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Volleyball takes down Wildcats in season finale

November 28, 2011

The Arizona State University volleyball team closed out the 2011 season with a victory in four sets (20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23) over their rivals from the University of Arizona on Saturday night, claiming half a point in the State Farm Territorial Cup on Senior Night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Ashley Kastl notched 18 kills and Nora Tuioti-Mariner added 12 more as the Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats for the first time since Nov. 2, 2008.   Malia Bachynski added 10 kills over her own in her last appearance in the Maroon and Gold at Wells Fargo Arena, including the game-deciding point in the fourth set.

The first set was largely back-and-forth through the first part of the set as an attack error on Arizona's Madison Kingdon knotted the score at 18 all.  The Wildcats closed on a 7-2 run, however, to put the Sun Devils away and take an early 1-0 lead in the match. ASU managed just eight kills to Arizona's 18 in the set while adding six errors for a .047 hitting percentage.

The Sun Devils found their stroke in the second set, however, and took advantage of 11 Arizona errors to win the set 25-20 and not the match at one game apiece.   The Sun Devils had just four errors in the set while Kastl and Tuioti-Mariner added four kills. 

Arizona State jumped out to a big 17-9 lead in the third set and withstood a fierce Wildcat rally to take the set 25-22.  Kastl asserted herself in the set, scoring eight kills on just 14 attacks as the Sun Devils hit .244 from the court in taking the 2-1 set lead. 

Neither team hit particularly well in the decisive fourth set, but the heart of the Sun Devils definitely showed as they utilized several streaks throughout the set to keep clawing back when it look like Arizona might start pulling away.   Trailing 21-17, the Sun Devils closed on an 8-2 run and 4-0 run after Arizona made the score 23-21 to win the set and the match. 

Bachynski had the decisive kill on match point to take the set 25-23 and score her final point as a Sun Devil and beat their rivals for the first time in nearly three years.

Arizona seniors Cursty Jackson (16 kills, four blocks) and Courtney Karst (15 kills) led the way for the Wildcats as they hit just .143 from the floor and had 30 errors.  Arizona State dominated the Wildcats at the net, posting 25 blocks to Arizona's 17.

Saturday's match concluded the season for Arizona State, as they finished the year 9-22 overall and 5-17 in conference play.  The half point in the State Farm Territorial Cup series score to 3.5 for Arizona and 1.5 for Arizona State. Stay tuned for all ASU volleyball news at