ASU volleyball comes up short of upset against No. 20 Cal in five-set thriller

Mitrovic and Beedie combined for 33 of the team's 64 kills

ASU volleyball (13-12, 5-9) dropped their fourth straight match, coming up just short of an upset against No. 20 Cal (20-4, 10-4) in a five-set thriller (25-18, 18-25, 20-25, 27-25, 12-15).

Junior outside hitter Andrea Mitrovic powered the Sun Devils with 20 kills and two blocks.

Junior middle blocker Megan Beedie provided 13 kills and five blocks for ASU. 

The Sun Devils came hot out of the gates with two early 3-0 runs in the first set. The Sun Devils never allowed the Golden Bears to create a run of 3-0 or greater en route to winning the first set.

ASU failed to start the second set with the same level of offense, as Cal jumped out to a lead as large as 20-9. Cal produced three runs of 3-0 and greater, including a 7-0 run that put the set out of ASU's reach. 

The Golden Bears continued to bring offensive pressure on the Sun Devils in the third set, once again creating three runs of 3-0 or greater. The Sun Devils went on a 4-0 run to bring the game within four, but the Golden Bears closed out the set to win their second point. 

Streaks from both teams defined the fourth set, as ASU and Cal traded runs throughout. ASU went on runs of 3-0 and 5-0 early, but Cal later countered with a 3-0 run of their own. 

Both teams continued to trade runs, with ASU going 3-0, followed by Cal also going 3-0. ASU then produced another 3-0 run, and Cal countered again with a 4-0 run. ASU strung together two points to force the match into a fifth set.

The Sun Devils fell behind midway through the fifth set after a 3-0 run from the Golden Bears. The Sun Devils chipped away at the lead, but lost the match on a Mitrovic service error. 

Head coach Sanja Tomasevic noted how the team made a concerted effort to feed their middle blockers.

"We've been working a lot on that," Tomasevic said. "That's been a team effort for a while now, just making sure we have them up and going."

Senior setter Callie Jones reiterated a point that has been made all season to improve play: don't play selfish and be accountable.

"We just have to continue to play for each other more than letting our egos get in the way," Jones said. "We're getting better, but we still need to learn how to put it all out there for each other."

The Sun Devils travel to Corvallis, Oregon to take on Oregon State on Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. MST.

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