Tough one to swallow
Arizona State’s (14-15, 7-11 Pac-12) 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-16) to USC (13-14, 9-9) Sunday was one of those games where the result could’ve been different if the ball bounced a different way early on.
The Sun Devils came out strong in the first set. They established a 15-9 lead early on and held off a USC comeback before closing out the point.
USC clearly needed a response. The two teams battled back-and-forth for most of the set. Neither side had a lead bigger than two. However, USC collected the points when it mattered most going on a 5-1 run to steal set two away.
After nearly going up 2-0 in the match, Arizona State’s attack never got going again. The Sun Devils had a .33 hitting percentage in the first and second sets, but were limited to .267 in the third and only a .107 percentage in the fourth.
Meanwhile, USC’s offense ticked up. Brooke Botkin, who had a game-high 17 kills, led the Trojans to the final two set wins behind team hitting percentages of .429 and .371 to close out the win.
The loss probably ends Arizona State’s postseason hopes. Although, Arizona State can still end the season with a winning record with wins over Oregon State and Arizona.