ASU women's volleyball drops eighth-straight match in loss against Utah

Despite two sets into overtime, ASU lost in four sets to Utah

The ASU women's volleyball team came out strong on Sunday afternoon, taking on the No. 13 Utah Utes. Utah came into Sunday's match on a four-game win streak and eventually handed ASU volleyball its eighth-straight loss by a score of 3-1.

The Sun Devils (10-10, 0-8 Pac-12) seemed to be in control of the match after a set-one win. Both teams battled late into the first set, but the Sun Devils won the set, 26-24. 

Head coach Sanja Tomasevic said that ASU always plays well against ranked teams, usually taking a set or two to challenge these opponents.

“I wish we played like this on Friday,” Tomasevic said. “I thought the fire was there today. We fought in the mounts where they were up — we were not giving up and caving in like we normally do.”

However, after a successful first set, ASU failed to capitalize on the momentum in set two.

ASU took a 3-0 lead early in the set, but the lead was short lived as the Utes battled back scoring three consecutive points to tie the game. Eventually ASU lost 25-17 after being on the wrong end of an 8-0 run.

In sets three and four, the Sun Devils stayed neck and neck with the Utes(16-3, 7-1 Pac-12) to force both sets into win by two overtime rules.

In the third set, the Sun Devils had several chances to win, but were unable to capitalize. The Sun Devils clawed their way back to tie up the set at 18-18 and took the lead 20-19 off a block and scored another point before Utah took a timeout.

The Sun Devils had several chances to put the Utes away but could never close the deal as the Utes eventually scored two unanswered points to take the set 31-29 and a 2-1 match lead.

In the fourth and final set, the Sun Devils had a 20-16 lead and seemed destined to tie up the match. However, Utah went on a 8-4 run to tie the game up at 24 and won the set 28-26.

Tomasevic said that passing was the key to the Sun Devil effort in sets three and four, singling out sophomore setter Nicole Peterson.

“In game three and four, our passing got better, and Nicole (Peterson) did a better job of spreading out the offense,” Tomasevic said. “They (Utah) were exactly where we want them to be, and then we don’t know how to capitalize.”

Freshman outside hitter Griere Hughes, who led the team with 18 kills, said that finishing off teams is something that the Sun Devils are still working on — referencing the blown fourth set lead of 20-16 as an example.

“We kind of got mindless, and they ended up taking the set,” Hughes said. “So it’s still something that we need to work on.”

Peterson who picked up 53 assists on the match said the team needs to stay together throughout the set, not just make runs at the end.

“We try to stay together at the start of the set and start out strong and not just finish strong.” Peterson said.

ASU was led by sophomore outside hitter Ivana Jeremic who had a double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs as well as senior middle blocker Oluoma Okaro who picked up 14 kills and 11 digs of her own.

Next, the Sun Devils will travel to Corvallis, Oregon to take on the Oregon State Beavers on Friday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. MST.


 Reach the reporter at Joshua.Zaklis@asu.edu and follow @JoshZaklis on Twitter.

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