Sun Devils Struggle To Contain Trojans In 3-1 Loss
TEMPE, Ariz. – Junior Claire Jeter had a season high 11 kills as Sun Devil Volleyball came up short in a loss to USC in four sets (18-25, 25-13, 25-23, 25-16) at Desert Financial Arena on Sunday afternoon.
- Arizona State (8-10, 2-4 Pac-12) won the first set against USC (13-4, 5-1 Pac-12), ASU's first time winning the opening set in conference play this season.
- Jeter led the Sun Devils with 11 kills on a hit percentage of .688, both of which are season highs. This was her first match reaching double figures in kills this fall. Additionally, she led the team in blocks with five.
- Sophomore Geli Cyr was the second Sun Devil to notch double-digit kills, earning 10 in the match. Five of those kills were earned in the first set. This was her seventh match of the year reaching double figures. She also added eight digs.
- At libero was senior Annika Larson-Nummer. She had a team-high 15 digs, as well as two aces.
- Junior Marta Levinska had a near double-double with 11 digs and nine kills.
- The setting duties were split in the match, with senior Shannon Shields starting and playing three sets. She had 26 assists, as well as five digs. Junior Ella Snyder played in the third set, tallying eight assists.
Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic
"That was a tough one today. I did like how we showed up. But we couldn't maintain our discipline and composure. That's something that we have been talking a lot about as a team. Nobody is ever questioning the will and the want to win, of course we do. But in order to do that we're going to have to do certain things, against any good team. I thought our discipline and our composure, starting the second set, went really down. Even in the third set, when we were winning, I didn't like how we were playing."
On how their strong blocking has developed over the season
"I thought we did an okay job blocking against a couple players on the other side, but we couldn't touch Skylar Fields, so that's very disappointing. I wish we could have at least made some touches so we could play some defense behind. She was unbelievable. Not to take anything away from anyone else on that team, I thought they were a good team and a well-coached team."
On the message to the team about Skylar Fields before the game
"We've seen matches where she was contained. We saw the matches where people can dig her. I challenged our team to show respect to a player like her by being disciplined. If you're stopped, you can still extend yourself and dig some of those balls that she was hitting over. At the end of the first set, she hit a couple balls right over Marta (Levinska) and Andi (Kreiling) in that seam. I told Anni (Larson-Nummer) to take a step that way and she dug two balls in a row. We knew the ball was gonna go to her a lot of times, so we got there early, and when we got there early we weren't explosive at the end. We were getting there too early and getting too excited to jump. We would jump and on the way down she would hit over us. So, making that adjustment of seeing that set versus just going to block is important moving forward."
Junior Middle Blocker Claire Jeter
On being aggressive and mindset:
"I knew that the team needed me to be an offensive weapon like I was last year. I decided that I'm going to come back and start being more aggressive at the set. Whether we're connecting or not, I'm going to make sure that I'm putting balls down and making smart shots, getting them out of system, being aggressive at the net and overpasses. Just playing my game is definitely something I was thinking about going into this game."
On heading into rest of Pac-12 play:
"I think we need to make sure we're hitting our serves; that's something that we're definitely lacking and we've been talking about it in practice a lot. Our serves are just right to the people, the red zone is what we call it. It's something we definitely need to work on. Hitting it deeper and harder so that it's really hard to get a perfect pass, it helps the middles out for blocking and it just helps all around. I also think that we know who they're going to set the most, with certain teams, we knew it was going to Skylar [Fields] and we need to do a better job at shutting down certain people and just be more offensive on not great passes. We need to learn how to put those balls down too."
Set One: ASU 25, USC 18
The Sun Devils got on the board first with a kill by Levinska. After going point-for-point to a score of 5 apiece, the Sun Devils rallied behind a block by Jeter to take an 8-5 lead. Both teams then traded multiple 3-0 runs to make it 14-11. The Sun Devils eventually turned their three-point lead into four with a kill by Iman Isanovic to bring the tally to 20-16. Another kill by Isanovic and an error by USC made it 23-18 and resulted in USC calling their second timeout. ASU followed this up with two kills by Cyr to close out the first set.
Set Two: USC 25, ASU 13
The Trojans got out to a hot start and took advantage of a service error by the Sun Devils to make the score 5-1. Strong kills by Cyr and Jeter brought a brief spark back to ASU, but USC capitalized on a few Sun Devil errors to bring ASU's deficit to seven. The Sun Devils took their second timeout of the set following a 4-1 run by USC resulting in a score of 17-8. ASU continued to struggle for points as the Trojans closed out the set on a 7-2 run.
Set Three USC 25, ASU 23:
ASU got out to another slow start, getting their first point from challenging a net fault by USC, down 5-1. A kill by Jeter brought the Sun Devils within two at 5-3. After falling into an 8-3 pit, ASU rallied back with a 10-3 run highlighted by two blocks by Jeter and kills from Snyder and Cyr. This run led to the Sun Devils first lead of the set at 12-11. After both teams traded kills to an 18-18 score, Levinska tallied a kill and a block to put ASU ahead by two. USC then led a 5-2 run to close out the third set.
Set Four: USC 25, ASU 16
ASU got on the board first following an attack error by USC and a kill by Levinska. USC then rallied off four points in a row, leaving ASU down 4-2. Kills by Levinska and Jeter kept the Sun Devils within two at 8-6. A service ace by USC put ASU down 16-11, forcing a timeout from the home team. A second timeout called down 20-13 was not enough to spark the Sun Devils as the Trojans closed out the fourth set on an 8-3 run.
Arizona State is home again next weekend, hosting Cal on Friday and No. 8 Stanford on Sunday.