(Photo: Sun Devil Volleyball)
Arizona State (4-0) will be looking to remain undefeated Saturday as they face the UNLV Rebels (2-2).
UNLV was predicted to finish third in the Mountain West Conference, their highest preseason poll position since the MWC’s inaugural season in 1999. The Rebels return All-MWC selection Madeline Westman, a senior middle blocker. Westman currently ranks second in career blocks as a Rebel and is likely to surpass that total during her senior campaign.
As for the Sun Devils, they will look to their sophomore stud, Macey Gardner. The outside hitter has averaged 16.25 kills per game in 2013, and those kills have often come in bunches.
Friday night against Seattle, Gardner sparked a 7-1 run with four kills to bring the Sun Devils within one point during the second set, which ASU eventually won.
Bianca Arellano has continued to impress as well, running the young, talented team with strong command of the offense and improving chemistry with all the hitters, including Mercedes Binns.
Head coach Jason Watson mentioned the setter-hitter relationship between Arellano and Binns as one of importance, and one that will continue to be improved upon.
Arizona State has yet to drop a set in four matches, but those twelve sets have not come easy. In their last two matches (North Dakota State and Seattle University), they have had to come back from slow starts in the second set.
The Sun Devils have had the talent to overcome the deficits on both occasions. Watson said he’d like to see the Devils avoid those slow starts.
The game against the Rebels will be played at 10:00 a.m. PT, and then ASU will go on to play Gonzaga in the night cap at 6 p.m. PT.
You can reach Zac Pacleb on Twitter @ZacPacleb or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org