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No. 18 Volleyball Rallies, Falls Short In Five-Setter With No. 8 CSU

Sep 19, 2014

Courtesy Connor Johnson, SDA Communications

TEMPE, Ariz.—Sophomore outside hitter Kizzy Willey set career highs in both kills and digs, but it wasn’t enough as the No. 18 Arizona State women’s volleyball team (8-2) was defeated by No. 8 Colorado State (10-1) in five sets 23-25, 20-25, 25-18, 25-17, 5-15 in their opening match of the Residence Inn Invitational on Friday evening at Wells Fargo Arena.

Willey’s kills and digs also combined for the first-ever double-double of her career.

“It was a fun match, which is certainly a unique thing to say given the outcome, but I thought it was a fun match,” head coach Jason Watson said. “Fourth week of the season, two nice teams going at it, and I thought really, with the week we’ve had, I felt really good about the way we passed. I thought we passed well enough to win, but I think we’re still struggling to find out defensive identity. Colorado State’s ability to create point-scoring opportunities and turn those was just better than ours tonight. I think we can fix that as the season progresses. We’re disappointed in the outcome, but thinking there’s a lot of good that came out of this stretch for us.”

Redshirt freshman Kwyn Johnson earned the first start of her Sun Devil career at middle blocker, with junior Andi Lowrance splitting time in the role as well.

The Rams were led by junior outside hitter Adrianna Culbert, who finished with 10 kills and 14 digs, as well as senior setter Deedra Foss, who finished with 52 assists.

Another bright spot for Arizona State was the return of senior defensive specialist Shannan McCready, who made her first appearance of the season on Friday night and finished with 12 digs.

Junior outside hitter Macey Gardner led ASU with 15 kills, and finished with seven digs as well.

The Sun Devils play again Saturday, when they will take on North Carolina Central at noon and Pepperdine at 7 p.m. PT. Both matches will be streamed via thesundevils.com.