The No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils upset the No. 9 USC Trojans in four sets (23-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-20) in Los Angeles, Calif. on Friday. The victory hands ASU their first Pac-12 win of the year and further cements the team as a force to be reckoned within the conference.
Junior outside hitter Macey Gardner, fresh off her historic 30-kill night on Wednesday, took a while to get started, failing to post her first kill until towards the end of the first set. However, unior middle blocker Andi Lowrance picked up the slack, tallying four kills in the set. Lowrance started the game at the second middle blocker spot, filling in for injured veteran Whitney Follette,
ASU was on the brink of a first set win, on top of the Trojans 23-21 before USC called a timeout and got its act together, closing the set with four straight points and a victory, capped by a service ace from junior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms.
The second set was tight from start to finish, but the defense and the length of the Sun Devils was the difference maker, as they ended up with five blocks in the set and 14 on the entire match.
BreElle Bailey stepped up when it mattered most, posting back-to-back kills followed by a block to put ASU up 21-17 and help them to a second set win to tie the match at one. Bailey ended with 12 kills and an impressive .423 hitting percentage.
The third set is when ASU really started to pick up steam, taking a dominant 18-10 lead on the play of Gardner and junior middle blocker Mercedes Binns, who accounted for 11 kills up to this point in the match.
USC tried to mount a comeback with the help of a one-woman show in junior outside hitter Samantha Bricio, who ended with 22 kills. The Trojans got within four points but it proved to be insurmountable.
The momentum also transferred into the fourth set, where Gardner took over, finishing the entire match with 27 kills to help ASU to a fourth set victory and an upset over the Women of Troy. Gardner ended the weekend with an unbelievable 57 kills, making her career total 1,292 and fourth in Arizona State’s illustrious history.
Before this match, ASU hadn’t beaten USC on the road since 1995.
After dropping a marathon match in Tucson, Ariz. on Wednesday, the Sun Devils are very satisfied with this top-10 victory as they hope the momentum from this match can carry over to Colorado, where they take on the Buffaloes Oct. 3rd at 5 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.