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No. 15 Volleyball Set For Tournament At Morehead State

Sep 10, 2014

Tempe, Ariz. –The No. 15 Arizona State volleyball team is back on the road this weekend, traveling to Morehead, Ky., for the Comfort Inn & Suites Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Wetherby Gym. 

The Sun Devils (6-0) will face Louisville and Northern Illinois on Friday at 9 a.m. PT/Noon ET and 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET, respectively, before taking on host Morehead State on Saturday at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET. Saturday’s match against the Eagles will be live streamed via www.msueagles.com.

“I’m looking forward to seeing us establish more of a defensive identity,” head coach Jason Watson said. “We have a pair of big challenges ahead of us on Friday. Louisville and Northern Illinois are both teams that will go on this season to win a lot of matches. Louisville upset Minnesota on the road, and had a very tough challenge last night at Kentucky. While Morehead State hasn’t gotten off to the start that they probably hoped, they’re at home this weekend, and it’s always tough to play a team on their home court.”

ASU vs. Louisville (Friday, Sept. 12, 9 a.m. PT)
The Cardinals fell to 3-3 on the year after falling to in-state rival Kentucky, 3-1, in a Tuesday-night road contest.

Maya McClendon led Louisville with 16 kills and 14 digs, while Janelle Jenkins added 12 kills, and Kate George added 37 assists. Louisville dropped the opening set, 25-20, before coming back in the second at 25-15. After the break, Kentucky went on to win the third and fourth sets, and the match. 

McClendon leads the Cardinals on the season with 73 kills, while Tess Clark is hitting .417 with 42 kills and only seven attack errors. As a team Louisville is hitting .257.

Earlier this year, Louisville picked up an upset-road win over then-No. 12 Minnesota (now ranked at No. 18) in four sets at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. 

The Cardinals fell out of the AVCA poll this week, but were mentioned in the receiving votes section with 13 votes.

ASU vs. Northern Illinois (Friday, Sept. 12, 2 p.m. PT)
On Tuesday evening, the Huskies improved to 4-3 on the year with a 3-0 sweep of Northern Iowa, their first win over the program since 1988.

For the match, Mary Grace Kelly recorded 12 kills, while Mackenzie Roddy added 11 more, and Alexis Gonzalez picked up a double-double with 37 assists and 13 digs.

On the year, Roddy has hit 95 kills and is hitting .270. As a team, the Huskies have the hitting percentage edge, .211 to .202. 

Earlier this year, Northern Illinois fell in a five-set battle with Pac-12 Conference member Colorado.

ASU vs. Morehead State (Saturday, Sept. 13, 2 p.m. PT)
The Eagles (0-6) were on the road last week, competing at Kent State’s Golden Flashes Classic. In its match against Evansville, Morehead State won the opening frame, 25-28, before narrowly falling in the final three sets. Hannah Sigala led the team with 17 kills, while Laura McDermott (13), Alex Fitzmorris (11), and Alli Evans (10) also recorded double-digit kills.

On the year, Sigala is hitting .319 with 62 kills, and also leads the team in aces with six.

Up Next
The Sun Devils will round out the non-conference slate next week, hosting the Residence Inn Invitational, Sept. 19-20, inside Wells Fargo Arena. ASU will host Pepperdine, North Carolina Central, and Colorado State, playing one match on Friday and two on Saturday.

Last Time Out
Last week, the Sun Devils opened the slate at Wells Fargo Arena with four matches, all part of the Residence Inn Challenge.

ASU first hosted Canada’s Mount Royal University, winning the exhibition match in three sets, 29-27, 25-8, 25-15. Whitney Follette had 10 kills and led the team with a .714 hitting percentage, Kizzy Willey adding 10 more kills.

Freshman Madison McDaniel picked up the start, recording 34 assists, two solo blocks, and a service ace, while redshirt freshman Kwyn Johnson tallied a pair of kills throughout the second and third sets.

The weekend continued as ASU swept UAB, junior Andi Lowrance recording each of her seven kills in the final set of the match. Lowrance hit .778 and committed zero errors. Bianca Arellano and Follette each surpassed the .700 attack percentage mark, and as a team, ASU out-hit the Blazers, .412 to .098.

In the match against Idaho State, Arellano hit a career-high five service aces to go along with her 46 assists in the 3-1 win, and junior Macey Gardner hit nine of her 18 kills in the fourth set. Bailey also set a new career high in service aces, putting five more toward ASU’s match total of 11.

Against Iowa, ASU’s first Pac-12 Networks televised opponent, the Sun Devils battled to win a record second set, 32-30, en route to the three-set sweep. Bailey led the way with 11 kills, while three more Sun Devils added eight apiece.

Mercedes Binns was named the Residence Inn Challenge MVP with eight kills in the Iowa match, and Gardner and Follette were named to the All-Tournament Team.

More On ASU vs. Iowa (Sept. 7)
The Sun Devils’ match against Iowa was one for the records book as ASU not only came back from an eight-point deficit at 20-12, but also won the set with the sixth-most points in program history at 32-30.

ASU’s longest set by points in the rally scoring era came twice, first against Arizona in 2002, and then in 2007 against Oregon. The Sun Devils won both sets, 42-40. Against the Wildcats, ASU won the match, while the Ducks took the win in 2007.

ASU In The AVCA Poll
Two weeks into the season, and the Sun Devils are ranked at No. 15 in the AVCA Division I Volleyball Poll, matching its highest ranking from the 2013 campaign (from the week of Sept. 30).

Pac-12’s Stanford sits at No. 1 in the nation, followed by Washington at No. 5, USC at No. 6, and the Sun Devils at No. 15. Also ranked are No. 18 Oregon, No. 21 Arizona, and No. 25 UCLA.

ASU’s all-time highest ranking was No. 8 in the poll released on Nov. 29, 1982.

The next AVCA poll will be released on Sept. 15.

ASU In the Pac-12
The Sun Devils lead the Pac-12 Conference in both aces and aces/set with 41 and 1.95, respectively.

Individually, Bree Bailey has recorded 12, at a clip of .57/set, third in the Pac-12. USC’s Samantha Bricio has a league-best 20 aces at a clip of .91/set. Bianca Arellano is ranked in a tie for No. 6 with 9 aces at .43/set.

As a team, ASU is one of only 30 teams that remain undefeated in the country.

Gardner’s Career Kills
With 76 kills on the season and 1,159 in her career, Macey Gardner sits at No. 12 in the record book, ahead of former teammate Erica Wilson’s (2009-12) mark of 1,125.

The mark at No. 11, 1,185, belongs to Terri Cox, who played from 1994-97, while Christine Garner (1992-95) owns the school record with 1871.

Only 16 Sun Devils have surpassed the mark of 1,000 career kills.

Pac-12 Preseason Poll
ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll with 73 votes.

This marks ASU’s highest spot on the preseason poll since being picked fourth prior to the 1999 campaign.

All-Pac-12 Preseason Team
Junior outside hitter Macey Gardner was named to the 2014 All-Pac-12 Preseason Team, marking the second consecutive year Gardner has earned the honor. Last season, Gardner rounded out the year on the All-Pac-12 Team.

The Gilbert, Ariz., native led the 2013 squad with 506 kills. She recorded a career high 29 kills when the Sun Devils were on the road at Utah (Oct. 24, 2013).

2013 In Review
The Arizona State volleyball team wrapped up the 2013 season with its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, marking back-to-back trips to the postseason since the 1999-2000 seasons.

ASU finished with a 19-14 overall record and an 8-12 mark in Pac-12 action. The Sun Devils opened the year with a 12-1 record, including a three-set sweep over No. 2 and then-defending NCAA Champion Texas. 14 of ASU’s 19 wins came via the three-set sweep.

Closing out her career, senior libero Stephanie Preach became just the second Sun Devil in program history to record more than 2000 digs, rounding out her career with a total of 2010.

Macey Gardner became the 16th Sun Devil to surpass the 1000-kill mark, finishing her second year at ASU with 506 for a total of 1083, which sits at No. 13 all-time. Gardner is on pace to surpass Christine Garner’s school record of 1871, which she set during the 1992-95 seasons.

Watson vs. Ranked Opponents
Head coach Jason Watson has grabbed 11 wins over ranked teams in his tenure at Arizona State, including three in 2013.

Most recently, the Sun Devils upset No. 17 Hawaii in the second match of the 2014 season in straight sets. In fact, six of the 11 ranked wins have come in the form of the three-set sweep.

Notably, the 2013 Sun Devils topped defending national champion and then-No. 2 Texas, 3-0. This marked the second time in Watson’s tenure that ASU defeated the No. 2 team in the country, as the Sun Devils topped Cal, 3-2, during the 2010 season.

Top-25 Wins Under Watson
Oct. 25, 2008 at No. 24 Oregon State--W 3-0
Sept. 25, 2009 No. 14 UCLA*--W 3-0
Oct. 15, 2010 No. 5 USC*--W 3-1
Oct. 16, 2010 No. 10 UCLA*--W 3-1
Nov. 24, 2010 at No. 2 California*--W 3-2
Nov. 2, 2012 No. 6 USC*--W 3-0
Nov. 21, 2012 at No. 5 Washington*--W 3-1      
Aug. 31, 2013 No. 24 Wichita State--W 3-0
Sept. 13, 2013 No. 2 Texas--W 3-0
Nov. 1, 2013 No. 23 Oregon--W 3-1
Aug. 30, 2014 No. 17 Hawaii--W 3-0

2014 Tournament Awards
Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Most Outstanding Player: Macey Gardner
All-Tournament Team: Bianca Arellano, Kizzy Willey

Residence Inn Challenge (Tempe, Ariz.)
MVP: Mercedes Binns
All-Tournament Team: Macey Gardner, Whitney Follette