During match point of Sunday’s loss at Colorado, sophomore setter Bianca Arellano went up for a block, landed on an opponent’s foot and sprained her ankle.
ASU volleyball coach Jason Watson confirmed the news at practice Tuesday and said Arellano would be out for five to seven days with the sprain. Watson also announced that junior setter Shannan McCready would be the starting setter this weekend against Oregon and Oregon State.
“(Bianca)’s not going to be able to go this weekend,” Watson said. “But hopefully (she’s) back for Washington State on Wednesday. But with a high ankle sprain, you never know what’s going to happen.”
McCready was one of ASU’s setters during her freshman campaign in 2011. The Hawaii native recorded 10.77 assists per set but just one solo block. By comparison, Arellano already has seven solo blocks in 2013.
There’s no denying that the Sun Devils will miss Arellano’s net presence this weekend.
“With Shannan (McCready), we’re probably not going to block balls for points, but we certainly hope that she can get a touch here and a touch there,” Watson said. “Clearly, she’s not going to be as physical at the net as Bianca has been for us.”
Senior libero Stephanie Preach, who was a setter in high school, also took on setting responsibilities her freshman year when the then starting setter went down with an injury. Watson pulled her redshirt to make the move but said that it’s been too long to even consider her as a setter again.
“We want (Preach) to go be the best libero she can be, and we like her in that spot a lot,” Watson said.
Watson said moving Preach around would cause more harm than good and that he wasn’t comfortable entertaining the switch.
Arellano will travel with the team this weekend but will not see time, because she is not yet putting weight on the ankle.
“What I do know is that she’s one of the toughest kids ever,” Watson said. “If they say five to seven days she’s probably thinking three to four. But that’s not her call.”
The ankle isn’t broken, and Watson said they would reevaluate the injury Monday after the road trip.
More left-side reps for Bailey:
– Freshman outside hitter BreElle Bailey remained on the right side against Utah and Colorado and Watson said she had an impressive weekend, recording 13 kills in both games. Watson didn’t specify where she would play this weekend, but she took left-side reps in practice Tuesday, working mostly on hitting down the line.
Willey hurting in back row:
– Junior outside hitter Nora Tuioti-Mariner played in place of freshman outside hitter Kizzy Willey at Utah and Colorado. Although Watson said she is healthy enough to play, Willey remains restrained in the back row because of a nagging knee injury.
“The strains and everything come from playing in the back row more than they come from hitting and blocking,” Watson said. “We need to get her on the floor but in a capacity that allows her to be successful.”
The second half of ASU’s Pac-12 schedule starts Friday at Oregon at 6:00 p.m.
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