(Photo: Ryan Bafaloukos/WCSN)
The Arizona State Sun Devils returned to Wells Fargo Arena for the first time in two weeks and defeated the Washington State Cougars in straight sets 25-22, 25-22, 25-17. ASU has now won three straight matches after losing seven straight in October.
In the first set, Washington State started off strong at the net. They had four early blocks and jumped out to a 6-4 lead. However freshman outside hitter BreElle Bailey, in her third match since being moved to the left side, led the way with six kills in the set. She finished the match with fifteen kills.
Bailey has now had five straight matches with double-digit kills. The Cougars tried all they could to stop her, putting up three blockers numerous times, but the 6’4” freshman used her length to hit around the block and became a dominant force all night long.
“It’s kind of fun to watch when she gets some time and gets those levers going,” ASU head coach Jason Watson said. “It’s pretty scary, actually. I’m happy for her.”
Washington State came out in the second set and led most of the way, leading 12-8 midway through the set. However, ASU battled their way back behind a 9-1 run to take the lead and never looked back. The Cougars came within one, but Bailey came up with a big defensive play to break WSU’s serve.
Four Sun Devil attackers had at least three kills in the second set.
“I thought tonight, it was just ‘Hey, let’s go play volleyball’,” Watson said. “Offensively, I thought we put pressure on them, and so it was nice to see.”
The third set was more of the same. ASU imposed their will on the Cougars and there was little doubt as the Sun Devils lead by as many as seven points.
The Cougars were led by freshman outside hitter Kyra Holt’s 11 kills and a solo block.
Sophomore setter Bianca Arellano warmed up but was held out of the night’s match, and junior defensive specialist/setter Shannan McCready continued to run the team successfully. She racked up 35 assists and eight digs.
“[McCready and Arellano] are both very different setters,” Bailey said. “Shannan’s sets are a little higher and think that’s a little better for me, but during practice and stuff when I’m hitting off of Bianca, she’s doing a great job and I like hitting off of both.”
Arellano’s status will be revisited on Friday after practice, and she will likely be a game-time decision although Watson expressed his desire to figure out what they will be doing in regards to Arellano before Saturday’s match against the No. 3 Washington Huskies.
ASU will look to avenge the straight-sets loss they suffered in Seattle, WA on October 13th when they square off against the Huskies in Wells Fargo Arena at noon on Saturday, November 9th.
You can reach Zac Pacleb on Twitter @ZacPacleb or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.