OREM, Utah- Arizona State volleyball kicked off the 2013 season with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-10) win over Utah Valley University Friday night. This win also constitutes the third-consecutive season opening win for Head Coach Jason Watson.
The Sun Devils were put to the test early, opening the tournament with a 25-21 win which included a total of 12 ties and nine lead changes throughout the span of the first set. ASU would answer and adjust for two dominant performances (25-18, 25-10) in the final two sets with only one lead change occurring throughout the final frame.
In the opening set, Utah-natives Bailey and McKenzie Willey got their first career starts in front of their home crowd. The Sun Devils found themselves behind 3-1 in the opening minutes before a Bianna Arellano kill and stout block, tying the score at 3-3. Gardner and fellow sophomore Whitney Follette followed suit with sequential kills giving ASU the 4-3 advantage.
ASU was be able to pull ahead, 5-8, which would be the largest lead of the set before small run by UVU that allowed for the second tie of the game, 8-8, following a Kalani Norris kill.
With ASU down, 13-12, Gardner turned on attack mode, giving the Sun Devils three-consecutive kills and the 15-13 lead. Gardner would end the night with 13 kills, nine digs and a sole block.
Ten ties would occur in the following minutes before UVU was forced to call a timeout following a pair of kills from Bailey along with Willey’s first-ever collegiate career kill. The Sun Devils would then close out the set with a timely block assist from Arellano and sophomore Mercedes Binns.
The second set would begin in the same fashion before a 7-0 ASU run to put the Sun Devils up 8-2. UVU would pull from behind with the aid of freshman Macky Treanor who ended the night with 10 kills.
The Sun Devils would not relinquish the lead and closed out the set strong following four kills from Bailey, leading to a 25-18 win. Bailey would close the night with a notable 13 kills, nine digs and a lone-block in her first collegiate performance.
ASU was able to control the final set in its entirety, running away with a14-2 lead early on. Arenallo, who was in control for ten-straight serves, grabbed her second server ace in the stretch. ASU would end the night with four serving aces- with Follette’s occurring early in the first along with Arellano and Preach’s in the third, setting up Follette to seal the deal for with a kill to close out
Preach would finish the night with a team-best 10 digs and Follette grabbing five kills along with four block-assists.
The Sun Devils now turn their sights to Wichita State for the second game in the Utah Valley La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational tomorrow, Saturday Aug. 31 at 10:00 a.m. MT, where the Bison are coming off of a 3-0 sweep over North Dakota State. The Sun Devils continue the day with North Dakota State in the final game of the tournament at 4:30 p.m. MT. Live video of each of the two games can be found here.