ASU women's volleyball falls to Oregon State in four sets

Oluoma Okaro led the team with 21 kills in the loss Friday night

The ASU volleyball team (10-11) started off its road trip in Oregon with a competitive bout against Oregon State (15-7). The Sun Devils, who had slow starts in previous matches over the past month, began their night with a back-and-forth opening set, but ultimately fell to the Beavers in four sets.

The Sun Devils started out strong in the first set, going on an early 4-1 run with the help of senior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro and freshman outside hitter Griere Hughes. Oregon State would responded with a 4-0 run with senior outside hitter Mary-Kate Marshall and redshirt freshman outside hitter Haylie Bennett leading the way. 

From there the match remained neck and neck with neither team maintaining a lead of more than two points. Near the end of the set, Okaro set the Sun Devils up with a 25-24 lead before sealing the team's victory moments later thanks to a block by junior opposite hitter Peyton Grahovac and a game winning kill by Hughes. With that kill, the Sun Devils walked away from the first set with a 29-27 victory.

Following the momentum of the first set win, the Sun Devils got off to a rough start in the second set. They gained a quick lead early on, but then the Beavers went on a 5-1 run. ASU pulled within two at the midpoint of the period with Hughes' help, but her efforts could not match up to the offensive power of the Beavers. Oregon State went on an 8-1 run, which proved to be too large of a deficit for the Sun Devils, ultimately leading to their defeat, 25-17.

Heading out of the break, the Sun Devils fought tenaciously in the third set. Sophomore outside hitter Ivana Jeremic put together two kills with Okaro at her side, allowing the team to maintain a moderate lead over the Beavers for the beginning of the period. 

Oregon State then developed a nine point lead, which would prove too much for the Sun Devils, leading to a 25-16 loss.

In the fourth and final set, ASU showed once again it would not go down without a fight. The period played out much like the opening, with multiple lead changes and a lack of runs by either team. 

The Sun Devils kept close with the Beavers towards the middle of the set with the help of Okaro, who pulled the score within three. Following blocks by Okaro and junior middle blocker Carmen Unzue, the Sun Devils were able to tie things up at 22 with back to back kills by senior outside hitter Isabel Miller

Oregon State took the lead with a kill by Cheshire followed by another kill from Marshall, which pulled the chance of a victory away from the Sun Devils – losing 25-23.

Assistant coach Carlos Moreno spoke after the game.

"We played well at times tonight, but ultimately fell as a result of inconsistency," Moreno said. "I loved the energy we played with out of the gate, but we need to learn to maintain that energy and composure throughout a given match."

The Sun Devils hope to turn things around as they travel south to Eugene to take on No. 15 Oregon for a 7 p.m match on Saturday.

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