(Photo: Jacob Franklin/WCSN)
The Arizona State Sun Devils take on the Boise State Broncos in the last game for both teams before starting conference play.
Arizona State posted a 2-1 record in each of their previous three tournaments to bring a record of 6-3 into this tournament. This weekend’s tournament may be the toughest yet for the Sun Devils.
ASU started the tournament on Friday morning with a match against an undefeated Santa Clara team, then followed that up with a match against Portland State on Friday afternoon.
Despite the tough competition this weekend, coach Stevie Mussie was very clear on her expectations for the team.
“Always win,” Mussie said. “Expectations are to win and to continue to evolve as a team. I like where we are.”
The attitude from the Arizona State players seems to be geared towards getting better as a team, rather than the teams they are playing.
“I expect us to stick to the game plan and work to our advantages,” senior outside hitter Maya McClendon said. “Obviously making our serves and all the things we’ve been working on; playing really clean and really tight.”
The main player on the other side of the net the Sun Devils have to watch out for is junior outside hitter Sierra Nobley.
The Arizona-native leads the Broncos with 160 kills on the season.
That is 67 more kills than the next highest on the team.
Nobley also ranks 18th in the nation in kills per set with 4.57, and has five double-doubles in nine games.
Other players to note for the Broncos are redshirt junior middle blocker Kaitlyn Oliver and senior middle blocker Maddy O’Donnell. Oliver and O’Donnell have 93 and 85 kills on the season, respectively.
Boise State entered this weekend with a 5-4 record. The first set has been a big indicator for all of their matches.
In all five wins, the Broncos have won the first set, and in all four losses, the Broncos have lost the first set.
This first set will be key for both teams on Saturday, and could be a big indicator as to who wins the match.
Boise State and Arizona State square off in one of the final tournament matches of the year on Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
Both teams will look to this game as a tune-up before conference play.
The Broncos begin their conference season on Thursday, September 22nd on the road against UNLV, and the Sun Devils start conference play with a road match against Arizona on Wednesday, September 21st.