The ASU volleyball team (4-0) defeated Seattle University in Spokane, Wash., Friday evening 25-13, 28-26, 25-15, remaining undefeated and keeping its set streak alive in the first match of the Gonzaga Invitational.
Despite the victory, head coach Jason Watson was not pleased with his team’s performance.
“We kind of struggled,” Watson said. “The stats probably don’t tell the whole story but we certainly struggled passing and Seattle served really quite well.”
The Sun Devils trailed by as much as eight in the second set but rallied back, facing set point three times, to avoid losing its first set of the season.
“Momentum was heavily on Seattle’s side in game 2,” Watson said. “If we don’t play every point with some urgency and some intensity then we’re going to find ourselves in these situations.”
Down 26-25, sophomore outside hitter and Pac-12 All-Star Macey Gardner strung together three straight kills to give the Sun Devils the second-set victory. Gardner finished with 21 kills, a season-high.
“We had to go to Macey a little bit more than we had last weekend,” Watson said. “We’d be still playing if it wasn’t for Macey.”
Gardner connected especially well with sophomore setter Bianca Arellano, who recorded 35 assists.
“There’s an enormous amount of comfort between them,” Watson said. “I think they communicate well. Certainly on nights like tonight that relationship is crucial.
Freshman outside hitter BreElle Bailey added just six kills from the right side in one of her least effective matches as a Sun Devil.
“We got to get her a little bit more involved tomorrow,” Watson said. “We’d like to see her at 20-24 attempts in three games rather than the 14 that she got tonight.”
The Gonzaga Invitational continues tomorrow when the Sun Devils face UNLV at 10:00 a.m. and Gonzaga at 6:00 p.m.
Additional Game Notes: Kizzy Willey, another freshman outside hitter, worked primarily from the left side, supplementing Gardner’s performance with six kills of her own.
Sophomore middle blocker Andi Lowrance, who played with Seattle in 2012, did not play against her former team.
The Sun Devils finished the match with nine blocks, a season-high.
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