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Volleyball storms back to top Montana in tournament finale

September 12, 2009

Sarah Reaves’ 24 kills coupled with Cat Highmark’s 48 assists and Sonja Markanovich’s eight blocks led the way Saturday night as the Sun Devil Volleyball team topped the host school, Montana 3-2 to wrap the Montana Invitational Saturday night. ASU came from two down to win 21-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-16 and 15-10 to push their record to 7-2 on the season.

The Sun Devils came out a bit sluggish in the first set as they battled out with Montana for the lead through the first few points before a service ace by Stephanie Turner gave the Grizzlies a 5-4 lead that they never relinquished though the set as ASU kept pace but ultimately fell short 25-21. The second set saw a little more life out of the Sun Devils as they kept a see-saw battle for the lead going with the Grizzlies with 13 tie scores throughout the set before UM broke a 24-24 tie to snake off two kills and win in extra points 26-24.

Backed into a corner A State had to come out swinging out of the gate, and they did just that, putting down 11 kills in the third set while holding UM to a .107 attack percentage and taking advantage of UM’s 10 attack errors, one of which gave ASU a 4-3 lead they never looked back from, even as Montana mounted a rally in the latter part of the set to give ASU a 25-23 win and cut UM’s lead to 2-1.

Still working on staving off a loss, ASU came back out in the fourth set to throw some D on the Grizzlies as UM hit -0.68 in the set with 12 attack errors that the Sun Devils pounced on to roll to a 25-16 win and knot it up and push it to five. The Grizzlies came to play in the fifth to give the fans their money’s worth as they stormed to a 4-0 lead before ASU decided to join the fray putting together a rally to knot it up at six apiece before a Cat Highmark kill gave ASU the lead they’d never give back as they rattled off a 15-10 win to seal the comeback and match.

Included in the All-Tournament Team for the weekend were Sarah Reaves and Paige Mittelstaedt, the honor being Mittlestaedt’s third consecutive All-Tourney selection in as many weeks.

Head Coach Jason Watson on the match stated, “We continue to learn about the importance of playing well over time. These are difficult lessons to learn especially on the road, and while we’re looking to the future we will also look to continue to get better and these matches are valuable opportunities to do just that.”

Up next the Sun Devils will keep their travel bags packed as they set to head to New Hampshire next weekend to compete in the New Hampshire Classic facing Harvard, Wyoming and New Hampshire in Durham, NH next Friday and Saturday.