Sarah Reaves Leads Volleyball Over Portland In Opener of the 2008 Nike Invitational

Sept. 4, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore. – A sluggish start Thursday night at the Portland Nike Invitational didn’t stop the ASU Volleyball team from rallying back full-throttle fueled with Sarah Reaves’ fourth consecutive double-double of 20 kills and 10 digs coupled with Sonja Markanovich’s seven block assists as ASU pulled it together to top Portland 3-1 winning 21-25, 25-20, 25-12 and 25-13. The Sun Devils are now 3-1 overall as Portland drops to 3-2.

The first set proved to be a tough one for the Devils as their offense just couldn’t seem to lock in as Portland took the first point and never looked back. The Pilots rattled off four straight points twice through the set cumulating a .341 attack percentage led by Ashley Grayson’s six kills and anchored by Maria Clemens seven assists. Sarah Reaves led the Sun Devils with six kills and Marina Mercer collected 10 assists, but the effort wasn’t enough as ASU fell 25-21 in the first set.

ASU returned to form in the second set as their defense helped lead the way, keeping the Portland offense to a .129 attack percentage. Paige Mittelstaedt came through with three kills in the set, matched by Sarah Reaves as well as the offense took control of the pace of the game. Birthday girl, Sara Todorovich grabbed two block assists at the net while Marina Mercer served up 18 assists for the maroon and gold. It proved to be a tough set with ten tie scores and eight lead changes, but ASU changed the tone with an attack error by Portland followed with a kill from Mittlestaedt to take the 17-15 go ahead and the lead for good, finishing with a 25-20 win.

Set three showed near domination by the Sun Devils as they fired off an amazing .458 attack percentage with 14 kills in the match, led by Sarah Reaves with four and Margie Giordano and Paige Mittelstaedt with three apiece. The Sun Devils took the first point and never relinquished the lead, rattling off seven straight points in the set as they slammed by the Pilots 25-12 to take a 2-1 match lead.

The Sun Devils came out in set four ready to rock as they blasted a .375 attack percent, repeating their 14 kills with Sarah Reaves dominating the net with seven kills to complete her 20 in the match, which ties her second-highest career match total. Marina Mercer tossed up the rock for 12 assists in the match as ASU put away the Pilots and collected their third win of the season with a 25-13 win in the third set.

Head Coach Jason Watson expressed his view on the match, stating, “I’m proud of the team’s performance tonight, we talked about ending better than we start, just as we did tonight. As we mature through this season, its nice to see them focus and compete and embrace these opportunities.”

The Sun Devils return to action tomorrow as they’ll rally up for two matches in Day Two of the Nike Invitational where they’ll set to face the 20th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats (3-1) at noon and the South Florida Bulls (3-0) at 5 p.m. at UP’s Chiles Center in Portland.


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