Stubborn Zags Rally for First-ever Win over Arizona State
Sept. 1, 2017
SPOKANE, Wash.--For the second straight year, the Gonzaga volleyball team took down a Pac-12 opponent as the Zags rallied for a five-set victory (18-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 15-13) against Arizona State Friday night inside the Martin Centre.
"This team thrives on the opportunities to come back and battle," said Gonzaga head coach Diane Nelson. "We stayed consistent and strung points together, and that's what we talked about all week: stringing points together and relying on our defense. That came together bigtime. We got the transition swings and finished plays."
The Bulldogs found their groove in the second set. Down 21-13 in the frame, they embarked on a 12-1 run to level the match at one set apiece. They used another run - a seven-point stretch this time - to take the lead in the fourth before closing it out with four of the final five points.
In the fifth, the Zags continued to battle, winning the set 15-13. Freshman Chapin Gray led the Zags with four kills in the frame, and they hit .391 as a team in the fifth, by far their highest percentage of the match.
Fellow freshman Sarah Penner led all players with 19 kills, and as a team, the Zags landed nine more attacks than the Sun Devils. Junior Faith Smith provided 35 assists for Gonzaga, and sophomore Jenna Kuehn added 19 more.
The win was not only the Zags' first win of 2017, but their first win over Arizona State ever. Also, it was the second victory in many years over a Pac-12 foe; GU downed Utah in five sets as well August 27, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Bulldogs (1-3) continue the Gonzaga Invitational Saturday, Sept. 2. They'll play two matches to close out the home tournament: an 11:00 a.m. contest against Nevada and a 7:00 p.m. one against Portland State.
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