OSU looks for its first conference win against Arizona State on Saturday, Arizona on Sunday
Oregon State volleyball looks for improvement in the second half of the season, starting with the Arizona schools this weekend.
The Beavers (9-12, 0-10 Pac-12) host Arizona State on Saturday and Arizona on Sunday. They are playing with a full and healthy roster for the first time at home since the second weekend of conference play.
The last time they met Arizona State (13-9, 2-8) this season, three Oregon State players, junior setter Tayla Woods, freshman defensive specialist Sydney Francis and junior outside hitter Kelsey Zimmerman, were sidelined for several games due to injuries sustained during the match.
“The things that happened on that Arizona trip with Tayla spraining her ankle, Kelsey and Sydney being out, really affected us because we weren’t at full strength,” said head coach Terry Liskevych. “Sydney is a mainstay of our passing and having her back is terrific.”
Francis was able to play for the first time last weekend against Stanford and Cal. It took her the Stanford game to get back in step, but was able to make a difference in the match against Cal.
The Beavers played their best conference match against Cal last weekend.
“We played some really good defense and we blocked as well as we have blocked against Cal,” Liskevych said. “So we just have to continue do that.”
Even though the team lost in the fifth set, the Beavers were proud of the way they played and feel confident coming into the next set of matches.
“We definitely have nothing to lose so we are going to go all out and give it all we go,” said junior outside hitter Amanda Brown. “Coming off such a tight match against Cal last weekend, hopefully we can carry it over and use that energy.”
The Beavers are looking to continue the good blocking they put up and the strong service they presented their opponents last weekend.
Practices focused primarily on blocking and playing when the team is out of system off a serve or hit. They are trying to maintain focus on play on their side of the court and not worry about their opponent.
“We have to keep playing hard,” Liskevych said. “We certainly are right there and it is a matter of just getting a couple of points here and there.”
Arizona State’s last win in conference play was against the Beavers, and the Sun Devils are hungry for another win.
“That was one of the games that we should have won and now that we have a second chance we are ready to come back and prove what we can do,” Brown said.
With Arizona in the middle of the Pac-12 standings, Oregon State is hoping to use its home-court advantage to get a pair of wins this weekend.
“We really have to come out strong in these next two matches against Arizona and ASU,” Liskevych said.
The Beavers take on ASU Saturday at 6 p.m., and face Arizona on Sunday at 3 p.m. Both contests will be played at Gill Coliseum.
Sarah Kerrigan, sports reporter
On Twitter @skerrigan123