(Photo: James Powel/WCSN)
The Arizona State Sun Devils kicked off the Boise State Classic with a 1-1 record, while taking down their first ranked opponent of the season.
No. 17 Santa Clara:
The Sun Devils upset No. 17 Santa Clara in five sets 20-25, 13-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-8.
In the first set, the Sun Devils kept pace with the Broncos with the biggest differential being only three points.
Head coach Stevie Mussie called a timeout with her team trailing 9-7. The timeout did no good for ASU as the deficit quickly went from two to six.
Although the Sun Devils came within two, they could not hold down senior outside hitter Nikki Hess. The Sun Devils recorded twice as many unforced errors as the Broncos.
Santa Clara ultimately took the first set 25-20.
In the second set, Mussie held out sophomore outside hitter Lexi MacLean who was tied with junior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro for the most kills in the first set with four.
The Sun Devil offense felt the change. They scored the first point of the match and it was down hill after that. Santa Clara quickly jumped out to an 8-3 lead before a Mussie timeout, which failed to work in ASU’s favor again.
The Broncos won the second set easily by a score of 25-13.
Hess had led the Broncos with 10 kills, freshman setter Callie Jones totaled 21 assists and freshman libero Taylor Laugero scooped up nine digs.
Santa Clara hit .366 as a team through two sets.
The third set proved that the word quit is not in their vocabulary.
Once again, Mussie sent a new lineup onto the floor. This lineup had brought MacLean back and added freshman outside hitter Ivanna Jeremic and sophomore setter Kylie Pickrell.
The two teams were deadlocked at 14 when the Sun Devils hit their stride. They won five of the next six points to go up 19-15.
Although Santa Clara rallied back and cut the deficit to two points, they could not stop senior outside hitter Cassidy Pickrell who had five kills in the set.
The Sun Devils won the third set 25-20 and forced a forth set.
In the fourth set, the Sun Devils found themselves down 5-1 early. However, with some strong defense coupled an offense surge led almost entirely by C. Pickrell and Okaro, the Sun Devils came back to tie it 15-all and then 16-all.
Back-to-back aces by Okaro gave the Sun Devils a lead they would not relinquish. MacLean drilled her ninth kill of the match to give the Sun Devils the 25-22 victory and tie the match at 2-2.
The final set began with an exchange of points.
ASU then won the next seven of eight points thanks to four errors by Santa Clara. The Broncos committed six unforced errors in the set.
MacLean sent the game-winning kill to the back line to complete the upset. They won the set 15-8 and the match 3-2. The come from behind win was also the 700th victory in Sun Devil Volleyball history.
Okaro lead the team with six aces, and four total blocks. C. Pickrell led ASU with 14 digs. Each tied for a team high 15 kills apiece.
Arizona State carried the momentum from defeating Santa Clara into their second match of the day. They were unable to sustain that momentum for the entire match against Portland State and lost in four sets 25-18, 27-29, 18-25, 22-25.
They started the match with a 10-2 run thanks to two aces by sophomore setter Caroline Pearson and three total blocks plus two kills by Okaro. The Vikings fought back but were unable to overcome the initial deficit. The Sun Devils won the first set 25-18.
The second set was a constant exchange of points. Both teams had two opportunities for match point.
When the Vikings third chance came, it was the Sun Devils who let up. They committed two unforced attack errors and lost the set 29-27.
Portland State came out swinging in the third set and jumped out to an early 5-1 lead. The Vikings five aces, coupled with four blocks, made it impossible for the Sun Devils to fight back.
The fourth set would be the final set of the day for the Sun Devils. The Vikings went on a four-point run to start the set.
The Sun Devils fought back and did a great job of spreading around the offense. Kills by five different players brought the Sun Devils within one at a score of 10-9.
The teams exchanged points once again until the Vikings broke a 16-16 tie with a five-point run. The Sun Devils were able to capitalize on errors to bring the score within two late.
A service error by Okaro gave the Vikings sealed the set 25-22. Portland State emerged victorious with a 3-1 win over Arizona State.
Senior outside hitter Pati Anae and Junior Libero Tasha Bojanic lead both teams with 19 kills and 23 digs, respectively.
Okaro lead both teams with nine total blocks.
The Sun Devils with face host Boise State to finish up the tournament and non-conference play tomorrow.