Fans Back In DFA For Maroon and Gold
TEMPE, Ariz. – The annual Sun Devil Volleyball Maroon and Gold Scrimmage was held on Saturday afternoon, opening Desert Financial Arena to the fans for the first time since early 2020.
"I thought overall it was really good," Arizona State Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic said. "Being a coach, I found the things we need to work on this Tuesday, but I told them it's exciting. I think our primary passers did a really good job of communicating and passing in serve receive, but we really need to continue working on that because that was our weakness last year. We need to work on some defensive moves in certain situations, which is going to help us for next weekend. But I thought overall it was really good. We put them into some tough situations and they responded well."
The team competed in six-on-six drills in front of the crowd to show off the team before playing one full set to 25. In the lone set, Maroon beat Gold 25-21. On Maroon, the defense shone with 13 total digs to Gold's nine. Three on Maroon tallied four digs each: Jinna Zeng, Alasia Ureña and Meadow Cooper. The offense was balanced on Gold as three had four kills each: Iman Isanovic, Andi Kreiling and Claire Jeter. Jeter and Kreiling also played on Maroon at times, upping their kill total to six and five, respectively.
Several newcomers had the chance to be seen in a Sun Devil uniform for the first time: Beatrice Badini, Meadow Cooper, Jamye Cox, Allie Gray, Claire Jeter and Andi Kreiling.
The 2021 season will begin with the Sun Devil Classic next Friday and Saturday in DFA. Arizona State's first match will be against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday at noon MST. All of ASU's matches will be on the ASU Live Stream.
Arizona State Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic
On new additions and improvements this season
"I think we added a lot of depth in the libero position, I think we added height in the middle position, which is going to help us too. We didn't have a full team today. We still have some players that are out with injuries so when everybody comes back, this is going to look a little different. I think we added a couple of good arms in the gym, ball control is better. Then our returners, they're all better in ball control, too. So our first contact is a lot better. Then Annika is looking really good right now; she's setting well, she's playing good defense, she's passing well. I just think overall competition has been good in the gym, and it's healthy, good camaraderie and competition."
On Claire Jeter
"Claire is really good already at running slides and we didn't really have that in the past. So, that's opened up our offense a lot and helps us a lot, and she has a good arm, and a good arm in the middle helps. She doesn't get hurt on tough swings. When she gets a not-so perfect set, she'll find a way to put it where it needs to go instead of just making mistakes which is really nice."
On improvements from Maroon and Gold
"Being a coach, I found the things we need to work on this Tuesday, but I told them it's exciting. I think our primary passers did a really good job of communicating and passing in serve receive, but we really need to continue working on that because that was our weakness last year. So now on top of that, we need to get better at blocking when we know where the ball is going on the other side. We need to work on some defensive moves in certain situations, which is going to help us for next weekend. But I thought overall it was really good, we put them into some tough situations, specifically Marta and Iman. We had Iman lined up with Carlos (Moreno) the entire time because she's going to have to be the one that carries us into wins at times. We made it really hard for her tonight to score, so that was just kind of a way to get her to be frustrated and to learn how to play with frustration and be able to pass. Last year when she wasn't hitting well, she wasn't passing well, and today was the opposite. She wasn't great here (on offense) but she was still doing a great job passing, so that was good."
On having fans back
"It was so fun. It was just so fun to have other people here, to hear other people talking, and the music being played. Music was played in the spring, but it was a different vibe when it was played in the spring. For me it was cool to see my daughter in the bleachers, too, and just to have her just watch everything. So, it was pretty cool."
On team goals
"Our goal is not a secret: we want to make the NCAA Tournament. That's been stated by the players, so we let them set the goals based on what we have after we completed preseason, and I thought that was a pretty solid goal for them to set. So our goal is to make the NCAA Tournament and that's our team's goal, and my goal is to just keep getting better every day."
Junior Outside Hitter Iman Isanovic
"I think the newcomers that we have this year are absolutely awesome. They just came into the gym and it wasn't really like they were newcomers; they fit like a glove in this program. so I think that was a really big part of our chemistry. They are all like sponges, they take in everything we've taught them at open gym. When our preseason practices started, they were all so disciplined and open to learning, and I'm just very proud of them for the approach they had."
On the team
"I think we demonstrated in today's practice/scrimmage pretty well that we're a very gritty as a team. You couldn't really tell that there's an A and B side since everyone was giving their max, and I really respect every single individual that we have on this team because they are really putting in all the effort they have on the court and I think that is something that is going to be beneficial for us, along with the team unity and the team chemistry that we have going on. It's like a family feeling."
Sophomore Middle Blocker Claire Jeter
On having fans back
"It's super fun. I know it gets me really hyped and it gets me really excited to perform my best, I really enjoy the crowd."
On season starting next weekend
"We are super excited. We've worked hard all preseason and we think it's our time to shine."