun Devils last met in Seattle, Wash., on Oct. 3, with Washington picking up the win in straight sets.
Last Time Out
Over the weekend, the Sun Devils snapped their seven-match losing streak as they picked up a pair of crucial 3-1 victories over Oregon and Oregon State.
At then-No. 23 Oregon, the Sun Devils picked up its third win over a ranked team this season behind strong efforts from Macey Gardner, Whitney Follette, and Mercedes Binns. Gardner recorded 24 kills while Follette and Binns combined for 21 and were free of errors for the match.
At Oregon State, four Sun Devils tallied double-digit kills for the first time this year (Gardner, Binns, Follette, and BreElle Bailey) as ASU came out on top, 3-1.
Binns also broke her career high in kills twice during the weekend, recording nine at Oregon and 10 at Oregon State.
Shannan McCready stepped in at setter for the Sun Devils this weekend and tied her career high of assists with 56 in the match against the Ducks. Against the Beavers, McCready recorded a career-high in block assists with four.
Heating Up The Polls
The Sun Devils had previously been ranked every week between Sept. 16 and Oct. 24 in the AVCA Division I volleyball polls, and have picked up six votes toward the poll for the week of Nov. 4.
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 .158.
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 racked up 350 kills so far this season, and leads the league in kills per set with a clip of 4.61. Gardner also sits in second in the conference in points per set with an average of 4.91. Additionally, both marks rank Gardner nationally: 13th in kills per set and 21st in points per set.
Setter Bianca Arellano has posted 10 double-doubles this season, which places her in a five-way tie for third-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 13 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.