Cassidy Pickrell slammed down 17 kills and the No. 20-ranked Arizona State volleyball team ended a three-game losing streak after a four-set win over Washington State Sunday at Wells Fargo Arena. It was the seventh-consecutive loss for the Cougars (14-12, 3-11 Pacific-12), who defeated ASU (18-7, 7-7) in straight sets Oct. 11 at home.
“It keeps us alive,” ASU coach Jason Watson said of the victory in terms of the conference standings. “I feel it gives us some confidence moving forward. This team, I don’t know why I doubt them, but it keeps us really resilient. We talked yesterday in practice about two things, keeping your head where your body is and understanding when we’re out on the court and people have honest dialogues about us, those aren’t attacks on us. It’s a way to be better.”
ASU trailed for most of the opening set, with Pickrell bringing it within 11-10 and consecutive kills from Whitney Follette within 13-12. The Sun Devils would finally tie it at 22-22, and Follette sent them into the lead at 24-23. After a Cougar point, freshman Lexi McLean recorded the final two for the 26-24 win. The Sun Devils, with two early aces from Follette and Bianca Arellano, never had any trouble in the second, going up by as many as six during the 25-21 win.
ASU built a healthy five-point lead that it maintained throughout the early half of the third game and looked well on its way to a sweep up 17-11. Casey Schoenlein brought WSU within 17-15, the Cougars tied it at 17-17,and Ella Lajos handed it a 19-18 lead. Soon WSU was ahead 24-20. The Sun Devils saved three game points, but it was too late, and the Cougars gabbed Set Three, 25-23. ASU found itself in another hole early in the fourth, but dug its way out .After Follette made it 24-22, Kyra Holt saved one match point, and McLean knocked down the ultimate kill at 25-23.
BreElle Bailey and McLean tied with 13 kills, Mercedes Binns had 12, and Arellano had 28 assists for ASU. Holt finished with 19 kills for WSU, McKenna Woodford 11, and Haley McDonald collected 51 assists. Woodford is from Chandler’s Hamilton High School and was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week earlier in the season.
“We all had to come out and get the job done and everyone worked together,” McLean said. “I’m a lot more comfortable, with me it’s more confidence. Today, I was in a play every time.”
The Sun Devils will be at Colorado Thursday and Utah Saturday of this week and return home at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 versus UCLA. The Cougars are back in Pullman to face California Friday and Stanford Nov. 15.
“It (the win) was very important because of where we stand right now,” Binns said. “We do everything in practice the same in games.”