The fifth-ranked Stanford Cardinal (17-4, 11-2 Pac-12) came into Tempe and beat Arizona State (13-11, 5-8) volleyball in straight sets (25-16, 25-23, 25-10) on Thursday night, bringing the Devils’ losing streak to three.
It was a big night for the Cardinal offense, as they posted a .349 hitting percentage in their 11th victory in Pac-12 play. The win keeps their lead for the Pac-12 at two games, as the second-place Cal Bears won in Tucson as well on Thursday night.
Senior leader and libero Courtney Leffel led the team in digs with 13 despite a disappointing effort as a unit. The Cardinal’s offensive attack seemed to overwhelm the young team.
“It is the mentality, because we have the physical ability,” Leffel said. “ We just have a lot of growing up to do. We need to own up to our mistakes.”
It was a completely different story for the Sun Devils’ offense, as not one player hit above the .200 mark. Their .078 hitting percentage was the Devils’ worst mark of the season. Junior Megan Beedie and senior Ivana Jeremic have contributed in many victories for ASU this season, but tonight neither of them hit for a positive percentage.
The Cardinal set the tone early, jumping out to a quick lead in the first set. Although the Devils had a three-point run, the Cardinal still managed to handle them easy, winning the set 25-16. Jeremic finished the set with 11 total attacks, but only managed to have one kill.
The score would imply that Arizona State played better in the second set. However, a combination of errors from the Cardinal gave the Devils 13 of their 23 points. The third set was a showing of dominance from the Cardinal, as they only allowed 10 points.
Head coach Sanja Tomasevic made the move to give freshman Iman Isanovic the start opposite of Jeremic tonight. The freshman played in all three sets and ended the night with six kills, tied for the team-high.
Senior Callie Jones started the night for the Devils at setter. She finished with a team-high 13 assists. She also finished second on the team with 10 digs. Senior Nicole Peterson had four assists on the night, the second straight night she finished with less than 10 assists after she had four straight with at least 15.
“We have a rotation at setter,” Tomasevic explained. “Whoever does well in practice will see the court. I am not a believer in ‘gamers’.”
The team held a lengthy team meeting after the game. Tomasevic said it was a time for reflection.
“It has been a big challenge for us mentally,” Tomasevic said. “We need to start running away from our mistakes. Improvement is addictive.”
The Devils play the second place Cal Bears at noon on Sunday. The game will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Network.