Volleyball falls in heartbreaker to No. 5 USC
Ashley Kastl had a match-best 23 kills but it was not enough as the Arizona State volleyball team fell 3-1 to No. 5 USC on Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in front of a crowd of 1,463.
Falling in set scores of 22-25, 25-17, 25-20, 29-27, the Sun Devils drop to 4-13 overall and 0-8 with the loss. USC improves to 13-3 and 8-1 in Pac-12.
Ashley Kastl posted 23 kills over the course of the night, leading both squads in the category and also tallied a double-double with 10 digs. Impressive performances also came from Stephanie Preach, who chalked up 43 digs, the fourth-best in program history for a single match.
Shannan McCready made an explosive start at setter - putting up 51 assists to go along with 11 digs for her first double-double of her career. Blocks kept ASU in the game in the fourth set, helping the Sun Devils push it to its deep 29-27 score - in part due to performances like Sonja Markanovich's eight block assists. On the night ASU tallied 23 total blocks, to USC's 18.
A-State won set one 25-22, giving USC its first set loss since Sept. 9 when UCLA swept the Trojans. Kastl and Erica Wilson teamed up for six and five kills, respectively, as ASU strolled through the stanza with a .324 attack percentage.
Set two and three proved difficult for the maroon and gold - USC commanded the board 25-17 and 25-20 to head into the final set with a 2-1 lead.
The fourth frame was an all-out throw down with six tie scores en route to a 29-27 finish in favor of the Trojans. USC started the set with a 15-5 cushion and kept the 10-point edge going to the 20-10 mark. The tides turned with kills from Malia Bachynski and Erica Wilson who helped the Sun Devils claw back within reach at 21-18, forcing the Trojans into a time out.
Kastl and Danica Mendivil were nothing short of spectacular in the final points of the match, as each tallied two kills apiece to keep USC from breaking match point. The Trojans won the set 29-27 for the 3-1 match victory.
Mendivil finished the night with five kills from her fourth-set showing.
Up next for Sun Devil volleyball is a 7 p.m. (MT) match at Utah on Friday, Oct. 14. ASU will then trek to Colorado on Saturday, Oct. 15 to take on Colorado at 7 p.m.