ASU sand volleyball enjoys undefeated weekend capped by Stanford sweep

The Sun Devils earned their first-ever sweep of a Pac-12 program on Saturday

A dominant weekend for ASU sand volleyball (16-14, 3-3 Pac-12) was bookended with a historic victory on Saturday afternoon at the PERA Club in Tempe. 

After defeating California and New Mexico 3-2 and 4-1 respectively on Friday, the Sun Devils swept Stanford 5-0 to cap the weekend. It was the first sweep of a Pac-12 school in program history for ASU, and it came on Senior Day.

"By far our most complete match we've played all year," ASU head coach Brad Keenan said after the match against Stanford. "Fives to ones, all the way around. We gave up a couple of runs here and there but we always came back and got on our own run right afterwards." 

Prior to competition on Saturday, ASU recognized its seniors, which represent the inaugural class of the school's beach volleyball program.

"It was just so awesome to have such a big crowd and my family and to finally to have a testimony to my and Whitney (Follete's) season," senior Bianca Arellano said. "It felt great and it felt like we succeeded at something."

ASU's No.1 group of Arellano and senior Whitney Follete took care of business against the Cardinal despite two tough sets against Stanford's top pairing. The Sun Devil duo squeaked out a 29-27 decision in the second set to clinch the point.

Arellano and Follete finished their regular-season careers with 43 wins — the most from a pairing in program history. 

"What I like to think personally is that I've done this millions of times," Arellano said of her and Follete's extended game-winning set. "I'm in practice, I'm at game point and I know it's coming to me, it's part of my routine."

All four seniors on the ASU roster: Arellano, Follete, Madison Berridge and Cassidy Pickrell, went out in a winning fashion on Saturday. But on a day meant to celebrate seniors, it was a sophomore who left the biggest impression on Kennan.

"Katie Cross, I've never seen her play like that before," Keenan said on her performance this weekend. "The last two or three days something clicked and she's been bouncing balls."

Yet more important than any individual performance, the Sun Devils are heading into the 2017 Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championships on a five-game winning steak.

"Winning against Cal and Stanford is huge for us, especially for the rankings for next weekend," Pickrell said. "It really shows that we're coming out and were going to be a force to reckon with."

Keenan said that wins against two Pac-12 teams to wrap up the season should help the Sun Devils with seeding when they head south to Tucson Thursday and Friday for the championships. He's looking to earn a four or five seed in hopes of staying away from No. 1 USC, which is undefeated, and No. 2 UCLA, which only has three losses on the year. 

"If we can keep playing like we did today and I think slowly we've been getting better every weekend," Keenan said. "If we can just get a little better from this weekend to next weekend, I think we can surprise some people."


Reach the reporter at thandlan@asu.edu or follow @Tyler_Handlan on Twitter.

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