Tempe, Ariz. --The No. 25 Arizona State volleyball team is set to kick off the 2014 campaign in Hawaii this week, competing in the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Honolulu, Aug. 29-31.
ASU is set to take on San Diego State, No. 17 Hawaii, and Ohio during the three-day tournament at the Rainbow Wahine’s Stan Sheriff Center.
Live stats will be available for each of the three matches via hawaiiathletics.com. The contest against Hawaii will also be broadcast for local fans on the OCSports Channel and ESPN AM 1420.
“Hawaii is one of the most iconic volleyball institutions in the country, with a very passionate, educated fan base,” head coach Jason Watson said. “I think it’s wonderful. There are a lot of unknowns surrounding the three teams we’re going to face this weekend, because they’ve graduated a lot of their major point scorers, while we get ours back in Macey (Gardner) and Whitney (Follette). We don’t know a lot, but we do know that it’s going to be a lot of fun, and we’re going to learn a lot about our team this weekend, and for me, that’s very exciting.”
ASU vs. San Diego State (Aug. 29--5 p.m. HT/8 p.m. PT)
The Aztecs finished with a 16-14 record in 2013 and were picked fourth in a Mountain West preseason coaches’ poll this season.
San Diego State lost its top four leaders in kills from last season, including Summer Nash, who finished 2013 with 352. The Aztecs return Chaiymin Steel, a senior right side hitter who finished with 217 kills in 2013, good for fifth on the squad.
ASU vs. Hawaii (Aug. 30--8:30 p.m. HT/11:30 p.m. PT)
The Sun Devils’ first ranked opponent of the year, the Rainbow Wahine finished with a 25-5 record in 2013 and lost to BYU in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Hawaii lost three All-Big West performers from last season, including outside hitter Emily Hartong, who was a first team All-American and Big West player of the year. Nikki Taylor, a sophomore outside hitter who was a first team All-Big West performer in 2013 is set to return this season.
ASU vs. Ohio (Aug. 31--3 p.m. HT/3 p.m. PT)
The Bobcats finished with a 27-6 record in 2013 and lost to Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Ohio lost three starters from last season, including outside hitter Katie Horton, who finished second on the Bobcats with 312 kills before deciding to transfer.
The Bobcats bring back setter Abby Gilleland, who led the team with 1,307 assists last season, and Kelly Lamberti, who led Ohio with 361 kills in 2013.
ASU Starts 2014 In The AVCA Poll
The Sun Devils will start off the season ranked for the first time since 1996 as it sits at No. 25 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason Poll, the AVCA announced on Aug. 11.
With the 2014 ranking, the Sun Devils have been ranked in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1992-97 seasons, where the Sun Devils appeared in 56 of the 70 polls released during that span.
In 2013, ASU was ranked for five consecutive weeks, peaking at No. 15 during the week of Sept. 30.
The first regular-season AVCA poll will be released on Monday, Sept. 1.
Pac-12 Preseason Poll
ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll with 73 votes.
This marks ASU’s highest spot on the preseason poll since being picked fourth prior to the 1999 campaign.
All-Pac-12 Preseason Team
Junior outside hitter Macey Gardner was named to the 2014 All-Pac-12 Preseason Team, marking the second consecutive year Gardner has earned the honor. Last season, Gardner rounded out the year on the All-Pac-12 Team.
The Gilbert, Ariz., native led the 2013 squad with 506 kills. She recorded a career high 29 kills when the Sun Devils were on the road at Utah (Oct. 24, 2013).
Follette Named To Pac-12 All-Star Team
Whitney Follette traveled to China with the Pac-12 Volleyball All-Star Team in June, spending two weeks in Sanming and Beijing.
The team faced off against the professional team from the Fujian Province, the Chinese Junior National Team, and a professional team from Beijing during the trip.
In addition to the matches, the student-athletes enjoyed cultural and sightseeing visits to the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Silk Market.
Binns, Willey Named To USA Volleyball Collegiate National Team
Mercedes Binns and Kizzy Willy were two of the 36 student-athletes selected to participate in the USA Volleyball Collegiate National Team over the summer in Minneapolis, Minn.
Assistant coach Linda Hampton Keith served as one of the program’s assistant coaches for the second consecutive year.
2013 In Review
The Arizona State volleyball team wrapped up the 2013 season with its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, marking back-to-back trips to the postseason since the 1999-2000 seasons.
ASU finished with a 19-14 overall record and an 8-12 mark in Pac-12 action. The Sun Devils opened the year with a 12-1 record, including a three-set sweep over No. 2 and then-defending NCAA Champion Texas. 14 of ASU’s 19 wins came via the three-set sweep.
Closing out her career, senior libero Stephanie Preach became just the second Sun Devil in program history to record more than 2000 digs, rounding out her career with a total of 2010.
Macey Gardner became the 16th Sun Devil to surpass the 1000-kill mark, finishing her second year at ASU with 506 for a total of 1083, which sits at No. 13 all-time. Gardner is on pace to surpass Christine Garner’s school record of 1871, which she set during the 1992-95 seasons.
Watson vs. Ranked Opponents
Head coach Jason Watson has grabbed 10 wins over ranked teams in his tenure at Arizona State, including three in 2013. Most recently, the Sun Devils notched a 3-1 win over No. 23 Oregon on the road in Eugene, Ore. on Nov. 21.
Notably, the 2013 Sun Devils 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