Volleyball Rebounds with Win over Arizona State

Oct. 10, 2009

Box Score

Tempe, Ariz. – Despite struggling early, the Oregon State volleyball team came from behind again for the second time this season to take a five-set thriller over Arizona State (25-23, 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-10), snapping a six-match series winning streak dating back to 2005 by the Sun Devils on Saturday evening.


“That was a big gut check for our team, coming back after so many early unforced errors, particularly by our hitters,” head coach Taras Liskevych said. “Rachel played poorly early, but she found a way to come back late, especially with her serving in that fifth set. And a gutsy performance by Kiersten, as she’s still hurt and couldn’t play in the final set, but I thought Ashley came in and did a great job. It was a good job by all of the players tonight.”


Junior Jill Sawatzky (St. Andrews, Maintoba) posted a huge double-double with 25 kills and 25 digs, while senior Rachel Rourke (Queensland, Australia) and senior Bree Knitter (Fallbrook, Calif.) had 23 and 10 kills, respectively.


Defensively, junior Kiersten Sambrailo (Watsonville, Calif.) had four blocks, while senior Brittney Belshe (Roseburg, Ore.), in her first career start, dug a career best 17 balls. Senior Camilla Ah-Hoy (Laie, Hawai’i) chalked up her first 60-plus assist match with 61, adding a double-double with 10 digs.


Oregon State and Arizona State traded sideout points through the beginning 13 rallies before the Sun Devils took a slight lead, building it to as many as six at 17-11. But behind the serving and hitting of Sawatzky, the Beavers pulled back into the game, taking the lead at 19-18. Arizona State tied the set at 22 all, but a block by senior Lexie Rathgeber (White Rock, British Columbia) and Knitter and a final kill by Rourke put the set away in favor of Oregon State.


Set two started in a similar fashion with both teams trading sideout points before Arizona State took the lead again. The Sun Devils reached set point at 17-24, but big kills by Sawatzky halted the final point for five more rallies. Freshman Camille Saxton (Balzac, Alberta) used her jump top spin serve, along with big swings by Sawatzky to bring the Beavers back within three at 21-24, but a kill by Sarah Reaves tied the match up at one set each.


After falling in the third set, Rourke came out in the fourth, racking up seven kills with Knitter adding five to hold on to take the fourth set, despite Arizona State tying things last at 23 all. A kill by Rourke and Knitter finished off the set to force a fifth.


Rourke served eight straight, while Sawatzky had three big kills to give the Beavers the 10-4 advantage in the fifth set. Sawatzky had six big kills, including the final point, while Rourke added four as Oregon State cruised to the victory.


Arizona State’s Reaves tallied 19 kills, while libero Sarah Johnson dug a team-high 24 balls.


Oregon State improves to 11-6, 2-3 Pac-10, while Arizona State falls to 11-7, 1-5 Pac-10.


Oregon State returns home to host Spike Out Cancer against No. 7 Stanford on Friday, Oct. 16 at 7:00 p.m. in legendary Gill Coliseum. Admission is only $1, and fans can purchase mini pink volleyballs for $12 with part of the proceeds going to The Corvallis Clinic.


Oregon State Notes – Senior Rachel Rourke has 1,678 career kills, 85 away from the school record … Junior Jill Sawatzky tallied her fifth double-double of the season with 25 kills and a career-best 25 digs … Senior Brittney Belshe set a new career best for digs with 17 … Senior Camilla Ah-Hoy earned her 10th double-double of the season with a season-high 61 assists and 10 digs … Oregon State snaps a six-match series winning streak by Arizona State, with the last win coming November 25, 2005; last win in Tempe on September 24, 2005 … Oregon State is now 2-3 in five set matches; 5-1 on the road.


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