(Photo: Trey Lanthier/WCSN)
The No. 22 Sun Devils got past the Washington State Cougars with a five set win on Friday, but things will not get easier for them as they now have to play against No. 5 Washington. Arizona State will travel down to Seattle, Wash. to play the Huskies at 12:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
Last weekend, the Sun Devils went 0-2 for the first time in a weekend this season, and they still have yet to go 2-0 on any weekend. To change that trend, ASU will have to upset one of the best teams in the nation. It is possible though, after the Sun Devils almost came away with a victory against No. 1 Stanford in five sets earlier this month.
Similar to ASU, Washington also went 0-2 last weekend for the first time this year as they dropped five-set matches to Colorado and Utah. Those were Washington’s first losses of the season as their overall record is now 26-2.
What to Expect
Washington is trying to reverse a late-season collapse, and that showed when they beat No. 13 Arizona to a pulp in straight sets on Friday night. Outside hitter Krista Vansant had a great night as she put up 17 kills and a hitting percentage of .429. If Vansant does not make errors and puts the ball away on a regular basis most of the sets will go her way. The Huskies also had three players who had over ten digs apiece, which is not easy to do in a three-set match. So expect a clean game from the Huskies.
Don’t forget ASU’s primary weapon, though: Macey Gardner. The junior outside hitter had 29 kills and 11 digs in Friday’s match against Washington State, and consistently rewrites the record book as she moved to No. 4 in career kills for ASU with 1,597. Gardner continues to see most of the sets every match, and regardless of how a match is going, setter Bianca Arellano will continue to set her.
The Huskies’ all-around consistent play is what makes them such a dominant force, not just in the Pac-12, but in the nation. On the other hand, Arizona State’s inconsistent play is what has been hurting them this season. Playing away on a Sunday morning usually spells trouble for ASU. Factoring in the quality of Krista Vansant up front will prove to be too much for the Sun Devils’ front line to handle, and Washington will take this one in four sets.