(Photo:Marie Bernadette Obsuna/WCSN)
The Arizona State women’s volleyball team picked up their first Pac-12 victory Friday night with a four-set win over the California Golden Bears 25-21, 21-25, 28-26, 25-22.
The first set was a constant exchange of points that ended in the Sun Devils’ favor. There were 12 ties and three lead changes in the set.
Although ASU has struggled in the past to eliminate mistakes, they held strong near the end of the set. The Golden Bears committed three straight attack errors to give ASU the 20-18 lead. Blocks by junior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro and freshman outside hitter Ivana Jeremic gave ASU the first set victory.
ASU sent the same starting line-up on the floor for the second set, but the result was different. Freshman setter Nicole Peterson started the set out with a service error that allowed Cal to take a 4-1 lead.
Arizona State slowly climbed out of the hole and eventually came back to tie it up at 7-7. Cal showcased their offensive versatility by extending the lead to four points with kills by three different players.
However, The Sun Devils battled once again. Errors by Cal gave ASU five points. Alongside that sequence were kills by two different players, and two consecutive blocks to nab 17-16 lead – their first of the set.
The Golden Bears won their only set almost entirely on the back of sophomore Ashten Smith-Gooden. The outside-hitter drilled four kills to win the final six points of the set. A blocking error by Okaro gave the Golden Bears the 25-21 win and tied the match 1-1.
The third set started with back-and-forth play by both teams. However, the Golden Bears took control and went on a seven-point run that gave them an early 10-5 lead.
Arizona State countered with a run of their own to bring it within one. An exchange of runs ensued until the teams went point-for-point.
A ball handling error by senior setter Alyssa Jensen put ASU in a match point scenario at 25-24. Consecutive kills by Cal gave them the upper hand and a chance to grab the win.
But, senior outside hitter Cassidy Pickrell kept ASU alive. She recorded two kills and an ace to win the next three points and the set 28-26. The Sun Devils had regained their match lead 2-1.
In the final set, ASU broke the 11-11 tie and won the next six of eight points. An ace by junior libero Halle Harker capped off a strong Sun Devil run and forced Cal to use a timeout.
Cal tried to battle back but, ASU extended their lead to five coming out of the break. However, two quick ASU errors and two Cal kills made it a one-point set.
For majority of the match, the Golden Bears did a great job stopping sophomore outside hitter Lexi MacLean. She converted only three of 19 attack attempts. However, MacLean sealed the victory for Arizona State.
Although sophomore middle blocker Jasmine Koonts’ backline kill was the final point of the match, MacLean’s kill put the Sun Devils at match point and reestablished the momentum needed to fend off the Golden Bears.
The Sun Devils won the set 25-22 and the match 3-1. The hard fought victory ended Arizona State’s eight-game losing streak.
ASU now head to No. 12 Stanford for another conference showdown.
If you have any questions or comments, you can contact Delilah Cassidy via Twitter @delilahcassidy or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.