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ASU falls short in Washington

up and away: ASU junior outside hitter Sarah Reaves sets up for a kill during a match against USC earlier in the season at Wells Fargo Arena. (MATT PAVELEK | THE STATE PRESS)

Going on the road is always a challenge, and the ASU volleyball team learned that the hard way over the weekend, losing to No. 3 Washington on Friday night 3-0 (23-25, 16-25, 22-25) and dropping a heartbreaker against Washington State 3-2 (19-25, 26-24, 25-13, 17-25, 10-15) on Saturday.

The Sun Devils (11-5, 1-3 Pac-10) held tough against UW but weren’t able to take a set. ASU never led in the first set, but the rest of the match saw 15 ties and seven lead changes.

But in the end, the Huskies were too much.

“I was really pleased; it’s a difficult place to go and play,” ASU coach Jason Watson said of his team’s performance. “Washington is a wonderful volleyball team, and I thought we played well and we competed well. We’re of course disappointed, but [we] felt like we had some opportunities.”

Junior outside hitter Sarah Reaves led the way for the Sun Devils, recording 15 kills and 12 digs for her fifth double-double of the season.

Sophomore setter Cat Highmark showed her versatility, recording 31 assists and 10 digs for a double-double of her own.

One of the things that hurt the Sun Devils was the lack of an offensive weapon other than Reaves. Sophomore outside hitter Sofie Schlagintweit, who had been the secondary offensive option, was second on the team with only five kills. She also had five attack errors for a kill percentage of zero.

Senior middle blocker Paige Mittelstaedt and sophomore outside hitter Camri Zwiesler also were held to low kill totals, notching four and three, respectively.

On Saturday night against WSU, ASU recorded a couple of season highs but ultimately let the match slip away.

After losing the first set, the Sun Devils took the next two, including a dominating 25-13 win in set three.

But the Cougars came out on fire in set four, hitting .385 to send the match into a fifth set.

The Sun Devils fell behind quickly in the final set and never recovered, losing 15-10.

“It’s tough going on the road,” Watson said. “In game two, we had a nice lead. We were rolling along and they got some momentum, but we were able to absorb it and pull out that second game.

“The third game, we were very efficient and very composed. And I think the fourth game and fifth game we played well, it was just one or two plays. They made a couple of plays late, especially in game five, and that kind of turned it for them.”

Two season highs were set in the match. Reaves was on fire, recording 26 kills to set the season mark. She also contributed 14 digs for her second double-double of the weekend.

The other season-high set was 25 digs by junior libero Sarah Johnson.

The 25 digs were also Johnson’s career high, as she held down the back row defensively. Additionally, Johnson recorded a match-high three service aces, which was also more than the entire Cougars team.

Schlagintweit rebounded from her tough game against UW to record 10 kills and 22 digs.

In the end, though, ASU could not stop WSU’s diverse offense.

Four Cougars finished with double-digits in kills, led by Meagan Ganzer’s 20. Additionally, libero Oceana Bush recorded an astounding 39 digs, foiling ASU’s kills time and time again.

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