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Macey Gardner, Sun Devils pull off narrow three-set victory

(Photo: Ryan Bafaloukos/WCSN)

In a must-win situation for ASU, the Sun Devils did just that, in the form of a straight-sets sweep over Colorado (25-23, 28-26, 25-14).

It was Bianca Arellano’s first game back after missing four matches with a sprained ankle.

“It felt so great to be back,” Arellano said. “Macey (Gardner) and Bree (Bailey) and everybody connected so well tonight.”

She and outside hitter Macey Gardner picked up right where they left off, as Arellano had 40 assists, with Gardner leading the way with 18 kills and only 2 errors.

“(Arellano) is crazy. It’s really good to have her on the court,” Gardner said. “Her energy and her athleticism and just to be able to play with her is really good. It feels like we are just clicking.”

Set one was a back-and-forth nail-biter dominated by Gardner. She had eight of her kills and none of her errors in the first set victory.  Battling her was Colorado’s Taylor Simpson in the first set. Simpson had six of her kills in the opening set.

Set number two was as evenly split as any that the Sun Devils have played this year. With nine ties and three lead changes, it took a bad lift call by the ref and a couple good bounces for ASU to pull out the 28-26 win. Six kills in the second set again led the Sun Devils. In fact, no other Sun Devil had more than seven kills in the entire match.

The Sun Devils gained momentum at the end of the second set and head coach Jason Watson didn’t take that lightly.

“Really happy with the way we came back in game 2,” Watson said. “When you get into those extra points, you expend an enormous amount of emotion trying to stay in it. You just go through a mental roller coaster.”

Unlike a roller coaster, though, this one ended up on top for the Sun Devils. They took the momentum set two and turned it into a dominating performance in set three, finishing the Buffaloes off 25-14 in the final set.

Next up for the Sun Devils are the Utah Utes at Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday at noon.

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