Most of Arizona State volleyball’s (7-5, 0-1 Pac-12) losses this season have followed a similar script. The Sun Devils dropped their Pac-12 opener against Arizona (9-3, 1-0) 3-2 (23-25, 25-16, 25-17, 21-25, 15-9) Thursday.
Four of the Sun Devils’ five losses this season have come in the fifth set. Strangely enough, all four of those losses have seen Arizona State fight to stay alive by winning the fourth set. The Sun Devils seem to be close to pulling out these games, but come up a bit short.
“I hope we can learn from this,” Arizona State coach Sanja Tomasevic said. “If I were them, I would be sick and tired of losing in five. At some point, nobody can want it more than you do. Nobody can work harder than you do.”
Arizona State’s attack had its struggles against Arizona’s defense. The Wildcats out-blocked the Sun Devils 28-10. In terms of hitting percentage, Arizona State’s numbers weren’t pretty in any set aside from the fourth. The Sun Devils as a team finished with .110 hitting percentage compared to Arizona’s .237.
Iman Isanovic and Marta Levinska each struggled. The lead outside hitters for Arizona State only combined for 20 kills and neither had a hitting percentage over .109.
“We played tough and we never gave up at any point, but our offense couldn’t get it going today,” Tomasevic said. “And even though our serve receive wasn’t in bad shape, we just couldn’t hit well. So, it’s a tough night when we have our two best players hit low numbers. We need more from them to win games.”
Freshman Geli Cyr gave Arizona State the spark it needed in the fourth set. Leading into the game, Cyr had three kills all season before she delivered four all in the fourth set.
The Sun Devils clearly didn’t have their best game, but still put themselves in a position to win. However, things will need to be cleaner when they host No. 13 Oregon on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. local time.