The ASU volleyball team notched a needed win while on its road trip to Oregon, boosting its NCAA tournament chances.
The Sun Devils (17-12, 6-10 Pac-12) swept Oregon State Thursday night, capturing ASU’s second consecutive road win before dropping a five set-thriller to No. 4 Oregon late Friday night.
It was an improvement for an ASU team that struggled on the road at the beginning of conference play.
From the beginning of the first set, ASU set the tone early for the match. The Sun Devils jumped out to an 8-2 lead before building it to 18-11, forcing Oregon State (13-15, 3-13 Pac-12) to call a timeout. A kill by senior outside hitter Erica Wilson closed out the set for the Devils, 25-19.
The second set was a closer battle, as ASU was unable to really separate itself from Oregon State. Holding on to a 23-21 lead, the Sun Devils were able to hold off the Beavers for a 25-23 set win.
Being lead by sophomore outside hitter Nora Tuioti-Mariner, who finished the night with 12 kills and no hitting errors, the Sun Devils finished off the Beavers in the third set, 25-20.
“Throughout the whole game we had a lot of intensity, the energy was always on our court,” Tuioti-Mariner said. “We were all pumped because we just wanted to get out there and get it.”
The win capped off ASU’s season sweep over Oregon State.
“It’s taken us some time, but we had a nice balanced offensive performance,” coach Jason Watson said. “Credit our passing. (Freshman setter) Allison (Palmer) was able to distribute the ball and make some mature decisions.”
Oregon holds off ASU
The Sun Devils had already grabbed at least one win that they needed from the Oregon road trip, and almost had another.
Battling the Ducks (22-3, 13-3 Pac-12) on Friday night, ASU was a few points away from walking out of Eugene, Ore., with another huge upset on its résumé.
The Sun Devils held off elimination in the fourth set after rolling through the Ducks to a 25-17 win. ASU continued the momentum in the fifth and final set, jumping out to a quick 5-3 lead.
Oregon wouldn’t back down though, fighting back to tie the game at 8-8. More ties ensued as both squads battled, eventually tying the game at 12-12.
The Ducks converted late on a point that the Sun Devils’ players and staff argued that it should have been rewarded to ASU. The game resumed, and Oregon moved forward to convert the next points and end the Sun Devils upset attempt.
Freshman outside hitter Macey Gardner now sits alone atop the single-season freshman kill list at 502 after tallying 27 kills over the weekend.
Freshman setter Allison Palmer’s 100 assists this weekend helped move her into No. 8 in single-season assists with 1,244.
Junior libero Stephanie Preach moved into No. 8 in the single-season digs category with a total of 508 on the year.
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