(Photo: Jacob Franklin/WCSN)
Arizona State volleyball looks to bounce back on the second day of the LBSU Baden Invitational against Harvard and Long Beach State.
On Friday, the Sun Devils were swept by Pepperdine in three sets 22-25, 17-25, 20-25.
The Sun Devils were working against themselves, committing 24 errors through three sets – eight more than they committed at their best against Abilene Christian in August.
The Harvard team the Sun Devils face comes into this match struggling, as Duke and Loyola Marymount swept the Crimson on Friday.
Harvard could not to keep pace with the Blue Devils offensive surge and were never able to eclipse 20 points in the three sets.
The Crimson battled in the first set against Loyola Marymount, but after losing the first, they were unable to recover.
The Sun Devils should be able to take advantage of a Harvard’s evenly matched roster height. The Crimson, however, do have three players over 6’3” so it will be a matchup to watch.
The second of the two matches is against Long Beach State, which has gone 2-0 thus far in the tournament.
The 49ers put on its best performance thus far on Thursday by sweeping Loyola Marymount. On Friday, they fell back 2-1 and rallied to defeat Duke in a fifth set.
Unlike Harvard, the Long Beach State players have a presence. Their roster stacks tall against the Sun Devils.
The Sun Devils will have to look for different ways to get around the 49ers height advantage.
“We play fast. We’re working to play faster and get the ball to the pin very, very quickly,” Arizona State head coach Stevie Mussie said. “(We) get our middles in the air so that we’re able to beat some big people off the floor.”
The 49ers have proven to be a consistent offensive threat. In their last three set match, they had two players with double-digit kills while the Sun Devils had zero.
LBSU is led by senior outside hitter Nele Barber who has totaled 90 kills to this point of the season.
For Arizona State to find success against this team, they must be confident enough to lean on their role players. Halle Harker who had a team high of 10 digs and Oluoma Okaro who led the team with five total blocks need to carry the defense.
The Sun Devils will likely turn to Sophomore Kylie Pickrell to lead the offense. She outperformed Caroline Pearson, whom she had recently been splitting time with.
Pickrell finished Friday’s match with 14 assists.
Though the road seems to be getting tougher for ASU, the confidence in the team is still there.
“I’m as confident in them as I have ever been,” she said. “They compete at a high level. They work hard, so that helps my confidence at all times”
The match against the Crimson is scheduled for 12:00pm and the Sun Devils take on the 49ers at 6:00pm.