Sun Devils Suffer Fourth Straight Loss, Falling 3-1 To No. 7 Arizona

Oct. 5, 2001

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Junior outside hitter Lisa Rutledge recorded a match-high 17 kills and led four Wildcats with double-digits in kills to help lead seventh-ranked Arizona to a 3-1 (29-31, 30-16, 30-25, 30-22) victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils Friday night in Pac-10 volleyball action in front 2,478 fans at the McKale Center.

The Sun Devils endured its fourth straight loss, dropping their overall season record to 5-7 and 1-4 in Pac-10 play. Arizona rebounded from a sweep at UCLA and USC to capture its eighth win of the year to improve to 8-2, 3-2 in the Pac-10. The four-match losing streak is the longest by the program since 1999 when they also lost consecutive matches to Arizona, USC and UCLA.

The Sun Devils were led by freshman outside hitter Alicia Akporiaye (Tucson), who made her collegiate debut in her hometown in style. The freshman had four solo blocks and two block assists to lead the Devils and recorded eight kills. She also added 10 digs. Senior Jami Coughlin (Glendale) recorded her seventh double-double of the year with 11 kills and 12 digs.

Arizona was led by Rutledge's 17 kills, with Erin Sebbas (13 kills), Jill Talbot (15 kills) and Christina Frost (12 kills) pitching in solid matches. Talbot and junior Stefani Saragosa matched Akporiaye with a match-best six total blocks. 2000 Pac-10 Player of the Year Dana Burkholder notched 54 assists for the Wildcats.

The Devils came out of the gates swinging, taking an early 8-0 lead over the Wildcats. Sophomore setter Cheryl Anglin (Queen Creek) contributed two service aces and Akporiaye had a block and kill to fuel the early rally. The nationally ranked Wildcats battled back to pull to within 16-10 and eventually tied the game at 19-19. The Sun Devils trailed 25-23, but an Arizona service error and an ace by junior defensive specialist Brittany Arnett (Mesa) tied the game at 25-25 and put the momentum in the Devils corner. Arizona staved off three game points by ASU to tie the game at 29-29, but kills by Coughlin and Akporiaye put the game away to give ASU the 31-29 win. The first-game win marked the third match in a row in the heated rivalry in which ASU has won the opening frame. Unfortunately ASU is 0-3 in those three matches.

Arizona came out with vengeance in game two, taking an early 12-4 lead and did not turn back to even the match at 1-1 with the 30-16 defeat of the Sun Devils. Arizona out-hit the Devils .250 to -.030 and used solid blocking to hand the Devils their worst loss in a game this year.

The Wildcats grabbed the 2-1 advantage by scratching out a 30-25 win in game three. In a see-saw game from the beginning, ASU and Arizona had 12 different lead changes, before the Wildcats could forge ahead late in the game. The Wildcats 21-21 tie with a kill by Saragosa and held on to take the match lead. ASU got as close to 24-25, but a service error by Arnett gave the Wildcats enough momentum to gain the 30-25 win.

Arizona put the match away with a 30-22 win in game four to earn the 3-1 victory. The Wildcats hit a scorching .310 as a team to put the match away and win its fourth straight match over the Devils. Arizona has now won eight of the last nine in the head-to-head series.

Arizona State returns to action next weekend with a pair of Pac-10 matches against Washington (Oct. 12, 7 p.m.) and Washington State (Oct. 13, 7 p.m.). The Sun Devils were combined to go 4-0 last year vs. the Washington schools and carry a four-match winning streak into the meeting with the Huskies.

Arizona def. Arizona State 29-31,30-16,30-25,30-22

Arizona State (5-7, 1-4 Pac-10) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Coughlin, Jami 11-0-3, Mehlhorn, Kim 9-0-0, Akporiaye, Alicia 8-1-6, Leddy, Julia 6-0-3, Smith, Jodi 4-0-2, Bluth, Crystal 3-0-0, Anglin, Cheryl 2-2-0, Arnett, Brittany 0-1-0, Habiger, Fernanda 0-0-1, Totals 43-4-10.5. (Assists) - Anglin, Cheryl 27. (Dig leaders) - Coughlin, Jami 12, Akporiaye, Alicia 10

Arizona (8-2, 3-2 Pac-10) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Rutledge, Lisa 17-1-4, Talbot, Jill 15-1-6, Sebbas, Erin 13-0-5, Frost, Christina 12-2-2, Saragrosa, Stefani 8-0-6, Burkholder, Dana 5-1-1, Mulvany, Kelli 0-3-0, Williams, Rachel 0-1-0, Totals 70-9-13.0. (Assists) - Burkholder, Dana 54. (Dig leaders) - Talbot, Jill 15, Frost, Christina 12, Rutledge, Lisa 11, Burkholder, Dana 10

Site: Tucson, Ariz. (McKale Center) Date: Oct 05, 2001 Attend: 2478 Time: 1:56

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