(Photo: Jasmyne Lott/WCSN)
No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils came into their match against North Carolina Central University with a vengeance as they beat the North Carolina Central Eagles in straight sets (25-9, 25-14, 25-11).
Even though sophomore outside hitter McKenzie Willey (rest) and junior middle blocker Whitney Follette (injured) sat out of the contest, the Sun Devils were dominant on the offensive end.
Junior middle blocker Mercedes Binns and junior outside hitter Macey Gardner had three kills apiece in the first set.
The Eagles, even though they were down most of the set, did not give up. Eagle freshman setter Paige Phillips did a good job giving her hitters one-on-one opportunities and running a consistent slide to try to confuse ASU blockers.
However, ASU junior setter Bianca Arellano stole the first set by putting up impressive numbers with, one ace, one kill, four digs, and five assists.
The Sun Devils picked up right where they left off with back-to-back aces to start the second set.
However, the Eagles kept their fighting mentality and kept the game close as they were within three points of the Sun Devils for a while, thanks to their scrappy defense.
ASU eventually took their lead and ran with it by tacking on four more aces and with Arellano putting up two more kills.
The third set was a breakout set for Binns and sophomore opposite hitter BreElle Bailey. Binns had seven kills along with two solo blocks and Bailey had four kills two total blocks.
ASU freshman libero Halle Harker also had herself a day with a team-leading 12 digs and adding two aces and assists.
It wasn’t a clean match for the Eagles, who totaled 21 hitting errors and 8 service errors.
The Sun Devils will look to end their nonconference schedule on a high-note as they take on Pepperdine later tonight at 7 p.m. in the final match of the Residence Inn Invitational.
You can reach Troy Lynch on Twitter @mrtroylynch