(Photo: Liesl Babicka/WCSN)
Coming off a big win on the road against the Oregon State Beavers on Friday night, the Arizona State Sun Devils stay in Oregon to take on the Oregon Ducks on Sunday afternoon.
The Sun Devils will be looking for redemption on Sunday, as the Ducks came away with a five set victory over ASU the first time these two teams met.
“Everyone just wants to come back and retaliate,” junior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro said. “The game was close; we lost in front of all of our fans.”
On paper, the Ducks do not seem to be a favorable matchup for the Sun Devils. Oregon is 14-6 on the season, 7-4 in the Pac-12, and is ranked No. 20 in the AVCA coaches poll. Arizona State is on the other side of the spectrum, with a 9-14 record on the year, and 2-9 in the Pac-12.
The Sun Devils are very outmatched in the offensive side of the ball. Oregon ranks first in the Pac-12 in hitting percentage, second in assists per set, and third in kills per set. In those same categories, ASU ranks last in the conference.
Senior outside hitter Maya McClendon spoke on the hitting woes for the team, something that has plagued them throughout the season.
“We’ve been doing a lot of hitting progressions,” McClendon said. “Our coaches have really emphasized putting the ball in.”
Oregon also holds an advantage over Arizona State on the defensive side, as it ranks second in the Pac-12 in digs per set, compared to ASU ranking 11th.
Senior libero Amanda Benson is a big reason for this defensive advantage for the Ducks. The Arizona native has 352 digs on the year, and leads the Pac-12 in digs per set.
Despite being outmatched on both sides of the ball, the Sun Devils should not be counted out of the game for two reasons: their experience on the road, and how they fared against the Ducks in the first meeting.
ASU has played on the road for the majority of their season. In fact, of its 23 games, only four have been at home. The Sun Devils have put up a respectable 9-10 record in games on the road or at neutral sites.
ASU also put a scare into Oregon the first time around. The Sun Devils held a two sets to one lead over the Ducks before losing the next two sets and falling in five.
The game will start at 11 A.M. PT and can be streamed live on the Pac-12 Networks.
If you have any questions, you can contact John Engelbert via Twitter @john_engz, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.