(Photo: Sun Devil Volleyball)
Arizona State (1-0) will be facing their biggest test of the young season today against No. 24 Wichita State (1-0).
Head coach Jason Watson mentioned this game in a previous interview as one that would be the first significant test run for the Sun Devils (1-0) in their pursuit of a better positioning in the postseason.
The Wichita State Shockers return five starters from a Sweet 16 team that ultimately lost to the USC Trojans in the national tournament’s quarterfinals.
The experienced squad features two preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference first team selections, senior setter Chelsey Feekin and senior middle blocker Elizabeth Field. The Shockers were also selected as the front-runner to win the MVC.
“I watched them play today,” Watson said. “They’re good. They’re very much deserving of their ranking. They’re going to play fast. They’re certainly going to pressure us offensively, and that’s the match-up that we, as a staff, are going to try to get dialed in on.”
A key component to the Sun Devils finding success against Wichita State will be freshman BreElle Bailey. She had a highly successful night against Utah Valley, tallying 13 kills and a team-high .550 hitting percentage. Her length and presence at 6’4” will also be key in disrupting the Shockers offensive attack.
“We’re going to see if we can get our blocks dialed in,” Watson said. “I thought we blocked okay tonight [against Utah Valley].”
The only time these two schools previously played was in 1989, when ASU pulled out the win.
The Sun Devils have a chance to make a statement with a win and also play up to a potential ranking.
“This is a different challenge for us,” said Watson. “This is a completely different challenge for us.”
The game against Wichita State will start at 10:30 a.m., and Arizona State will play again today, against North Dakota State, at 4:30 p.m.
You can reach Zac Pacleb on Twitter @ZacPacleb or via email at email@example.com.