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Volleyball drops pair to close season

The ASU volleyball team closed the out its season this past weekend, losing to No. 16 USC 3-1 (16-25, 16-25, 25-22, 18-25) and then to No. 9 UCLA 3-0 (19-25, 26-28, 22-25).

The losses were the final touches on a stretch that saw the Sun Devils lose 15 of their last 17 games after getting off to their best start since 1992.

ASU (13-17, 3-15 Pac-10) finished the season tied for ninth in the Pac-10 after the defeats.

ASU took on USC on Friday evening and simply had no answer for an electric Trojan offense, as USC easily took sets one, two and four.

For the second time this season, USC sophomore outside hitter Alex Jupiter had a banner day against the Sun Devils, recording 25 kills on Friday after recording 31 against ASU earlier in the year.

In the first set, ASU hit a respectable .241, with junior outside hitter Sarah Reaves recording five kills, but USC hit .486, with Jupiter recording seven kills as ASU never led in the frame.

Set two saw the ASU offense sputter mightily, hitting a paltry .032 while USC hit .353, as once again ASU never led in the set for an easy Trojan win.

Set three was the exact opposite of set two, as this time the Trojans hit only .060 while ASU hit .267 and the Sun Devils never trailed to take the set 25-22. Reaves recorded six kills in the set and the defense stepped up, recording 3.5 blocks in the set.

Whatever momentum ASU may have gained was quickly squashed in set four, however, as Jupiter put the Trojan offense on her back recording nine kills with a stellar .615 hitting percentage. Once again, ASU never led as USC closed out the victory.

Reaves led the way for ASU with 16 kills and also recorded 11 digs for her 14th double-double of the season.

Sophomore outside hitter Sofie Schlagintweit and freshman middle blocker Erica Wilson added seven kills apiece to provide secondary scoring, while junior libero Sarah Johnson had 22 digs to lead the defense.

The Sun Devils headed about 10 miles west to Westwood on Saturday to take on UCLA, who ASU stunned in Tempe this year in a dominating 3-0 sweep.

However, another upset was not to be this time.

The Bruins took control early and held off two late ASU charges to sweep the Sun Devils.

Set one wasn’t competitive, as UCLA hit .303 to ASU’s .182, and the Bruins never trailed.

Set two, however, was almost a microcosm of ASU’s season against elite teams.

Nine ties and six lead changes took place, as the teams went to extra kills, only for ASU to come up just short 28-26. The exact same story took place this season against Stanford, Washington and Cal, all top-12 teams.

Set three saw ASU crawl back from an early 9-3 deficit and tie it at 22, but UCLA scored the final three points to end the Sun Devils’ season.

Schlagintweit led ASU with 11 kills, while Reaves recorded 10 kills and 10 digs for her 15th double-double of the season.

The defense was strong all night, as ASU recorded 11.5 blocks led by Wilson’s six block assists.

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