- Utah (11-2, 2-0 Pac-12) takes down Arizona State (7-7, 0-2 Pac-12) in five sets (22-25, 25-14, 25-27, 25-15, 15-11)
Utah marked the first time they have start off conference play 2-0 since entering the Pac-12.
Utah out played Arizona State in almost every statistical category, leading in kills 64-53, aces 7-0, blocks 17-7 and hitting percentage .206 to .099.
Adora Anae led all players with 22 kills on the match for the Utes. Eliza Katoa posted eight kills and four blocks, while teammate Berkeley added eight kills with eight blocks to match.
Arizona State’s Cassidy Pickrell posted her fifth double-double of the season with 16 kills and 15 digs. Maya McClendon also added a double-double with 12 kills and 16 digs, her third of the season. Middle Blocker Oluomo Okaro contributed 15 kills and three blocks. Halle Harker picked up 25 digs putting her career dig count to 1,153, 68 away from entering the Sun Devil’s top ten digs list.
Courtesy of Utah Athletics
SALT LAKE CITY – For the first time since joining the Pac-12 Conference, the Utah volleyball team moved to 2-0 following its first two matches of conference play after coming back to defeat the Arizona Sun Devils in five sets (22-25, 25-14, 25-27, 25-15, 15-11) Saturday evening at the Huntsman Center. The Utes moved to 11-2 overall and remain perfect in league play, while the Sun Devils dropped to 7-7 overall and 0-2 in the Pac-12.
“The reality is we are finding ways to win,” said Utah head coach Beth Launiere after the victory. “We are really good at times, but we really have to clean up our game right now because we are kind of up and down. What I told our team in the locker room was that we haven’t had a ton of practice time. We played at BYU. Played Utah State last Saturday and then played Colorado earlier this week.
“You don’t get much work in the day before. That Wednesday to start conference really chops things up. I think we are being a little bit inconsistent, but I just think that is a function of kind of where we are in the season and the good news is we are winning. I think that we can get a lot better and that is exciting.”
Utah’s 11th win of the season is already one more victory than the team accumulated last season. In addition, the Utes moved to 4-2 in five-set matches this season after posting a 3-4 record in matches that went the full five sets in all of 2015.
Despite going down 1-0 to open the match and then 2-1 later, the Utes still managed to come away with the win.
Sophomore Berkeley Oblad tallied four kills, while hitting .500 in the first set, but the Sun Devils took a 1-0 lead after picking up the first set 25-22. ASU led by as many as six points late in the set before a 4-1 run pulled the Utes back within two points, down 24-22, but a Utah service error ended the rally and gave the visiting squad the initial set.
Utah came back to tie the match at 1-1 with a 25-14 win in the second set. Junior Adora Anae had six of Utah’s 17 kills and the Utes managed to out-hit the Sun Devils .255 to .062 after hitting just .140 in the first. After trading points to open the frame, Utah went on a 4-0 run to go up 12-7 and later pushed its lead to 19-10 with four straight points. The Utes would later score six of the final nine points and juniorTawnee Luafalemana closed out the set with a kill to the back right corner.
The Utes jumped out to a 7-2 lead early in the third set, but a pair of 6-1 runs from the Sun Devils pushed ASU’s lead to 14-11 and forced Utah to call a timeout. Utah would chop its way back to a 17-all tie, but ASU countered with a 3-0 run and later went up set point (24-21) with a kill from Jasmine Koonts. Utah called its final timeout of the frame and Anae came back to tie the set herself with a kill, a block and another kill. Both teams traded a point each to make it 25-25, but the Sun Devils closed out the frame winning the final two points.
Utah jumped out to a 5-0 lead to begin the fourth set and later pushed its lead to 9-1 following three consecutive hitting errors from the Sun Devils. The Utes led by as many as nine points before ASU came back to pull within five, down 17-12, but the home team countered with a 6-0 run to go up 23-12. Sophomore Emma Kirst put the Utes up set point and Anae put the frame away with a kill to send the match into a decisive fifth set.
Both teams traded mini runs to begin the fifth set, but after a 5-5 tie, Utah jumped out to a 9-5 lead with back-to-back blocks from junior Carly Trueman and Oblad. ASU called a timeout and returned the favor with a 4-0 run to notch things up at 9-all. Utah would score four of the next six points to go up 13-11 and that forced the Sun Devils to take its final timeout. Freshman Brianna Doehrmann registered her match-high third service ace out of the break to give the Utes a 14-11 lead and ASU followed with an attack error to Utah the win 15-11.
“I think we are going to get better and get more steady,” said Launiere. “I think we could be good, but every match is a battle in the Pac-12. That’s just the way it is.
“[Arizona State] is a good team. They were a little bit scary to play because they have a new coach, a bunch of new players transfer in, and we didn’t really know what to expect from them. They were athletic and I wasn’t surprised that we might get into a situation like that [with them].
Anae finished with a match-high 22 kills and 12 digs for her 10th double-double of the season, while freshman Bailey Choy totaled 40 assists and 18 digs for her fifth double-double on the year. Choy also managed to record a season-high four kills for the home squad.
Luafalemana registered a season-high nine total blocks and Oblad added eight total blocks on the evening, while Utah finished the match with a season-high 17.0 total team blocks. It was Utah’s most blocks since recording 17.5 total blocks against Seton Hall early last season (Sept. 12, 2015).
The Utes out-hit the opposition for the 13th time in as many matches this season, recording a .206 hitting percentage and yielding just a .099 hitting clip from the Sun Devils.
Utah has also recorded more service aces than all 13 of its opponents so far this season after recording seven aces to ASU’s zero aces Saturday evening.
The Utes wrap-up a three-match home stand next weekend, hosting both Los Angeles squads. Utah will face UCLA next Friday, Sept. 30 and USC on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Huntsman Center.
Courtesy of Arizona State Athletics
SALT LAKE CITY—The Arizona State volleyball team (7-7, 0-2 Pac-12) fell in five sets to Utah (11-2, 2-0 Pac-12), 25-22, 14-25, 27-25, 15-25, 11-15, on Saturday at the Huntsman Center.
“We weren’t very consistent tonight, didn’t execute on our side of the net,” head coachStevie Mussie said. “As a team we need to focus on playing cleaner and limiting our errors. We’re going to get back to Tempe, rest up, and get healthy in time to finally open up at home. It’s a long time coming and I’m excited to introduce this team to our fans.”
Senior Cassidy Pickrell led the Sun Devils with 16 kills and a season high 15 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Fellow seniorMaya McClendon also posted a double-double, her third this year, with 12 kills and 16 digs, while junior Oluoma Okaro added 15 kills and three blocks.
McClendon’s kills put her career total at 957, 43 away from the thousandth of her career while junior Halle Harker‘s season-high 25 digs bring her career total to 1,153, 68 away from breaking into ASU’s top-10 list.
Utah’s Adora Anae led the way with 22 kills and 12 digs, while Tawnee Luafalemana added nine blocks and Berkeley Oblad poste eight. Setter Bailey Choi posted 40 assists and 18 digs, while Carly Trueman added 10 kills.
Following 14 consecutive road matches this season and 17 matches since ASU last played at home, the Sun Devils will open at Wells Fargo Arena on Friday, Sept. 30, hosting Oregon at 6 p.m. PT. On Sunday, ASU will take on Oregon State at 11 a.m. PT. Both matches will air on the Pac-12 Network.
Kills: C. Pickrell (16), Okaro (15), McClendon (12)
Assists: K. Pickrell (43)
Digs: Harker (25)*, McClendon (16)*, C. Pickrell (15)*
Double-Doubles: C. Pickrell (5th: 16 kills & 15 digs), McClendon (3rd: 12 kills & 16 digs)