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ASU volleyball edges VCU at Dayton Invite

August 29, 2010

The ASU Volleyball team pulled back on track Sunday afternoon with career matches and heroics from Sarah Johnson and Ashley Kastl to help lead ASU to a 3-2 win over Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to close out the University of Dayton Invitational. Kastl's 21 kills in the match are a career-best while Johnson tied her second-highest in career history with 24 digs before leaving the match with an injury. In the end, ASU prevailed with a 21-25, 25-27, 25-20, 25-20 and 15-9 win over the Rams to push their record to 1-2 on the year.

The Sun Devils opened the match sluggish, hitting a paltry .065 in the set to VCU's .257 with Mariel Frey leading the way with four kills. The Rams defense stepped up to bat as well, posting three blocks in the set to stifle the ASU offense. Cat Highmark set a career-mark as well in the first set alone as she posted three of her four service aces to top her previous single-match best. It wasn't enough though as VCU swept off with a 25-21 win.

Set two saw ASU start to wake up, posting a .250 attack percentage with Sarah Reaves, Danica Mendivil and Ashley Kastl all dropping four kills apiece in the set. The VCU blockers had another idea though as they put up a wall, collecting five blocks in the set to give their offense just enough room to breathe and squeak out a 27-25 win to go up 2-0 at the break.

ASU wasn't going quietly though as they exploded out of the break to swing a .444 attack percentage in the third set, bolstered by Sarah Reaves' six kills. Sarah Johnson found herself earning her keep in the set as well, digging nine balls to keep ASU alfloat, giving Cat Highmark room to set 13 assists for the Sun Devils to put their foot back in the door with a 25-20 win.

Set four was all Ashley Kastl, who blistered nine of ASU's 20 kills in the set past the Rams with Cat Highmark keeping pace with the offense, serving up 15 assists in the set. Sarah Reaves followed suit with five kills of her own before putting in the work on defense with a solo block and four digs to help knot it up and send it into five with ASU taking another 25-20 win.

Ashley Kastl took the reigns again in the fifth set, setting the tone with four kills with Cat Highmark and Sonja Markanovich hitting the net to post up a block and keep the VCU offense off-balance. The Rams couldn't respond as they swung a .000 attack average in the set, putting five kills and five attack errors on the board to give ASU the foot up it needed as the Sun Devils collected their first win of the 2010 season sealing it in five with a 15-8 win.

The Sun Devils will now return home where they'll host the first of three home tournaments next Friday and Saturday. The Sun Devils will face Seattle University, San Diego State and Utah State. All matches will be held in Tempe at ASU's Wells Fargo Arena.