(Photo: Zac Pacleb/WCSN)
Things aren’t getting much easier for the No. 17 Arizona State Sun Devils as they play No. 3 Washington this Friday. ASU will host the Huskies at 7:00 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.
ASU shocked a lot of people last weekend as started strong against No. 1 Stanford, although they eventually lost in four sets.
The difference between this week and last week is that there are a lot ‘ifs’ in this weekend’s matches. The biggest one being if junior middle blocker Whitney Follette will make her first appearance after missing over half of conference play.
“I know Washington is a big game. I’m just ready for anything,” Follette said. “I think I’ll be comfortable. I think I’ll be okay. I don’t know.”
Follette has been practicing for the past week and a half, and she was medically cleared to play last weekend.
When talking about if Follette will play or not, head coach Jason Watson said, “We will have to wait and see.”
What to Expect
Just like No. 1 Stanford, No. 3 Washington plays clean and does a great job limiting their errors. The cleanest player on Washington’s roster is senior outside hitter Krista Vansant. In nearly every match, the 2013 AVCA Player of the Year racked up the most kills and the highest kill percentage on the team while tacking on an abundance of digs.
Another key element to Washington’s success is their block. Whe Washington beat No. 11 Oregon, they had a total of 20 team blocks in a four set match. Teams who can put up a big block normally give ASU trouble, especially with the absence of Follette.
No matter which middle is in for ASU, expect to see junior setter Bianca Arellano set the slide a lot. The majority of junior middle blocker Andi Lowrance’s kills came from the slide, and Stanford had a hard time finding an answer as Lowrance had 9 kills and only one error.
The Sun Devils will be more disciplined on defense and will do a better job picking up tips and positioning themselves better in their defensive zone, but the amount of blocks Washington puts up per set spells trouble for the Sun Devils as they will get blocked and eventually have to roll shot and tip. Washington’s clean play will not allow easy tips to drop or silly mistakes to be made. ASU will have trouble finding their rhythm offensively and will lose to the Huskies in three sets.