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Blocks Not Enough For Sun Devils Against No. 15 UCLA

Feb 21, 2021

Final Box

TEMPE, Ariz. - Despite another strong blocking performance, Sun Devil Volleyball fell in straight sets (27-25, 25-15, 25-21) to No. 15 UCLA in Desert Financial Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Notable Stats

  • The Arizona State (1-9) block continues to be a bright spot. ASU out-blocked UCLA (7-3) 11 to 3. This is the fourth-straight match that the Sun Devils have had 11 blocks, the first time reaching double figures in a three-set match since September 2018. 
  • Freshman opposite Marta Levinska reached double figures in kills for the seventh time this season, notching a team-high 13 on a .364 clip. She also had seven digs and four blocks.
  • Freshman middle blocker Claudia Stahlke started for the second match in a row and an impact again. She had a team-best six blocks and collected four kills, hitting .500.
  • Freshman setter Ella Snyder had 24 assists and two aces. It is her third match in a row with at least two aces. 
  • One Sun Devil reached double figures in blocks, with sophomore Annika Larson notching 10. She has collected double-digit digs in the last six matches.
  • Madi Berkholz was the libero in the third set, her first time taking that role in her career. She was a perfect 5 for 5 on serve receive. 

Arizona State Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic
On how to improve moving forward
"You cannot dwell on anything that happened in the last play, you have to move on. That short term memory has to kick in because you have to perform in your next play. If you let that previous play affect you, it is going to spiral. It is easier said than done, but we just have to practice, we have to continue building that tolerance to let go and still perform. We try to do drills in practice that put pressure on them so hopefully it will pay off in the games sooner than later."

On Claudia Stahlke stepping in for Megan Beedie again
"It would be nice to have Megan's experience but Claudia did her job. She got four out of six kills and six block touches. I am really pleased with the way she has played this weekend, it was really promising. I love that Claudia takes more pride in blocking than she does hitting. It is really cool to get a kid who doesn't get her feelings hurt if we don't set her enough balls. She goes out there and she doesn't quit on plays, she makes block moves. She is very disciplined and hard working and I am excited to give her that chance to play again next weekend. She played against UCLA so now she can go against anybody."

On Madi Berkholz as libero in the third set
"Madi was in the fight for the libero spot in the fall, and after just coming back from being hurt and sick we hoped to get her back in and going. She was the highlight of today with her serve receive as she was 5 for 5 and passed 100 percent."

Freshman outside hitter Marta Levinska
On finishing strong
"We have to stay focused. It was in our hands (in the first set), and we were so close. I think we just have to commit to ending the game because there have been numerous times where we are so close. We have to believe in ourselves and stay concentrated on every rally."

On the team's mindset going into the match
"I think we had a really good mindset in the first set. Our mindset was that we have to win this. I honestly think that we got in our head because of some of the challenges. We lost a lot of challenges that we knew were certainly our point. We needed to get over it. It was out of our control. I think we just need to push it aside and forget about it. We thought we were so close and that we had it, but it slipped through our hands. We need to start seeing every rally as a new beginning."

Set One: UCLA 27, Arizona State 25
The Sun Devils started the match with a 3-0 run with two aces from Snyder. After the Bruins responded with their own run of three, the Sun Devils put together five in a row to push the lead to 10-6. UCLA closed the gap to 17-16 after a 3-0 run to keep the set close. The Bruins took their first lead at 23-22 and got to set point. Kills from Levinska and Iman Isanovic held off two set points to tie it up at 24-24. A couple of challenges late in the set caused a delay, but UCLA was ultimately able to come away with the 27-25 win.

Set Two: UCLA 25, Arizona State 15
The Bruins took the early lead this set, jumping out to a 6-2 advantage. The Sun Devils stayed in the set with a kill by Tinkle, bringing the score to 7-5. UCLA went on a 5-0 run with its All-American Mac May to push the lead to 17-10. Two back-to-back kills by Isanovic brought the score to 22-14, but the damage had been done. UCLA finished the set at 25-15. 

Set Three: UCLA 25, Arizona State 21  
Arizona State trailed early in the third set but kept it close. Back-to-back blocks got ASU within one, down 6-5. The Sun Devils called their first timeout of the set after trailing 14-11 following a short run from the Bruins. Really hanging in the game with great defense, Isanovic and Stahkle teamed up for the block, bringing the score to 21-17 in favor of the Bruins. The 10th block for Arizona State, Levinska and Stahkle denied UCLA again to make it 23-20. ASU was unable to complete the comeback, however, and UCLA took the third set at 25-21, completing the sweep.

Up Next
The Sun Devils look to bounce back as they travel to take on the USC Trojans for two matches next weekend. Follow along on Twitter (@SunDevilVB) and Instagram (@sundevilvolleyball) for updates.