As Arizona State coach Sanja Tomasevic put it, it’s hard to beat a good team twice. The Sun Devils played well Sunday, but No. 16 Utah (18-7, 11-5 Pac-12) found revenge for a loss earlier in the season to Arizona State (14-13, 7-9) in its 3-1 (26-24, 15-25, 25-20, 25-18) win in Tempe.
Not many stats separated the two teams. Utah had six more kills, but more errors. The Sun Devils hit at a higher percentage. Blocks and aces were nearly even. At the end of the day, Utah’s All-American Dani Drews played like the best player on the court.
“Tough loss to a good team. I think their go-to players did a good job taking care of the game. Dani Drews keeps proving that she is one of the best players in the conference and the country,” Tomasevic said. “Even though we knew that they were going to go to her tonight we couldn’t stop her, especially out of the back row.”
The toughest pill to swallow for the Sun Devils was the first set. At different points, Arizona State controlled the opening frame. However, despite 7-2 lead and being at set point, a service error service and a pair of Drews kills let Utah take the point.
Arizona State evened the match in dominate fashion but failed to carry the momentum into the later sets. The third and fourth sets were close until the end. Utah used runs of 7-3 and 6-1 to close out its win.
The Sun Devils have four more games this season all on the road. They certainly have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament but probably need to finish at least 3-1 in their games against UCLA, USC, Oregon State and Arizona to put themselves right in the mix.