Volleyball Splits In Day Two of Portland Nike Invitational

Sept. 5, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore. – Day Two of the Portland Nike Invitational rolled on where the Sun Devil Volleyball team split the day as they fell to #20 Kansas State 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 before rallying back hard to top the USF Bulls in a tough five set win 25-16, 17-25, 18-25, 25-21 and 15-7 to push their record to 4-2 overall headed into the final day of the Portland Nike Invitational.

Against the 20th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats the Sun Devils started off well, ripping off the first three points of the first set forcing KSU to take an early timeout and regroup. The ‘Cats came flooding back on Natalya Korobkova’s five kills and a .257 attack percentage as they took the 8-7 lead and never gave it up as the Sun Devils hung tough but fell 25-22.

ASU started the second set ahead as well as they grabbed the first point and the lead deep into the set until KSU rallied back with two four point rallies to squeeze the lead from the Sun Devils with an ace to take the 19-18 lead. Sarah Reaves had four kills but the Sun Devil offense didn’t click on all cylinders as KSU posted a .206 attack percentage with nine kills to take the 25-21 win.

The third set saw ASU’s offense start to turn it around by blasting a .368 attack percentage with Sarah Reaves and freshman Camri Zwiesler leading the way with seven and five kills respectively. KSU took the first point, but ASU rattled off four straight points after to take the lead, which they held until a key block late in the set gave KSU the 20-19 advantage before they closed out the match with a 25-22 win and a sweep of the Sun Devils.

The second match of the day pitted ASU versus the South Florida Bulls who entered the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record but ASU came out to snag the first set with a whopping .560 team attack percentage with Sarah Reaves and Margie Giordano going head-to-head with four kills apiece to cruise to a 25-16 win.

The second set the Sun Devil offense flatlined in the second set though as they compiled only a .162 attack percentage to USF’s .361. Marcela Gurgel led the Bulls with five kills, which Sarah Reaves matched, but the effort wasn’t enough as USF took the lead with an ace to go up 9-8 on ASU before taking a 25-17 win.

The offense and calls didn’t seem to fall in ASU’s favor in the third set as the Sun Devils only posted a .189 attack average. Margie Giordano and Paige Mittelstaedt both claimed three kills, for six of ASU’s 12 in the set, but USF’s brutal .424 attack average kept ASU at bay as they fell 25-18 in set three.

ASU wasn’t done yet though, after battling for the lead back and forth in the early part of set four, a costly attack error put ASU up for good in the set, though the Bulls kept close behind. ASU’s .375 attack average was too much though as the Sun Devils took the win 25-21.

The deciding set five started off well for ASU as Paige Mittelstaedt put away a kill for the first point and ASU never looked back going on a 14-6 run through the last set. Margie Giordano blasted 19 kills in the match, her third highest in her career as ASU took the final set 15-7 to win their fourth match of the season.

Head Coach Jason Watson remarked on his team’s progress through the day, “Today was a good day for us, we’re learning more about ourselves and the inherent challenges of competing. We finished the day better than we started which is always one of our goals and tomorrow gives us the opportunity to improve ourselves even more.”

The Sun Devils will wrap the Portland Nike Invitational tomorrow as they will set to face the UC Irvine Anteaters at 9:30 a.m. at the Chiles Center in Portland, Ore.



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