(Photo: Marie Bernadette Obsuna/WCSN)
The Arizona State Sun Devils faced the No. 9 UCLA Bruins on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils lost another match at home, again in straight sets 21-25, 22-25, 19-25.
The Bruins used three service aces in the early going to open up an 8-3 lead on the Sun Devils in the first set, and Sun Devil head coach Stevie Mussie called her first timeout.
ASU looked very efficient coming out of the timeout, going on a run capped off by two kills by junior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro, and the Sun Devils took a 15-13 lead.
“My message always is ‘you’re doing it to yourself,’” Mussie said. “When we are clean, it gives ourselves a good chance to win.”
The two teams were eventually tied at 19 before UCLA won six of the remaining eight points to win the set 25-21.
Both teams were efficient hitting the ball in the opening set, with the Bruins hitting .267 and the Sun Devils hitting .219.
“The passes were good,” Koonts said. “With those good passes it helped us offensively hit balls in and have good shots.”
The two teams went back and forth to start the second set and were tied at 16.
A kill from senior outside hitter Jordan Anderson and a block from freshman right side hitter Torrey Van Winden led the Bruins on a 4-0 run to give them a 20-16 lead.
The two teams ultimately traded points from there, and the Bruins came away with a 25-22 second set win.
UCLA was led by its junior outside hitter Reily Buechler with nine kills and a .412 hitting percentage.
Okaro led the Sun Devils with six kills and three service aces through the second set, and sophomore middle blocker Jasmine Koonts tacked on four kills.
UCLA jumped out to an early lead in the third set, with five kills from four different players giving the Bruins an 8-3 lead.
The Sun Devils slowly crawled their way back into the set, and an Okaro ace brought them to within one, trailing 14-13.
The Bruins took back the momentum from the Sun Devils with a 4-1 run, and finished off the set 25-19, and took the match three sets to none.
Tonight’s loss in straight sets at home marks the fifth straight game where the Sun Devils have been swept at home.
Buechler and Anderson combined for 23 kills for the Bruins. Okaro led the Sun Devils with nine kills, and Koonts added eight kills with a .533 hitting percentage.
“Watching film helped a lot,” Koonts said about her efficient game. “Also live I could see where they were blocking me, so I would just do a different shot each time and try to keep the ball in.”
With the loss, ASU falls to 9-17 on the season, and 2-12 in conference play. The next game for the Sun Devils comes on November 11th when they travel up north to take on the Washington State Cougars.