(Photo: Hannah Franklin/WCSN)
No. 7 Arizona State played its second Pac-12 match on Sunday, taking on the Oregon State Beavers. The Sun Devils may have put away the Beavers in straight sets, but it wasn’t easy as the Beavers gave them a bit of a fight by scores of 25-18, 25-19, 25-20.
ASU was not in its usual 6-2 offense, as freshman setter Kylie Pickrell was out with a knee injury. She also didn’t play the last two sets of the Arizona game on Thursday. Instead, ASU elected to run with the 5-1 offense with senior setter Bianca Arellano at the helm.
“It’s kind of like muscle memory,” Arellano said. “I ran that for two years here… The whole team adjusted well.”
The timetable for Pickrell’s return is still unknown, and it is up in the air whether or not she will be back for Stanford.
“Our trainers are working around the clock to get Kylie back. Kylie is working around the clock to get Kylie back,” ASU head coach Jason Watson. “She wants to play and we want her to play.”
In the first set, the Sun Devils started the game out going toe-to-toe with the Beavers as they moved out to a 9-7 lead. ASU started out hitting .000 within its first 10 points. Out of the gate, the Sun Devils looked slow as the Beavers were able to contain the fast paced Sun Devil offense. It wasn’t just the Sun Devils who struggled with hitting as the Beavers started with a tough set, hitting -.054. The Beavers were forced to take a timeout when ASU pushed their lead out to 19-15. The Beavers then used their second and final timeout after ASU took their lead out to 23-18. The Sun Devils were able to overcome their rough start as they took the first set by a score of 25-18.
ASU was able to figure things out a little bit, however, and finished the set hitting .114. Senior outside hitter Macey Gardner had six kills on 14 attempts in the first set.
The second set didn’t prove very different from the first in the beginning. The two teams went point-for-point as the set started 8-8. ASU pushed two straight points, and the Beavers called their first timeout of the set. The Sun Devils blocking came out to play. Through the Sun Devils first 13 points of the second set the Sun Devils had accumulated four total blocks they would finish the set with seven. The Beavers took their second timeout when ASU moved out to a six-point lead, 20-14. This didn’t phase the Sun Devils as they cruised to a second set victory by a score of 25-19.
Usually, the second set gives ASU some trouble, but today that was not the case. The Sun Devils seemed to figure things out and took care of the Beavers comfortably.
“I don’t know if I ever feel comfortable,” Watson said. “I felt comfortable when we scored the last point.”
The third set started off the same way as the teams kept close with each other starting out 8-8 again. The set kept close when the Beavers stayed with the Sun Devils to a score of 14-14. ASU went on a 3-0 run to push the score to 17-14, taking a little bit of an edge and forcing the Beavers to call their first timeout of the set. The timeout proved effective as the Beavers gained their composure and caught up to the Sun Devils, 18-18. ASU managed to gain a little bit of breathing room when it moved its lead out to 22-19, capped off by a huge block from Arellano. ASU eventually closed out the set on two consecutive kills from Gardner who finished the day with 16 kills.
The Sun Devils next matchup will be in Wells Fargo Arena against a big Pac-12 powerhouse Stanford. This will be on Friday, October 2, at 6 p.m.