After dropping two straight conference games to Stanford and California, the No. 23 ranked Ducks (12-9, 5-6) returned home and fell to an Arizona State (14-9, 3-8) team that had lost seven straight games heading into tonight’s matchup. Despite hitting .319 the Ducks struggled to defend the Sun Devil attack and simply could not put together enough defensive stops to stay in the game. Arizona State finished hitting .365, the best against Oregon has seen all-season.
“We didn’t dig any balls,” Moore said. “Things certainly weren’t clicking blocking wise and defensively. They (Arizona State) did some great things, but there were a whole bunch of balls that were just easily dug balls that whether it’s indecision or whatever that was, we didn’t dig them.”
The struggles began midway through the first set. After trading points throughout the set, Arizona State went on a 8-0 run to take a demanding 18-10 lead. The Sun Devils went on to narrowly take the first set 25-23. They finished the set hitting .302 percent.
The Ducks answered back in the second set. With a narrow 20-18 lead, the Ducks went on a crucial 3-0 run to grab a late lead. They eventually went on to win the set 25-21 to tie the game up at one a piece.
The third set was the deciding factor in the game. Both teams had been hitting well, but it would be the Sun Devils stringing together another late run to regain the edge. After leading 17-15 midway through the set, Arizona State went on a 4-1 run to grab a five point lead heading down the final stretch. They finished off the set 25-19 to grab a 2-1 lead.
The Ducks fell apart in the fourth set. Following three sets where they were hitting above .300 percent, they came out of the huddle with no rhythm and could not stop a Sun Devil offense that had been hitting well all game. Following a 11-3 lead early in the set, the Sun Devils cruised to an eventual 25-15 win to grab their fourth conference win of the year.
“I feel like we just weren’t getting very many touches at the block,” Liz Brenner said. “When your block doesn’t get very many touches, it’s really hard to dig balls, so I think our defense was just a little off tonight.”
Leading the way for the Sun Devils were Macey Gardner (24) and BreElle Bailey (18) who combined for 46 total kills. The two accounted for more than half of their team’s attempts and single-handedly led them to the win.
For the Ducks, it was Brenner, who had a season-high 23 kills and Ariana Williams with 13 kills. Both reflected a solid night of hitting for the Ducks, but could not overcome the Sun Devil’s consistent hitting throughout the game.
The Ducks will now turn around and face Arizona at home tomorrow night. Game time is set for a 7 p.m. start.
For all news and recaps following the game, check back here with the Emerald.