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ASU beach volleyball eyes Pac-12 title after being tested in regional tournaments

The Sun Devils look to win its first conference championship after ending its season on a four-game win streak

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ASU junior Lexi Sweeney (5) serves the ball while graduate student Cierra Flood (31) waits for play to resume. ASU lost to Stanford 5-0 at the Sun Devil Beach Volleyball Facility on Thursday, March 24, 2022.


ASU beach volleyball's regular season came to a close last week and into the Pac-12 Championship Tournament beginning April 27.

The Sun Devils recently competed in two regional conference tournaments over the past two weeks. The team faced a number of tough tests against a number of ranked opponents across the tournaments, including No. 1 USC, No. 3 UCLA, No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Cal and No. 17 UA.

ASU faced four top-20 teams in the South Tournament and finished 0-4. The team managed to win against USC and UA but were shut out against Cal and Stanford.

The Sun Devils fared better in the North Tournament, going 3-1. The team defeated Oregon, Utah and Washington but was swept by UCLA. ASU finished the Pac-12 North and South tournaments with a 3-5 record before capturing wins against Ottawa University-Arizona and Park University to finish out the regular season.

"I think we did a pretty good job (in the North Tournament)," head coach Brad Keenan said. "I think our aggressiveness has gone up and our errors have gone down."

The Sun Devils now sit with a 15-13 overall record and 5-5 in conference play. ASU will try to use its momentum from finishing the season on a four-game win streak to propel it into the latter rounds of the championships. 

"I'm excited, I think we've got a pretty good shot to take down teams that in the past, we haven't taken down," freshman Kylie Wickley said. "I think we are really working hard at practice and solidifying our partnerships to be pretty competitive." 

Due to how the organization and seeding of the championship tournament works, the Sun Devils don't yet know who they will be playing, making the players prepare for any team they could face. 

"I wanna play U of A again, and I want to win on their turf," junior Lexi Sweeney said. ASU split its games into two against UA this season.

Heading into the final weeks of the season, the team will be led by the usually No. 1 pairing of Sweeney and graduate student Cierra Flood. The duo has played together all season and led all other pairings on the team in wins and overall matches played with a record of 12-15. 

"For Cierra (Flood) and I together, our chemistry has gotten as good as it's going to get," Sweeny said. "We are getting to the point where I'm running my own things on offense and she's running her own things on defense." 

Flood, Sweeney and the rest of the team will have one more weekend at home before heading down to Tucson, Arizona, seeking to win its first conference championship.


Reach the reporter at ahoppes1@asu.edu and follow @aviannahoppes on Twitter.

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