(Photo: Trey Lanthier/WCSN)
The No. 19 Sun Devils lost to No. 10 Oregon in a five set thriller late Saturday night with the final score being (25-21, 30-32, 24-26, 26-24, 13-15) as the Sun Devils went 0-2 for the fist time this season.
The amount of diving saves, one-handed digs, and screaming fans set the tone, as almost every play made it apparent that both team were not there to lose.
The theme of the night’s match was controversial calls, as there were chairs being flipped over and screaming coaches on both teams, as no one in Wells Fargo Arena was happy with the refs’ calls.
Two controversial calls in the final points led to Oregon taking the final two points and the match with a 15-13 win in the fifth set.
Oregon had early lead in the fifth set and had a 8-5 lead at the switch. But the blocks were flowing for the Sun Devils as they tied things up 12-12. Although Harker ended her night with 34 digs, which broke the record, ASU lost 15-13.
Similar to the third set the Sun Devils had to make a comeback and took the lead 20-19. But, they could not do much after that as Oregon marched right back to with a 24-22 lead. The Sun Devils eventually tied it up at 24 and Bailey sealed the deal as she had a solo block and a kill to end the set 26-24 and to force a fifth set.
Throughout the match Oregon stayed consistent with their tough serves, forcing ASU to set the outside hitter other than their middles. Gardner and Willey were set 135 times while the middles were only set 50 times. Oregon setter Maggie Scott did a good spreading the ball around which helped her hitters as their hitting average was .247.
The long rallies started early, as there were 90 attack attempts and 48 digs in the first set alone. Having already broken the record for most digs in a game as a freshman libero Halle Harker was on pace to break it again as she had 11 digs in the first set. Late in the first set the Sun Devils started to break away and did not look back, as they held on to a five point lead and eventually took the set 25-21.
During the second set junior opposite hitter BreElle Bailey started to play how she did in the beginning of the season, as she ended long rallies and put the ball away when Oregon went on a run. But the Ducks would not leave the Sun Devils, alone as they eventually took an 18-17 lead off of a touch call that ASU head coach Jason Watson and the rest of the Sun Devils were not happy about. The very next play junior outside hitter McKenzie Willey had a solo block and took the momentum right back. The rest of the game was a war and evidently went into extra points. Both teams had plenty of opportunities to win the set, but the game was ended on an under call on junior outside hitter Macey Gardner that gave the Ducks a 32-20 win.
Oregon held the lead for most of the third set, but ASU started to make their comeback late in the game and tied it up at 20-20. A few costly errors and questionable calls later, Oregon took the third set 26-24.
The Sun Devils are now 7-9 in conference play and will have some must win matches next week when they play No. 3 Washington and Washington State away.