Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 23 Wildcats Win Thriller In Tempe
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: October 29, 2010
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Oct. 29, 2010

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TEMPE, Ariz. – Perhaps you’ve heard of the San Francisco Giants’ ‘Torture Baseball’ during its World Series run this Fall. Well with another five-set match, this time coming against Arizona State, the No. 23 UA Volleyball team might just start referring to their brand as ‘Torture Volleyball.’

Friday evening happened to be the good type of torture though as the Cats, always up for the dramatic, took a five-set win over the rival Sun Devils in Tempe 3-2. Set scores were 25-22, 15-25, 25-13, 17-25 and 15-10. The five-set match was Arizona's ninth this year, posting a record of 4-5.

With the win, UA takes the State Farm Territorial Cup point win for volleyball and now the standings are tied at 1-1 with cross country and football on the horizon. 

Tiffany Owens once again filled up the stat sheet ripping off her eighth straight double-double with 23 kills and 23 digs.  Owens is the Pac-10 leader in double-doubles, now with 13.  The duo of Courtney Karst and Cursty Jackson also turned in solid performances with Karst going for 18 kills while Jackson had six key blocks.

In the first set, UA jumped out to an early 5-3 lead behind a few attack errors from the Sun Devils.  Play would stay even however with each team unable to open a significant lead.  Tied at 17, the Sun Devils benefited from two calls that looked to be in UA’s favor to take a two-point lead.  The Cats proved its mettle though, going on an 8-3 run to win the set, 25-22. 

ASU stormed out to an early 6-2 lead in the second game with the Devils countering Arizona’s tip attacks that produced many first set points.  Trailing 10-5, the Cats looked to have a big rally in the works, rattling off three quick points, but it was quickly thwarted as ASU regained its five-point advantage. It was all ASU the rest of the way out, as Sparky took the set 25-15 to head into intermission tied at 1.

Coming out of the locker room, the Wildcats would respond nicely, opening up a 12-5 lead after
ASU erred on back-to-back attacks. The Sun Devils would make inroads on UA’s lead, eventually cutting it to 18-13.  Arizona wouldn’t give in to the pressure though as Jackson came up with a few big plays, sparking her team to a 7-0 run to close the set at 25-13 and put the Wildcats up 2-1.

In the fourth set with the score tied at 12, the Devils used a 13-5 rally to win the set and force a fifth set overtime.  The game looked to go either way at the mid-way point, but the audible level from the home ASU crowd intensified as the rally went on helping the home team.

In the overtime session, it was all Owens as she put her teammates on her back for a 15-10 set win.  Over the set, TO had several clutch digs and points as UA was able to overcome its fifth-set woes this season and get the win.

Arizona returns home next weekend to host Oregon and Oregon State.  The Ducks are up first Friday evening at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.

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