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Volleyball splits final of ASU Sheraton Tourney

September 19, 2010

The Sun Devil Volleyball team came out swinging Saturday as they closed out the final day of the ASU Sheraton Tournament with a 3-2 win over Pacific before falling in a 3-2 battle to the end against Utah. The split gives ASU a 5-7 record on the season headed into Pac-10 play next weekend.

ASU came out against the Pacific Tigers in the high noon match with something to say as they came out of the starting gates ready to rumble with freshman Danica Mendivil leading the way with five kills, while the D backed her with three blocks, two assisted by Sonja Markanovich alone en route to a 25-23 win.

Not to be outshone by a freshman, Sarah Reaves carried the load in the second set with six kills to her name with the team pulling 3.5 blocks to snake off with a 26-24 win headed into the break. Pacific hasn’t been getting national attention for resting on their laurels though as they came out with a vengeance in the third set to swing .310 with Svenja Engelhardt leading the way with six kills for a .308 average.

With Pacific taking the third set 25-17, the teams locked up again in the fourth where six tie scores and four lead changes set the intense pace of the set which saw ASU slip up with some costly errors as the Tigers forced a game five with a 25-20 win. The Sun Devils came out to remind them whose court it was though in the final set battling off eight tie scores and five lead changes as they left everything on the court to pull off a 16-14 win to take the match.

In the nightcap for the tournament the Sun Devils came out grinding again as they faced the Utah Utes a perennially tough program that came out hungry for a win hitting a nasty .471 in the first set with Karolina Bartkowiak towing the line with six kills for a .750 average to lead Utah to a 25-18 win.

The Sun Devils came out to remind the Utes in the second that they’d have to work for every point as they pushed ten tie scores and four lead changes before putting set two to bed with a 26-24 win to knot it at one apiece at the break. The Utes responded in the second even with Mendivil swinging her heart out for ASU as Utah’s Erin Redd put the team on her back with eight kills to hit .667 to lead Utah to a 25-20 win.

Set four saw ASU tear the roof off for a .333 attack percentage and three blocks as they shut down Utah with a 25-16 win to take it to five again with the Sun Devil faithful fired up behind them. The final set saw both teams work for every scrap and point as ASU blazed a .348 attack percentage, but heartbreak was in store as the Utes bettered it with a .400 attack percentage, shrugging off three tie scores and a lead change to just barely make off with a 15-13 win.

ASU Sheraton Tournament All-Tourney Team:

Svenja Engelhardt – Pacific
Kaolina Bartkowiak – Utah
Erica Wilson – ASU
Danica Mendivil – ASU
Lexi Zimmerman – Michigan

MVP: Alex Hunt – Michigan

That wraps ASU’s tournament slate as they set to head into a brutal Pac-10 conference slate, gearing up to host No. 1 Stanford and Cal next Friday and Sunday in Tempe at Wells Fargo Arena.