The No. 18 Arizona State volleyball team (10-1) won its second match of the Marriott Invitational, defeating Alabama State (5-10), 25-18, 25-17, 25-11, Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.
The first set began and ended in the same fashion, with Andi Lowrance spiking a vicious kill at the first and final points. It was, however, the most competitive of the match with six ties and four lead changes in this rare occasion where we can’t use the acronym ASU. The Hornets led 11-8 before Stephanie Preach evened it with an ace and Bianca Arellano gave the Sun Devils the lead with a block, highlighting a seven-point run.
Trailing 24-14 in the second, the Hornets saved three set points until senior outside hitter Bethany Jorgensen ended it with a floater rolled over the net.
The Sun Devils cruised during the third, going up 10-4 and 17-7, as the Hornets had 11 errors and a negative attack percentage. Nora Tuioti-Mariner killed the 24th point, the Hornets saved the ensuing one, and BreElle Bailey smacked the final point of the match for her sixth kill.
Jorgensen and Tuioti-Mariner tied for the Sun Devil lead with seven kills, Arellano had 26 assists, Preach had five digs, and Whitney Follette recorded five blocks.
Rachel Smith had a match-high nine kills for the Hornets, and Dragana Cvoric – the junior from Guca, Serbia- killed six. Brooke Beasley had 12 assists and nine digs, Ellyn Jones assisted 11, and Luiza Griz – of Recife, Brazil- recorded eight digs.
The Sun Devils had 11 team blocks to the Hornets’ two.
“That’s not a skill we’ve been known for,” Sun Devils coach Jason Watson said of the blocking after Friday night’s win over Cal Poly. “We’ve never been known for that. Bianca’s not too bad, she’s small (five-foot-eight), but she can jump and put some pressure on people.”
The Sun Devils host the University of Arizona at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Pacific-12 Conference opener.