Monday, January 27

Women’s volleyball focuses on serving skills to set up win against Arizona State

Junior setter Kylie Miller – who has been splitting time at setter this season with freshman Devon Chang – is averaging 8.88 assists per set for the Bruins. Miller started UCLA's last match against Oregon State and recorded 36 assists and five digs. (Liz Ketcham/Assistant Photo editor)

Matches never get easier in Pac-12 play.

No. 20 UCLA women’s volleyball (8-5, 3-3 Pac-12) – fresh off its sweep of Oregon State – will face No. 25 Arizona State (13-5, 4-2) in Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday night. The match will be the Bruins’ third straight at home.

The Sun Devils are one of eight teams in the conference that are ranked within the top 25. Arizona State, along with Arizona, are the only teams in the top 25 that finished with a losing record last season.

“They beat Oregon so we know we need to be prepared,” said junior setter Kylie Miller. “We have two days of practice to focus.”

Arizona State dispatched Oregon in straight set Sept. 30, while the Bruins were defeated by the Ducks in three sets Friday. Both UCLA and Arizona State defeated California 3-2 and swept Oregon State in their respective matches.

The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Sun Devils 73-10, having won the last six games with four sweeps. They are 38-2 all-time at home against Arizona State.

For the past two years, the Sun Devils have ended the season in the bottom two of the Pac-12 standings. They went winless in the Pac-12 last year under first-year coach Sanja Tomasevic.

“I think they are a hungry team,” said coach Michael Sealy. “They’re coming off a couple seasons where they did not play as well as they wanted to.”

Six new players joined the Arizona State roster this season, accompanying just three returning seniors.

The Sun Devils are led by outside hitter Ivana Jeremic, who is averaging 3.57 kills per set with a hitting percentage of .237. Outside hitter Alyse Ford – who transferred to Arizona State this year from USC – has recorded 3.02 kills per set with a hitting percentage of .181.

Like UCLA, Arizona State has been splitting setter duties. Shelbie Dobmeier has played 29 sets and is averaging 9.38 assists per set while Nicole Peterson has played 57 sets and is averaging 5.67 assists per set.

UCLA’s two setters – Miller and freshman Devon Chang – are averaging 8.88 and 9.06 assists per set, respectively.

Behind the service line, UCLA is averaging 1.14 aces per set in comparison to Arizona State’s 1.38 aces per set.

“We’ve got to serve tougher to provide pressure against teams that are siding out so well,” Sealy said. “The serve is one thing you can control so we are going to try and put more pressure on.”

UCLA’s opponents have been averaging 1.43 aces per set against the Bruins this season.

“We just need to remember that we are good passers and don’t need to worry too much about it,” said sophomore outside hitter Jenny Mosser. “We need to dial in our passes to make sure we are running a crisp, clean offense.”

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Sports staff

D'Souza is currently a Sports staff writer for the women's basketball, men's basketball and women's tennis beats. He was previously a reporter for the men's tennis and women's volleyball beats.

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