(Photo: Ava Montoya/WCSN)
The No. 17 Arizona State volleyball team fell victim to an upset at the hands of the unranked Utah Utes in four sets, (11-25, 25-20, 24-26, 23-25) on Sunday, ending their road trip with a 2-2 record in the Pac-12 conference. The Utes break a three-game losing streak and snag their first win over a Pac-12 team in the conference season. ASU falls to 12-4 on the year.
Utah’s attempt at closing out the match in the fourth set proved to be successful as the stellar play of freshman outside hitter Adora Anae doomed the Sun Devils, ending the game with 17 thunderous kills and an impressive .424 hitting percentage. As a team, ASU only tallied eight blocks while the Utes notched 14, which served as the x-factor as ASU struggled to get the ball over the net defensively.
Both squads were in a heated back-and-forth battle in the match’s pivotal third set. The Utes were the team that pulled away at the very end to steal the set from the Sun Devils, 26-24. Even though ASU was out-hit .346 to .235 and out-blocked 9-4 to this point in the match, they seemed to find themselves in the thick of things. It was not enough however, as the duo of young Anae and senior outside hitter Chelsey Schofield were the difference maker, each accounting for 12 kills.
In the first set, the Sun Devils fell into a slump early, never fully establishing a rhythm on their way to a hitting percentage of .000 and a 25-11 loss. Junior outside hitter Macey Gardner tried to keep her team competitive in the set with four kills but it was in vain as the Utes defense dominated. Utah ended the set with five blocks while ASU tallied none. Utah Red-shirt freshman outside hitter Carly Trueman was the star of the set, making the most of her opportunities with a more than .600 hitting percentage and four kills.
The second set was a different story as ASU seemed to finally find their stride and got off to a quick advantage. Sophomore outside hitter BreElle Bailey stepped her game up after an inconsistant first set, ending it with a total of 8 kills and a .429 hitting percentage. The offense was not the only improvement made by the Sun Devils as the defense made two important blocks to keep their lead and obtain a victory in the set, 25-20.
The loss draws the all-time series even at 10-10, with the Sun Devils having dropped the past three against the Utes.
ASU will return to Wells Fargo Arena for the next two weeks, and the team will start it off by hosting California and Stanford next weekend.