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ASU volleyball rallies to beat Arizona in 5 sets, split season series

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Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

Arizona volleyball couldn’t complete the season sweep of ASU on Sunday, as the Sun Devils rallied from two sets down to capture a 3-2 win (26-28, 12-25, 25-16, 25-22, 15-10) on Sunday in Tempe.

It was payback after the Wildcats swept ASU in straight sets in Tucson on Friday.

Unlike that match, Sunday’s featured the competitive fire that you’d expect in a rivalry game. The Sun Devils staved off three set points in the opening set before Arizona freshman Sofia Maldonado Diaz delivered the dagger.

Arizona cruised through the second set but struggled to get stops in the third, allowing ASU to hit .375. The Sun Devils carried that momentum into the fourth set, but a 5-1 run by the Wildcats brought them within 22-20. They wouldn’t get any closer.

Marred by service errors, the Wildcats played uphill in the fifth set, never holding a lead.

Arizona hit .429 and .500 in the first two sets but completely fell apart in the final three, hitting .259, .070 and .125. They finished with a .259 hitting percentage on the day, not nearly as good as they hit Friday (.369).

The Sun Devils (2-10) leaned on the Eastern European duo of Marta Levinska and Iman Isanovic, who combined for 31 kills on 80 swings.

Maldonado Diaz got off to a hot start and finished with a team-high 15 kills but on .176 hitting. Senior Paige Whipple had one of her best matches, tallying 19 digs and a season-high 14 kills on .243 hitting.

Arizona once again got notable scoring production from its middle blockers, as Merle Weidt and Zyonna Fellows combined for 16 kills on .343 hitting.

The Wildcats (5-9) will look to get back in the win column next weekend when they host two matches against Colorado (5-7).