(Photo: Jacob Franklin/WCSN)
The Arizona State Sun Devils return home to host No. 18 Washington State on Wednesday, Oct. 19.
The Sun Devils lost another conference game after being swept by No. 12 Stanford on Friday. They are now 1-4 against ranked opponents this season.
The team is ranks last in the Pac-12 in hitting percentage swinging .187 while allowing opponents to hit for an average of .240 – second to last in the conference.
Inconsistencies continue to haunt ASU. In the majority of its losses, it has either started strong and ran out of gas or ignited too late.
When the Sun Devils do show consistency, they win matches. Last week, they went on the road and defeated the California Golden Bears in four sets. Three Sun Devils posted double-digit kills in the win.
Junior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro has been the spark of hope for Arizona State. The recent transfer is exceeding where the rest of the team struggles: the service line. She leads the Pac-12 with 30 aces which is good for 37th in the NCAA.
She has also recorded 92 total blocks, 40 more than the next Sun Devil. In their most recent match, she led the team with nine kills, a pair of aces, and hit .533.
The Sun Devils may be able to take advantage of WSU who recently suffered a third consecutive loss.
The Cougars are coming off a five-set loss on the road to previously No. 21 Utah. The Cougars defense at the net kept them in the match.
Senior outside hitter Kyra Holt recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 21 kills and 13 digs. She also tacked on three blocks and aces on a night her team was outplayed in nearly every category.
The Cougars’ lack of offensive versatility continues its prominence. Holt has been the only player to surpass 200 kills. Recently, poor passing has prevented the Cougars from getting their 16th win.
Those are clear areas for improvement, but a short week and travel mixed with the potential of Sun Devil consistency could be enough to create a competitive matchup.
Washington State is, however, a ranked team for a reason – the biggest being its blocking. Despite having a smaller team, they are second in the nation with 3.35 blocks per set and 251.5 total blocks.
They are also a threat from the backline. They lead the Pac-12 averaging 1.58 aces per set which ranks 30th in the country. This has allowed them to string together runs and grab big leads.
Additionally, with two dependable setters in junior Nicole Rigoni and senior Haley MacDonald, the Cougars run the 6-2 and keep fresh arms swinging consistently.
The match starts at 7 p.m. PT at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe and can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.
If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Delilah Cassidy via Twitter @delilahcassidy or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.