Arizona State battled USC all the way to five sets Wednesday night, ultimately coming up short (25-19, 28-30, 20-25, 25-19, 15-5) at Desert Financial Arena on Wednesday.
Arizona State (16-14, 8-11 Pac-12) could not find its offensive rhythm against USC (17-12, 11-8 Pac-12), as ASU’s .127 hitting percentage led to a loss in the only match of the year against the Trojans.
“We need to work through our weaknesses and do a better job of getting mentally tough,” said head coach Sanja Tomasevic on her team’s effort. “You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to make it better.”
The Sun Devil offense seemed to be one-dimensional, as 48 of the Devils’ 54 kills came from the outside.
All three setters found the floor, with senior Callie Jones leading the unit with 20 assists. Noa Miller and Nicole Peterson finished with 15 and 9, respectively. Miller had 11 digs as well.
In her final home game, four-year senior outside hitter Ivana Jeremic led ASU in kills with 16 on a .289 clip. Her defensive effort has been showing up on the stat sheet recently, as she has had 10 or more digs in the last five matches.
Against the Trojans, she had a team-high four blocks. Pin hitters Andrea Mitrovic and Jada Burse also reached double-figures in kills with 15 and 11, respectively.
Courtney Leffel made Sun Devil history again in her senior season. The senior broke into the top-10 for digs in a single season at ASU after earning 20 tonight. The match brought her season number to 544, passing Kelly Plaisted’s 538 total she earned in 1990.
With one game left, she is six digs away from ninth place. Leffel has had double-digit digs in nine straight matches. This was her 14th match with 20 or more digs.
The final match of the regular season will be against in-state rival Arizona (15-16, 5-14 Pac-12) on Saturday in Tucson. The contest will be live on the Pac-12 Network at noon MST. Earlier this season, the Sun Devils swept the Wildcats in Tempe.
“Obviously I would be more than happy to play in the NCAA Tournament, and I hope they choose us because I think we are ready for it,” said Tomasevic. “But right now, we need to focus on Arizona and win that match.”