Sun Devils Sweep Cougars Behind Career Night From Staci Smith

Nov. 12, 2004

PULLMAN, Wash. (www.TheSunDevils.com) - Behind a career night from freshman middle blocker Staci Smith, the Arizona State Sun Devils swept the Washington State Cougars in straight sets (30-27, 30-22, 31-29) Thursday night in Pac-10 Volleyball action at Bohler Gym.

With the victory, ASU improved to 10-13 overall and 5-9 in Pac-10 play. The win also give ASU one more victory overall and in Pac-10 play from last season. Washington State fell to 4-22 overall and 1-12 in league play.

'Tonight was a great victory our team,' said second-year head coach Brad Saindon. 'For a young team to gain a victory at a tough place like Bohler Gym is huge. We got down early, but fought back and really did some good things tonight. I am proud of the way we played and the way we battled.'

Smith (Gresham, Ore.) was ASU's only player in double-digits, besting her previous career-high of nine kills. She hit .524 with only two hitting errors on 21 attacks and also had five blocks. Junior outside hitter Sarah Watkins (Mishawaka, Ind.) added nine kills and 11 digs. Freshman middle blocker Colette Meek (Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada) dominated at the net with nine kills (.353) and eight blocks.

'Staci had an awesome night. Everything she seemed to touch got us a point,' added Saindon. 'We also got some great efforts from Rachel Mittelstaedt and Sydney Donahue. All around, we had a lot of players do a lot of good things to get the victory!'

Freshman libero Sydney Donahue (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) led all players with 14 digs, notching her 16th match this season with 10 or more digs. Sophomore Nina Reeves (Gilbert, Ariz.) celebrated her 21st birthday with seven kills and 10 digs. Freshman setter Rachel Mittelstaedt (Phoenix, Ariz.) led all players with 38 assists. Senior defensive specialist Stephanie Kohner (Anthem, Ariz.) led ASU with a career-high three service aces.

The Cougars were led by 12 kills each from middle blocker Jennifer Todd and outside hitter Jessie Camp. Alison Billingsley and Stacey Holbrook anchored the WSU defense with 13 and 12 digs respectively.

In game one, ASU trailed early 7-1, but remained tough much in part to a 12-5 run to tie the game at 15-15. A pair of service aces by Kohner helped the Devils climb back into the game. After five ties, a block by Meek and Mittelstaedt gave ASU its first lead of the frame at 23-22. Meek and Watkins had another block to give ASU the lead at 25-24, which they would never relinquish en route to the 30-27 win. Reeves led the Devils with five kills (.333) and Smith added four (.800). Meek have five blocks in the opening frame and the Sun Devils hit .343 overall as a team.

ASU gained a 2-0 lead in the match with a solid effort in the second frame. Battling through nine ties and two WSU leads, the Devils took a 14-13 lead and never looked back. ASU closed out the game with an impressive 7-2 run, with Donahue serving six straight points en route to the 30-22 win. Smith led ASU with five kills (.500) and added a pair of blocks.

The Sun Devils and Cougars battled through a tough third game eight tie scores leading up to an 18-18 deadlock. After 4-2 run by the Devils and a timeout called by Saindon, ASU went on a 7-4 run. WSU made the match interesting staving off five match points to tie the game at 29-29, but back-to-back kills by Meek and Watkins gave ASU its fourth sweep of the year. Watkins recorded five of her nine kills in the final frame, while sophomore Nicole Morton (Bonsall, Calif.) and Smith each had four.

Up next, Arizona State travels across the state to take on top-ranked Washington (20-0, 12-0 Pac-10) Friday night in Seattle. ASU returns home next Friday for its Gold Match against rival Arizona (Nov. 19, 7 p.m.) at Wells Fargo Arena.

Series Notes: ASU took a 20-19 advantage in the all-time series against the Cougars and earned a season sweep of WSU for the first time since 2000. Breaking a three-match losing streak and having last the last nine matches to the Cougars at Bohler Gym, ASU earned its first sweep of the Cougars on the road since 1987.

Lights, Camera, Action: The match vs. Washington State will be aired on a tape-delayed basis nationally on FSN... the match is scheduled to air in the Phoenix area on FSN Arizona (Cox Cable 34) at 2 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 13)... check your local listings to watch the match with Jim Watson (play-by-play) and former beach volleyball star Mike Dodd (color analysis) call all the action from Bohler Gym.

Family Ties: Eight members of Colette Meek's family drove over 12 hours from Alberta, Canada to watch her player a collegiate match for the first time... Meek had her aunt, uncle, three cousins, mother, father and grandmother in attendance... the Meek family made a worthwhile trip, as Colette's sister, Sarah, is a senior at the University of Idaho (8 miles East of Pullman) and will be honored at senior night on Friday... Alison Lund's parents, who are both alumni of Washington State, also made the trek from Bowie, Md... Lund's grandfather lives in Spokane and also made the trip down... Staci Smith's parents (Kevin and Lana) made the trip from Gresham, Ore., to watch their daughter... Sydney Donahue's grandmother also made the trip up from Los Angeles.

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