TUCSON, Ariz.—The Arizona State sand volleyball team split its opening day of the 2014 season, sweeping past Arizona Christian before falling to Arizona, 4-1, on Saturday at the Arizona Sand Volleyball Courts.
“It’s an okay first day for us,” head coach Jason Watson said. “Going on the road, we’re learning the nuances to the sport, and I think moving forward that we have to be on task a little bit better tactically, and we can address that in practice. That’s the difference. We can make up that ground, I feel confident in that.”
In the first match of the sand season, the Sun Devils came out running, only allowing the Firestorm double-digit points in three of the eight sets contested. At No. 1, sophomore Bianca Arellano and senior Bethany Jorgensen opened with an 11-0 run before giving up the first point of the opening set. The duo allowed a team-low nine points in their 21-4, 21-5 victory.
Sophomores Macey Gardner and Whitney Follette opened their season at No. 2, defeating Sydney Smith and Kailaa Heaney 21-6, 21-4, the second lowest points allowed for the squad.
Sophomore Jordy Checkal made her Sun Devil debut this season, pairing with Kizzy Willey at the three-spot. The pair won their match against ACU’s Betsey Caulfield and Aly Furno, 21-12, 21-15. Checkal and Willey were the lone Sun Devil pair to finish the day 2-0.
“It’s fun to see Jordy play,” Watson said. “She’s really put in the time, she’s prepared, and I think that today was a nice day for her. She and Kizzy are a good team. They play well and compete really well. It’s not surprising that they had the day that they did today.”
At No. 4, freshmen BreElle Bailey and Genevieve Priotte rolled through their match with Breezy Tutwiler and Carlee Swanson, 21-5, 21-10, while junior Nora Tuioti-Mariner and sophomore Andi Lowrance won via ACU’s forfeit due to injury.
Against Pac-12 rival Arizona, the Sun Devils dropped the first three sets before taking their win, which came at the No. 3 spot. Checkal and Willey defeated Ronni Lewis and Rachel Rhoads, 21-18, 23-21.
At No. 1, Arellano and Jorgensen won the opening set over Madi Kingdon and Jane Croson, 21-19, before falling in set two, 21-15, and dropping the tiebreaker, 15-6.
On court five, Tuioti-Mariner and Lowrance dropped the opening set, 21-15, and rallied to a tie score late in the second, but ultimately fell to Emily Kiser and Sara Seiber, 21-19.
For their performance on Saturday, Checkal and Willey were named to the Arizona Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Up next, the Sun Devils return to Tucson next week for the Wildcat Spring Challenge on March 14-15 at the Arizona Sand Volleyball Courts. ASU will take on Tulane on Friday at 4 p.m. MT before facing a rematch with Arizona Christian on Saturday at 10 a.m. MT.
Arizona State 5 vs. Arizona Christian, 0
1. Bianca Arellano & Bethany Jorgensen def. Hailey Worden & Samantha McCants (21-4, 21-5)
2. Macey Gardner & Whitney Follette def. Sydney Smith & Kailaa Heaney (21-6, 21-4)
3. Kizzy Willey & Jordy Checkal def. Betsey Caulfield & Aly Furno (21-12, 21-15)
4. BreElle Bailey & Genevieve Priotte def. Breezy Tutwiler & Carlee Swanson (21-5, 21-10)
5. Nora Tuioti-Mariner & Andi Lowrance vs. Forf
Order of finish
5, 4, 3*, 1 2
Arizona 4 vs. Arizona State 1
1. Madi Kingdon & Jane Croson def. Bianca Arellano & Bethany Jorgensen (19-21, 21-15, 15-6)
2. McKenna Witt & Madi Witt def. Macey Gardner & Whitney Follette (21-14, 21-15)
3. Jordy Checkal & Kizzy Willey def. Ronni Lewis & Rachel Rhoades (21-18, 23-21)
4. Allie Cook & Pnina Snuka def. BreElle Bailey & Genevieve Priotte (21-13, 21-9)
5. Emily Kiser & Sara Seiber def. Nora Tuioti-Mariner & Andi Lowrance (21-15, 21-19)
Order of finish
4, 5, 2*, 3, 1
* Clinched Win
Jordy Checkal & Kizzy Willey