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Isanovic, Larson Notch Career Highs in Five-Set Loss to WSU

Jan 28, 2021

Final Box | Boxscore

TEMPE, Ariz. – Despite career highs from multiple Sun Devils, Arizona State volleyball came up short in a five-set thriller (17-25, 26-24, 25-10, 23-25, 16-14) against Washington State in the home opener on Thursday afternoon.
Notable Stats

  • Arizona State (1-2) won the opening set before dropping the next two to Washington State (2-1). The Sun Devils were able to force a fifth set but lost in extra points, 16-14.
  • Neither team had strong hitting percentages, but WSU out-hit ASU .213 to .169. The away team also had more blocks, 13 to Arizona State's nine.
  • Sophomore Iman Isanovic led the Sun Devils with a career-high 22, surpassing her previous high of 20 that was set against the Cougars last season. She also had eight digs and two aces in the match.
  • Sophomore libero Annika Larson earned a new career high in digs with 25, her first match with more than 20 digs.
  • Freshman setter Ella Snyder notched a career-best 38 assists as well as 12 digs for her third-straight double-double.
  • Senior middle blocker Megan Beedie matched her career high in aces with four, adding to her six kills.
  • Leading the way in blocks was sophomore middle blocker Kennedi Boyd with seven, tying her career high, to go with her five kills.
  • Multiple Sun Devils made their first appearance of the year in the match. Freshman outside hitter Regan Tinkle got her first collegiate start in the first set, as well as her first kill in the opening rally. Sophomore defensive specialist Madi Berkholz saw time in the backrow for the first time this season, playing in the fifth set.
  • Junior defensive specialist Paige Denton earned a career high in digs with six.

Arizona State Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic
Opening thoughts
"Tough one for us. You either win or you learn, and with this team you have to learn from all of these tough teams we are playing. Hopefully it will pay off. You have to be disciplined against these tough teams we are playing in the Pac-12. If you aren't disciplined the whole time, they're going to expose your weaknesses. We have another day to prepare for Washington State. The good news is it will be the same people, same teams, same referees so we will see what happens."
On diversifying the offense
"That's something we talked about in the locker room. We cannot have this kind of offense. It has to be a lot more balanced than this. We cannot have one player take 70 swings and the next take 34. I think to Ella's credit, our serve receive was not great. We need to get better at that so she can spread the offense more. And we are still searching for that OH 2 spot to find that other person that Ella can trust."
On the young team
"We have a lot of young people, a lot of new faces, and we are trying to see what they can give us. We were up 21-17 in game two and that's inexperience. We have to be able to let go of the plays and keep going down. We have to be able to snap out of it. We just can't miss serves on a match that is so close."
On close matches
"It would be nice to leave today with a lesson to learn after winning 16-14, but we didn't. This is a young team. This season is a weird season. For all of the wins and losses that happen in the spring, we will get that much better in the fall. I look forward to see them continue to grow and learn how to not quit when things don't go their way."
Sophomore outside hitter Iman Isanovic
On the match
"I think we have a really young team and it is our first season playing together. I think there is a lot to do with inexperience playing at this level. It is more of a mental focus issue. We don't have that experience to know when to turn it on. These are really good lessons that we are learning and hopefully we will learn from them and execute on Saturday."
On preparing for the rematch on Saturday
"For Saturday, it's a matter of adjusting quick. We all know what we need to work on. Essentially, there were little things that got us down and that's good because we can easily work on those. We will come back to the gym strong tomorrow and work on what we need to work on to go hard on Saturday."
On winning the fourth set after dropping the third
"For me, I'm a really competitive person and it's a pride thing. We came out in the first set and beat them 25-17 and we really did our jobs well. The set that we lost 25-10 was not us. It was the lack of focus that got us to that point. It's a pride thing in that we know we are better than that. We have so much more to show. We had to get that confidence and go back to the court to show not only ourselves but to everyone else that we are better than 25-10."
On Ella Snyder
"She's done a great job. I have nothing but the best to say about Ella. From the minute she came to the gym, she was really dedicated to fixing her sets. She has been grinding since the fall. It was hard for her today because it was a serve receive game and our passing wasn't the best. It was hard for her to spread our offense out."
Set One: Arizona State 25, Washington State 17
The Sun Devils opened up the match with a 3-0 run and would not relinquish the lead. The lead would grow as large as eight, up 21-13 late in the set after a 5-0 run that saw kills from Boyd and Isanovic. An error from the Cougars sealed the win for the home team, 25-17.
Set Two: Washington State 26, Arizona State 24
In the second set, the score was closer from start to finish. A kill from Boyd pushed the lead to 9-7, but WSU would tie it again at 10-10. The largest lead for ASU came at 20-17 after back-to-back errors from the visitors. However, Washington State took the lead at 23-21 after two-straight aces in its 6-0 run. A kill from Tinkle and an error from WSU tied it at 23-23 and they would trade points before the Cougars got two in a row to win 26-24.

Set Three: Washington State 25, Arizona State 10
Arizona State struggled to start the third set, trailing 10-4 and forcing an early timeout. A 6-0 run for the Cougars made it 13-4 and they never gave up the lead. The Sun Devils were unable to make it close, dropping to 2-1 in the set.
Set Four: Arizona State 25, Washington State 23
After getting behind early in the fourth set, the Sun Devils came storming back. With Beedie serving, Arizona State went on an 8-0 run that saw three aces from the senior and two kills from Isanovic. That run put them up 16-12 and forced WSU to use both of its timeouts. However, a 5-1 run from the Cougars put them up 19-18 and it was back and forth from there. A 3-0 run aided by a key challenge from Tomasevic gave the Sun Devils the 25-23 win and forced a fifth set.

Set Five: Washington State 16, Arizona State 14
The final set a battle. The Cougars took an early 3-0 lead, but the Sun Devils responded with a 4-0 run to go up 7-5. WSU took the lead again after three points in a row put them up 9-8. Isanovic tied the set at 12-12 and then again at 14-14, but Washington State would go on to win 16-14.
Up Next
The two teams will play again on Saturday at 11 a.m. MST in Desert Financial Arena. The match will be on the ASU Live Stream, with live scoring and updates on Twitter (@SunDevilVB) as well.