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Sun Devil Volleyball 2020-21 Season Preview

Jan 18, 2021

TEMPE, Ariz. – Last season Sun Devil Volleyball set numerous records for the program, and with the spring season quickly approaching, they are looking to make some noise in 2021.
 
The Sun Devils improved to a 17-14 record, 9-11 in the Pac-12 in 2019, improving three wins in the regular season tally and four in conference play. This left the team at eighth place in the Pac-12, the highest finish since 2015. 
 
Notable wins last season includes two victories against Washington State, who was ranked for both matches. ASU also beat Arizona in two Territorial Cup matches, and completed season sweeps against both Oregon and Oregon State.
 
The team had eight starters move on; however, the team is left with four experienced starters and a talented group of newcomers ready to contribute. 

 
Pin Hitters
Sophomore Iman Isanovic is the lone returning outside hitter for Arizona State. She had 216 kills in an impressive freshman season, one of five to earn more than 200 in 2019. She was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week after notching 22 kills in the comeback win at WSU. 
 
Two international freshmen will join this position group. Marta Levinska, a left-handed hitter from Riga, Latvia, was named the best women's volleyball player in Latvia in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. Roberta Rabelo, who is from Brazil, was named MVP and took second place at the Brazilian National Cup. Rabelo joined the team in January and was able to get extra reps in with the team before COVID precautions shut down spring practices.
 
Joining those three are two transfers. Junior transfer Maddie McLaughlin played two seasons at SUNY Geneseo. In 2019, she received the second-team All-SUNYAC honors, and in 2018 was named the 2018 SUNYAC Women's Volleyball Rookie of the Year. The second transfer is late-addition Regan Tinkle, a freshman transfer from Georgia. She did not play in the Bulldogs' short fall season, but her high school career was very accomplished. She was the two-time player of the year in her conference and received all-conference honors all four seasons.
 
Middle Blockers
Senior Megan Beedie will continue to be a vital player for the Sun Devils. The lone senior on the roster, she led the team with 71 total blocks last season and had 140 kills. Sophomore Kennedi Boyd returns as well after making an impact last season. She started in multiple matches, led in solo blocks (15) and was second in total blocks (63). 

Claudia Stahlke and Ayyuce Altintas join the middles as freshmen this season. Stahlke comes from Waconia, Minnesota where she led her team to two state championships and was named to the AVCA All-American Watchlist. Altintas joins the Sun Devils from Turkey and has a lot of experience playing at high levels overseas. 2020 Venus Sultans League Player with Karayollari.

Setters
This year's setters include letterwinner Noa Miller, along with sophomore transfer Shannon Shields and freshman Ella Snyder. In 2019, Miller, now a junior, was third on the team in assists with a total of 297. She was a starter last season who played in 27 matches and will continue to be an impact player this season. 
 
Shields transferred to ASU from Louisville, where she played in 64 matches and advanced with her team to the Elite Eight in the 2019 NCAA tournament. Like Rabelo, she joined the team in January. Snyder, freshman from Mira Costa High School in California, will add needed depth to this position and will be a contributer on the court. 
 
Liberos
The defensive specialists have big shoes to fill with Courtney Leffel graduating after finishing No. 6 in the record book for all-time digs at Arizona State. Three returning liberos bring experience to the team along with three freshmen. Sophomore Annika Larsen played in every match but two last season totaled 85 digs and 11 aces. Sophomore Madi Berkholz and junior Paige Denton also saw time on the court in 2019, bringing pressure from the service line and steadiness in the back row. The Sun Devils also return sophomore Emily Holbrook, who has seen big improvements in the offseason.
 
Freshmen Alasia Ureña from California and Jinna Zeng from Canada bring promise to the defensive lineup. At Notre Dame HS in California, Ureña was named First Team All-CIF in her senior year on top of other nods. Zeng received numerous accolades in high school as well, including a nod as one of the top 15 graduating players in B.C.