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Sand Devils Upset No. 13 Arizona In Home Opener

Mar 8, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz. – For the first time since 2017, Sun Devil Beach Volleyball took down No. 13 Arizona in the home opener on Tuesday afternoon, winning a close 3-2 battle. The Sand Devils also beat Benedictine University at Mesa earlier in the day in a 5-0 sweep.

Arizona State (5-3, 1-0 Pac-12) earned its first ranked win of the year after upsetting No. 13 Arizona. It all came down to the No. 3 pair of Lila Bordis and Sarah Waters. After winning their first set, they dropped the second to go to a third. Up 4-1 early, the duo held on to win 15-11 and clinch the dual. 

The Sun Devils' last win over the Wildcats was in 2017 in Tucson. The last home win came in 2014 back when ASU played at the PERA Club. This win gives ASU a half point in the Territorial Cup. The next matchup will be in Tucson on March 27 as part of the Pac-12 South Tournament. 

Multiple pairs won both of their matches today. Bordis and Waters went 2-0, as well as the No. 4 pair of Taryn Ames and Kate Fitzgerald. The latter duo got the first point in the dual against the Wildcats to spark the team. The No. 5 pair of Maddy Salazar and Kylie Wickley also won both of their matches, taking both in straight sets.

Head Coach Brad Keenan
On first win over No. 13 Arizona since 2017
"One thing we've been talking about is consistency and we finally put it together for a match. So we keep just getting better every time. It means a lot to take down a ranked team. There's also the never give up attitude that we also have embraced this year and we know the work we put in, so if we're not in the place to give them our all, we will tire them out."

On home opener
"It was awesome. Just getting out here and the fan turnout we had was great, especially since it is spring break. I think it'll be a super great attraction for the students once they're here for us."

Junior Sarah Waters
On playing final set to clinch the victory
"It's nerve wracking, but I think when you're in the moment, you have adrenaline and all you're thinking about is where the ball is. I'm just chasing after the ball. It was really fun and everyone watching and cheering makes it so fun."

On playing in the new facility for the first time
"It felt awesome, we felt really confident coming into it because we've played in the sand for a long time and it's pretty deep. We're always going to have a bit of an edge over other teams who aren't used to it and it felt great to christen our new facility with a win over Arizona."

Game One: Arizona State 5, Benedictine 0
The day started with a clean sweep over the Redhawks. There were six sets where ASU held its opponents to single digits. The freshman pair of Rylie Kael and Anya Pemberton won the first match of their collegiate careers at the No. 2 spot.

Results (Order of Finish: 2, 4, 5*, 1, 3)

  1. Cierra Flood/Lexi Sweeney (ASU) def. Ely/Sanchez (BenU) 21-7, 21-7
  2. Rylie Kael/Anya Pemberton (ASU) def. Bartel/Somoza (BenU) 21-14, 21-11
  3. Lila Bordis/Sarah Waters (ASU) def. B. Rivera/H. Rivera (BenU) 21-6, 21-11
  4. Taryn Ames/Kate Fitzgerald (ASU) def. Faleumu/Padilla (BenU) 21-9, 21-11
  5. Maddy Salazar/Kylie Wickley (ASU) def. Montoya/Ponce (BenU) 21-3, 21-5

Game Two: Arizona State 3, No. 13 Arizona 2
The dual saw close competition from the start. Despite ASU dropping its first two sets of the first wave, Ames and Fitzgerald caught fire and took their match to three sets to spark the Sun Devils. After a clean sweep on court five by Salazar and Wickley, it all came down to Bordis and Waters on court three, who clinched it in a third set.

Results (Order of Finish: 2, 4, 5, 1, 3*)

  1. Alana Rennie/Alex Parkhurst (UA) def. Cierra Flood/Lexi Sweeney (ASU) 28-30, 21-18, 15-13
  2. Blacker/ Kaiser (UA) def. Rylie Kael/Anya Pemberton (ASU) 21-18, 21-16
  3. Lila Bordis/Sarah Waters (ASU) def. Safar/Parker (UA) 21-19, 19-21, 15-11
  4. Taryn Ames/Kate Fitzgerald (ASU) def Russell/ Gedikoglu (UA) 16-21, 21-19, 15-8
  5. Maddy Salazar/Kylie Wickley (ASU) def. Shannon/Noble (UA) 21-14, 21-19

Up Next
The Sand Devils are leaving the state for the first time this season to play in the Cal Poly tournament on Friday and Saturday. Arizona State will play San Jose State and Washington on Friday before facing No. 6 Loyola Marymount and No. 11 Cal Poly on Saturday.