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ASU Volleyball: Sun Devils drop eighth straight match

(Photo: Jacob Franklin/WCSN)

The Arizona State volleyball team tallied its eighth loss in a row tonight. The Sun Devils were swept by No. 18 UCLA in Pasadena 23-25, 12-25, 22-25.

The team did what they needed to do in the first set and started out hot – something they struggled with in previous Pac-12 matchups.

ASU won the hitting battle outhitting the Bruins .158 to .143. However, Arizona State attacked itself, committing 12 errors, essentially scoring half of the Bruins’ points for them.

Senior outside hitter Jordan Anderson led her team to their first set victory with seven total kills. She had a great swings avoiding the two person Arizona State block, drilled the ball down the line, and worked well in transition.

The tightly contested set victory came from on back-to-back points by the Bruins.

The downhill swing for the Sun Devils started while the Bruins came out swinging.

They jumped out to a 5-1 lead and quickly extended it to 12-3 thanks to junior outside hitter Reily Buechler. She was shut down in the first set, but was the star of the second. She recorded seven kills and hit .538 throughout the set.

As the deficit grew, so did the sense of urgency for the Sun Devils – resulting in reckless and desperate play. Senior outside hitter Cassidy Pickrell forced the ball into holes that weren’t there. As a team, they committed 11 unforced attack errors in the second set alone.

ASU could not slow down the game and hit -.138 in the second set. Another service error fittingly put the set at match point and a block put the Bruins up 2-0 in the match.

Sophomore outside hitter Lexi MacLean who had a great game against the Trojans failed to step up and had one more kill than she had errors two sets in.

Buechler’s played fantastic through the final set to get the sweep for her team. She recorded 12 kills, four digs, three total blocks and hit nearly .600.

The Sun Devils did fight back in the third after falling to a hole 12-17. They came back to cut the lead to two points twice late in the match at 18-20, and 20-22.

All the credit for the victory can’t go to the UCLA offense. The Bruin defense kept their team’s lead and negated any momentum the Sun Devils attempted to muster.

Although, on paper, it was kills that were the final points for the Bruins, senior middle blocker Claire Felix put up the blocks that set up the kills. She stopped C. Pickrell and junior middle blocker Oluma Okaro when it mattered most – at the end.

Both players kill attempts were blocked in the final three points in UCLA’s favor.

The Bruins won the final set 25-22 and the match 3-0.

The blockers of Arizona State came out a little too aggressive which resulted in net errors. The errors piled on throughout the match and weighed down any great plays by the team. 25 total attack errors, eight total service errors, and three blocking errors – essentially giving the Bruins half of the match.

The Sun Devils will need to work on cleaning up their game this week in practice as they prepare to take on Cal next Friday.

If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Delilah Cassidy via Twitter @delilahcassidy or via email at delilahcassidy@gmail.com.

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