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Tournament Ends With Five-Set Setback To No. 13 Louisville

Aug 28, 2021

TEMPE, Ariz. - In an intense five-set match, Sun Devil Volleyball battled with No. 13 Louisville, ultimately coming up short 3-2 (25-15, 24-26, 25-17, 24-26, 15-11) in the final match of the Sun Devil Volleyball Classic on Saturday.

Notable Stats

  • In its first loss, Arizona State (2-1) came up short in most categories, but the defense battled with Louisville's (3-0), matching its dig total (55).
  • Two Sun Devils were named to the all-tournament team: Claire Jeter and Ella Snyder.
  • The Sun Devils showed their grit, battling off five match points throughout the match.
  • On her birthday, junior outside hitter Iman Isanovic recorded a team-high 13 kills, as well as seven digs and two solo blocks.
  • Junior libero Annika Larson has reached double figures in digs in all three matches so far this season, collecting a match-high 15 today.
  • Continuing her solid play over the weekend, sophomore setter Ella Snyder had 34 assists, seven digs and four kills against the Cardinals.
  • Sophomore pin hitter Marta Levinska tallied 12 kills and eight digs in the setback. 
  • Sophomore middle blocker Claire Jeter had a team-high four blocks in the match to go with her eight digs and one service ace.
  • Meadow Cooper made her collegiate debut, playing in each set but the first. She collected two digs. 

Arizona State Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic

Opening Statement
"Tough one tonight, but good one for us. Louisville is an excellent team. They've been elite the last two years and they have a few super seniors. They have a lot of experience there. I thought something that continued from spring is that this team doesn't give up. There's grit, there's fight always there and there's talent, so we'll continue building."
"I thought today we were a little bit more timid than the last two games. I think just knowing who was on the other side, they really put that pressure on themselves. I think we didn't serve as well as we could have at times, and that can't happen against a team like this. They have weapons from everywhere and their middles are really good. We need to just get out there and serve better. They served us in more trouble than we served them. I'm proud of us though, how we fought and the way we never quit. At times when things connect we are really good. This team is going to stay together for the next three or four years. I'm just happy how we fought. I don't think it would have been surprising if we beat Louisville. I don't think it would be a shock, not for me, because I think we have talent, and we have personnel to do that. We just don't have experience we need to get at this level and we're doing that right now, that's why we scheduled the way we did the preseason. We have the team that we have right now and it's going to continue building and growing from this. Some of these numbers are gnarly. I think this is going to be really good for us for next week and the weeks to come."
On utilizing Claire Jeter
"We love running Claire on the slide. She does have a good arm and so we love getting her on the slide. She has every shot. She can hit lines, she can hit cross on that slide, so we just need to push it all the way out and give her a chance to do that. The thing was, early when we were not passing well, it was hard to give her a ball there, so that's why we didn't do it as much as we would like to. But, when we can, we like to play ball on the slide."
On decision to put Regan Tinkle in
"I think Andi (Kreiling) was just getting a lot of out of system sets. Going against huge blocks, and somebody who is not traditionally an outside hitter, if you get under the ball and you can't see the block, it's really tough to hit. She was getting into tough situations. The game was such that whoever was setting, we were giving her out of system balls and she had to pull us out of it. I felt like Regan had a little more experience with those balls and putting her on the court would just change the pace a little bit too."
On bouncing back from the first set to win the second
"We just have to get the serve receive game back to us, that's kind of the topic of tonight. I think we're a really good team when we're in system and I think they're a really good team when they're in system. It's just who's going to go a little bit harder in the serve and serve receive game. I think the second set, we served a lot tougher. One of the things I talked to girls about before we got on the court was you just gotta hit it. If they serve out of bounds, they serve out of bounds. You probably saw that at some point we were serving a lot out of bounds. So we were just going for it. It was a big deal for us to get that serving game down." 
On Jamye Cox's performance
"I think in that libero position we have camaraderie, friendship, competition going on and it's fun. When you see them in practice, they kind of help each other out and that's kind of the dream of a coach, you have a team that in practice they go at it, and then they stay off and practice and they help each other out and then on a game day they have each other's back. It's really been like that this entire preseason. With Jamye, you saw what she served in the fourth set and I remember looking at Ryan (Leary) and I said, 'There's no better person right now on our team to serve this.' Because she's been in these kinds of games a lot. I think that's also a learning experience from some of the younger girls on the team to talking to her and hey what was your mindset when you were back there?"
On Beatrice Badini
"We watched film today and we talked a little bit. She is getting used to a lot here. She's a great kid, great teammate, wants to be good, and is really hard on herself. Also, she's going to grad school and English is her second language so that means a lot of papers have to be written so she's going through a lot right now. But she wants to be really good and she wants to do what's best for the team. I love how she made the adjustments she made from what we watched film on. She's very coachable and she's a good player, so she's going to help us a lot. If we pass better, we would have had a lot better chance to give her more balls. There were probably two sets we didn't give her any balls. So, once we started involving her it opened up other people too."

Junior Libero Annika Larson
On playing alongside Jamye Cox 
"We have really good camaraderie and I think having her in the gym has pushed me to be better. It has helped a lot of the other girls understand what it means to work hard every single day in practice. When you're putting the team first, it's a better environment and it helps us all get better. We're friends on and off the court, so it helps because we have good chemistry." 

On biggest takeaway from the match
"We all have good chemistry. I think going forward, it's just those couple points and it's a learning experience. We lose, we learn. Taking what happened today and being able to use it the best way in practice. We fought in the fourth set and so we showed that we can do it, it's just when that fifth second comes around. We have to be worried about our side and not what they're going to do."

On adjustments during match
"Last year was a big learning curve for me. This year I've had to take it (more responsibility) on and confidence has been a big thing I've been working on. (Louisville) pushed the pace which was good. We need to see that (scenario) because that's what happens in the Pac-12. Once we got dialed in, it was just a confidence thing. We're a younger team, but I don't think that should be an excuse. We bounced back in that second set, which was really good. I'm really proud of how my teammates turned it around and gave everyone opportunities."

On Meadow Cooper's collegiate debut
"Meadow's awesome, she is my little stud. I love all the liberos because we are all there for each other. I know what it's like to be a freshman and be in her shoes. I'm really proud of her because she was so engaged and was ready to go. That's what we needed. It's going to be awesome to have her out there." 

Set One: No. 13 Louisville 25, Arizona State 15 
The Sun Devils struggled early in the first set against the Cardinals, as ASU called its first timeout of the set 6-2. The home team responded with a 3-0 run which cut the deficit to one, 7-6. Although the Sun Devils eventually dropped the first set, ASU gathered momentum toward the end with a 4-0 run to make it 22-15. 

Set Two: Arizona State 26, No. 13 Louisville 24
The Sun Devils came out strong in the second set, scoring seven of the first 10 points. Despite having seven service errors in the set, ASU withstood multiple scoring runs by Louisville to make it a back-and-forth affair. Arizona State called its last timeout being down 24-23, facing a set point for Louisville. The Sun Devils put together a 3-0 run to close out the set, 26-25, capped off with an Isanovic service ace that scraped off the tape. ASU came through in the second set that saw 14 ties and seven lead changes.

Set Three: No. 13 Louisville 25, Arizona State 17
The third set began with the two teams trading points, neither able to put together a run. After Louisville scored two straight to go up 14-11, ASU called its first timeout. The Sun Devils were not able to string together a run of more than two points, allowing the Cardinals to run away with it late in the set. The visiting team closed out the frame on a 4-0 run.

Set Four: Arizona State 26, No. 13 Louisville 24
Despite being down 4-1 early in the set, ASU fought back in it to take an 8-7 lead. After that, it was back and forth with kills from Isanovic and Levinska powering the team. The Cardinals went on a 4-1 run that put them up 20-16, the largest lead of the set for them. Down but not out, Arizona State went on a 5-1 run that saw kills from four different Sun Devils to tie it at 22-22. A Isanovic kill made the set all square at 22-22 which was her 10th of the match. Two Louisville errors gave Arizona State room to come back and tie it at 24-24. A kill from Isanovic and an ace from Jamye Cox sealed the 26-24 win.

Set Five: No. 13 Louisville 15, Arizona State 11
In the deciding fifth set, ASU was slow to start as it faced a 6-2 deficit early before its first timeout. A Levinska kill got ASU within five, down 10-5, giving her a 12th kill of the match. The Sun Devils didn't go away, putting together a 4-1 run and forcing Louisville to take its first timeout with its lead at 13-9. Despite cutting the lead to three and fighting off match point, Louisville took the match and gave the Sun Devils their first defeat of the season.

Up Next
Arizona State will have its first road trip next weekend at the Ameritas Players Challenge at Lincoln, Nebraska from September 3-4.