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Volleyball falters in 3-1 loss to San Jose State

August 29, 2011

Despite a tournament-MVP performance from Erica Wilson, the Arizona State women’s volleyball team lost their final match of the Sheraton Classic, falling to the San Jose State Spartans 3-1, Aug. 27. 

SJSU tallied the win with set scores of 25-22, 25-22, 16-25 and 25-23. 

A-State moves to 2-1 on the year with the loss but picked up a pair of nods on the All-Tournament team with Erica Wilson garnering most valuable player and Ashley Kastl making the six-person team.

Wilson threw down 31 kills over the weekend with a .328 attack percentage – the junior sensation also put up four aces. Kastl registered a team-best 38 kills, including a season-high 16 against Milwaukee. 

The Spartans (1-2) started strong in the first set and rarely relinquished the lead, with impressive kills and blocks. The Sun Devils struggled with minor errors, but kept the Spartan lead to four points at most before the first timeout. 

The Devils fought back after the Spartans increased their lead to five, despite many Spartan kills that hit deep in the backcourt. Quick reactions to well-placed attacks helped the Devils tie the SJSU at 20-20 by the second timeout, but the Devils could not make a complete comeback and the Spartans took the first set 25-22.

In the second frame, the Sun Devils came out strong with an impressive kill from Wilson. Then an intense rally ending in a remarkable solo block by Krista Miller led to some Spartan momentum. An unassisted kill from Kylie Miraldi put the SJSU up 8-5 before the first ASU timeout.

The Devils could not catch up to the Spartans through the rest of the second set, and Arizona State was down by as many as six points. With six kills from Savanah Leaf, San Jose State held an attack percentage of .273 that led to their victory in the second set, with the same score of 25-22.

Responding loudly in the third set, the Sun Devils started with two lights-out plays. The first saw Nora Tuioti-Mariner dig the ball with her foot, although it ended in a point for the Spartans. In the second play, Danica Mendivil pancaked for the ball, but shortly after the referee reversed the call, resulting in another point for the Spartans, to which Mendivil responded with a resounding kill. 

ASU extended their lead to as many as eight points through the rest of the third set, despite back-to-back kills from Taylor Japhet. On the set point, the Devils nearly lost control, but Sarah McGaffin had a remarkable dig to get the ball over, resulting in the maroon and gold taking the third set 25-16. 

The fourth frame remained close even to the last point as neither team took complete control of the momentum and the largest leading margin being only four points by the Spartans. The Devils fought back furiously, matching the Spartans nearly point-for-point through the set. 

At the very end, a tough rally saw extraordinary digs from McGaffin and Preach to keep the match alive. The play resulted in a resonant kill from Leaf to give the Spartans the set, 25-23, and the match 3-1. 

Mendivil saw 13 kills total on the night coupled with Kastl racking up 10 and a percentage. Wilson etched 8 for the best percentage amongst the hitters with .182.

Arizona State (2-1) hits the road next week to compete in the Iowa State Challenge on Friday, Sept. 2. The first Sun Devil serve will be against Iowa at 11 a.m. CT (9 a.m. local time). 

Sheraton Classic All-Tournament Team

MVP: Erica Wilson, ASU

Ashley Kastl, ASU

Kayla Price, Milwaukee

Kerri Schuh, Milwaukee

Taylor Japhet, San Jose State

Faimie Kingsley, Denver