By Allie Long, SDA Media Relations
TEMPE, Ariz.,- Despite fierce competition throughout the match, No. 22 Arizona State (13-6, 2-5 Pac 12) fell to No. 1 USC (17-1, 7-0 Pac 12) in three sets (17-25, 20-25,15-25) Friday night in Tempe to extend ASU’s foul luck in Pac 12 play.
The first set started promisingly as the Sun Devils quickly racked up four points within the first minute, and forced a USC timeout. The set saw McKenzie Willey and BreElle Bailey tally two kills each while Whitney Follette grabbed three. Unfortunately, the Sun Devils would continue trail ever-so-slightly in kills, aces, and blocks for the rest of the match. The Trojans used an 8-1 run over the Sun Devils to earn them set number one.
The record-breaking crowd of 3,975 in Wells Fargo Arena (which toppled the previous record over the last 25 years of 3,919 in 1994) kept emotions on high in all three hard-fought sets.
The start of the second was especially intense for the Sun Devil defense. Libero Stephanie Preach, in an effort to save a shanked pass, dove to the ground, nearly knocked over press row, dug the ball and jumped back into the game. The next ball over the net was hers and led directly to a Sun Devil point. This kind of hustle was evident on both sides of the net, as the set saw five tie scores and three lead changes, and came to a close in favor of the Trojans.
By the end of the third set, Bailey had tallied an impressive ten kills overall. The Trojans, too, saw two players, Samantha Bricio and Hannah Schraer, achieve the same number.
The Sun Devils will play host to the UCLA Bruins on Sunday at 11 a.m. in Wells Fargo Arena. The game is set to be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.