The No. 9 Arizona beach volleyball team finished its last regular-season game in style on Thursday, April 22, beating its cross-town rivals No. 20 ASU by a match score of 4-1 in Phoenix.
The action began on court four with defender Dana Parker and blocker Mady Noble assuming their usual and dominant mindset. Parker and Noble have not lost a match since April 11 and they were not about to let Sun Devils Lila Bordis and Samantha Plaster spoil that. The duo fought hard and ran the Sun Devils off the court in two sets by scores of 21-17 and 21-12.
Over on court two, split blocker Sarah Blacker and defender Brooke Burling were battling junior Emily Anderson and freshman Kate Fitzgerald. Burling and Blacker were coming off a loss against Hawaii last week so the SandCats were hoping to turn things around. It was a close first set, but the SandCats were able to edge the Sun Devils 21-18. Blacker and Burling were able to create more space in the second set and put Anderson and Fitzgerald away 21-14.
After Burling and Blacker won their set, the SandCats were up 2-0 and only needed one more pair to win and secure the match victory.
It was up to defenders Olivia Hallaran and Hope Shannon to come up with the victory on court five. The SandCats went up against junior Lauren Weintraub and freshman Taryn Ames. Shannon and Hallaran came through and defeated the Sun Devils in two sets by the same score of 21-16.
It was a good thing that Hallaran and Shannon won their set because defender Natalie Anselmo and blocker Carly Lowry ran into trouble on court three as they faced senior Cierra Flood and sophomore Sarah Waters. Lowry and Anselmo won the first set 21-18, but it was all downhill after that as the duo lost the second set 13-21 and were edged in the third set 12-15.
The last match of the day ended on court one with blocker Alex Parkhurst and defender Alana Rennie. They too were pushed into three sets by Sun Devils Lexi Sweeney and Katelyn Carballo. The SandCats fought hard for the first set, winning in extras 25-23. The Sun Devils answered and won the second set 14-21. It came down to the third and final set, with Parkhurst and Rennie coming out on top 15-8.
Key stats from the final regular-season match
- Arizona finished the season on a five-match win streak.
- The SandCats finished the season with 21 victories, their most since the 2018-19 season.
- Arizona swept the season series against ASU 2-0.
- The SandCats won their seventh straight match against ASU. They have not lost to ASU since 2017.
- Arizona went 5-4 against ranked opponents this season.
- Arizona won seven invitationals and swept four of them.
- The SandCats never finished an invitational under .500.
- Eight SandCats wore an Arizona uniform for the final time.
Arizona will head to Los Angeles next week for the Pac-12 championships beginning on April 29 at Mapes Beach.
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