(Photo: Liesl Babicka/WCSN)
After losing in straight sets to the Washington State Cougars on Wednesday, Oct. 19, the Arizona State Sun Devils fell to 8-13 on the season, and 1-8 in conference play.
It won’t get any easier for the Sun Devils, as they will host the No. 7 Washington Huskies just two days after that most recent loss.
The Huskies boast a record of 16-2, 6-2 in conference play, and are first in the Pac-12.
The Sun Devils are on the other end of the spectrum, struggling to get wins. Junior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro pins that on the inconsistency of the team.
“One thing we struggle with on this team is consistency,” Okaro said. “Sometimes we compete hard with a really good team, then come back and lose to a team that we should at least put up a good fight against.”
The Sun Devils will need to come back strong tonight with a team like the Huskies coming to town. Washington ranks second in the Pac-12 in kills per set, and also pose a threat as a blocking team, ranking third in the conference in blocks per set.
Sophomore setter Kylie Pickrell talked about some other facets of the game the Sun Devils need to do well in order to beat the Huskies.
“I would definitely say being better on defense, and keeping the serves tough,” Pickrell said. “Those are really big things for us right now.”
Defense has not been a strong point for the Sun Devils this year, as they rank 11th in the Pac-12 in digs per set. Serving has also been a struggle this year, including in their lost to Washington State, where they had 13 service errors.
“It’s 100% mental,” Sun Devil head coach Stevie Mussie said about the serving. “Going back there, having a zone, and not being confident in your abilities.”
In addition to these possible problems each game for the Sun Devils, the Huskies pose two more major problems for ASU in the form of junior outside hitters Courtney Schwan and Crissy Jones.
Schwan leads the team with 247 kills, and Jones is right behind with 218. Schwan and Jones rank fourth and ninth in the Pac-12 in kills per set, respectively.
Despite the tough competition, Mussie asks the team to be confident.
“The biggest thing is we just ask them to be all in,” Mussie said. “Be all in with what we’re asking them to do. If we do the little things, the carry over on the court will start to show that.”
The Sun Devils are still in need of a big win to gain momentum, and they can get that for themselves with an upset tonight over Washington.
The game will start at 8 p.m. PT at Wells Fargo Arena, and will be streamed live on the Pac-12 Networks.
If you have any questions or comments, you can contact John Engelbert via Twitter @john_engz or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.