HONOLULU, Hawaii—The Arizona State volleyball’s season came to an end Friday night, as the Sun Devils fell to BYU, 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 17-25, 26-24, 10-15), in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Center.
ASU ends their season at 19-14 on the year, and with an 8-12 mark in Pac-12 conference action. This season marked the first time the Sun Devils have gone to back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament since the 1999-2000 seasons.
During the match, senior libero Stephanie Preach picked up 25 digs, pushing her career total to 2010, and making her just the second Sun Devil in program history to pass the mark of 2000. She joins Sydney Donahue (2004-07, 2358 digs), who holds the school and Pac-12 record.
Macey Gardner led the way with 27 kills on the night while Whitney Follette added 17. Both two were short of tying their career highs of 29 and 17, respectively. BreElle Bailey added 15 kills on the night.
The Sun Devils opened the match taking the first set, before BYU (23-6) came back and picked up the next two, 25-22 and 25-17.
Down 22-18 in the fourth, ASU stormed back, staving off BYU’s match point with a kill from Gardner before Preach picked up a service ace to tie the game at 24-24. Preach served again, and the Cougars dug it over for Follette to tap it down so the Sun Devils could take a 25-24 advantage before she and Gardner picked up a block to take the set, 26-24.
BYU came out in the final frame and won it, 15-10. The Cougars will face the winner of the match between No. 11 seed Hawaii and Idaho State.
Arizona State Head Coach Jason Watson
"At some point during Game 4, it was a lot of fun and then I thought at the end of game 5, it wasn’t a lot of fun anymore. There was this nice even flow to the game. I felt like we ran out of time and it’s disappointing. But overall, it was pretty remarkable for a first-round match up. Both teams played well and we unfortunately came up short."
On what tipped the balance:
They served a lot better than we had seen. I think it trickled down from there. It was surprising. I didn’t think they were going to serve as well as they did and they did….credit to them and then on our side, we opened serving really well and then got a little conservative towards the end. I think that happens when you’re behind and you’re playing catch up and you’re trying to create point growing opportunities and you’re not being as proactive. Both teams were digging a ton of balls. They managed their game a bit better than us.
On the atmosphere of the Stan Sheriff:
It was great. We came out and they filled the gym and it was a great environment, to be able to play in a place like the University of Hawai‘i. It was a great experience.
I’ve never played in an environment like this. It was awesome having the fans cheering for both sides of the court. Obviously, when we’re away, we can use something like that to feed off that energy. We came up a little short.
On the mindset going in to Game 5:
It’s the same mindset you have going into Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, it’s just a matter of you’re going to go out there and you’re going to give it your best every single point and I think we realized, especially Game 4 that every point is important and that when you only have that short amount of time, you really have to take advantage of being positive. I think we did a good job….it’s just we ran out of time at the end and we didn’t give ourselves time. It’s just a matter of us executing.