ASU volleyball continues to struggle in front of home crowd

The Sun Devils have dropped eight-straight matches

ASU volleyball can't catch a break. 

While the Sun Devils started with strong Pac-12 play, winning three of their first four conference matches, including snapping their 21-game losing streak in a matchup against Cal, the Devils have lost eight consecutive games since being swept by No. 21 UCLA on Oct. 10. 

While the Sun Devils have struggled across the board this season, a recent challenge they've faced has been playing on their home court. 

"There is no home court advantage for us," head coach Sanja Tomasevic said after ASU volleyball's loss to Colorado, 3-1, on Oct. 21.

"For some reason, whenever we play at home, we feel like we have to do something extra, something more," Tomasevic said after ASU's loss to Washington State on Oct. 5. "You know we just have to play the game we play on the road, when we are not in front of 942, not in front of our boyfriends (and) our crowd."

ASU is currently 6-6 at home compared to 3-6 away, but of their recent eight losses, four have been at home. 

"(The crowd) will love you no matter what, and there is no need to put that extra pressure," Tomasevic said after the team lost to Colorado on Oct. 21. "I honestly have never been a part of a team like that as a player, so I have no idea what to tell them at that moment."

As a coach, Tomasevic is grappling with what has the Sun Devils' struggling at home. 

ASU Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic talks to her team between matches against the Beavers of Oregon State. ASU lost 3-1 to Oregon State at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018.

"I have been challenging them to own the home court," Tomasevic said. "Only thing I can think of is I don’t know what they are doing the night before the game. On the road, I can control what they do and I know they are in their rooms and I know what they are eating and what they are doing exactly."

From a player's side, senior outside hitter Alyse Ford, who transferred for her senior season from USC, thinks the team has a harder time at home due to the pressure of the crowd. 

"I feel like we get super tense at home versus when we are away and don't have anyone rooting for us," Ford said. "That’s when we basically decide to show up and actually decide to play. It shouldn’t be that intense if you are playing in front of people like your friends your family. They are here to support you, they are not trying to freak you out or anything."

ASU volleyball is currently 13-13 this season and 4-10 in Pac-12 play. 

Senior middle blocker Carmen Unzue thinks a problem for the team is that they don't focus on the present – only on the end.

"We don't think what we did wrong. We don't think how to fix it. We just think on the win," Unzue said.

The Sun Devils are looking to end their losing streak when they head back on the road to take on Colorado Nov. 9.

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