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Isanovic Stellar In Doubleheader Split

Sep 3, 2021

LINCOLN, Neb. - Battling in two five-set matches in one day, Sun Devil Volleyball bounced back from a loss earlier in the day to Georgia and beat Nebraska Omaha on the first day of the Ameritas Players Challenge on Friday. Junior Iman Isanovic surpassed 20 kills in both matches, reaching a career-high 26 in the win over UNO.

Arizona State Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic
Overall thoughts

"I'm really proud of how our team battled today. That first match against Georgia was a tough for us. We could have stayed down after that loss, but I'm so proud of how they came out to play against Omaha. That is a great team, they took Nebraska to five before us. Playing to five is not our ideal situation, of course, but it was a great feeling to come out on top in that last one."
Standout players
"There were a lot of people that really stepped up for us. We knew that Iman was a leader on this team, but seeing her go out there and get the numbers that she did just shows everyone how much she wants to win and help this team. I was also really impressed with our libs in that last match. Annika is another one who steps up in big moments and she really showed against Omaha. I also want to shout out Meadow, she started in her first match and did a great job for us."

Match One: Georgia 3, Arizona State 2
Despite a career high in kills from Iman Isanovic, Arizona State moved to 2-2 on the season after a five-set setback (25-22, 18-25, 25-16, 20-25, 15-7) against Georgia (3-1) to start the tournament.

Notable Stats

  • Arizona State went to five sets for the second match in a row and is now 0-2 on the season when going to five.
  • Junior outside hitter Iman Isanovic gave a stellar performance, collecting a career-high 23 kills on a .314 clip. This was the fourth time in her career earning 20 or more kills in a match. Dating back to last season, she has reached double figures in kills in five-straight matches. She also had six digs and a career-high three assists.
  • At libero, junior Annika Larson has reached double figures in digs in every match so far this season. She had a season-high and match-high 18 digs.
  • Sophomore setter Ella Snyder notched her second double-double of the season with 36 assists and 10 digs. She also had four kills on five attempts, matching her career best she earned in the last match against Louisville.
  • Sophomore outside hitter Marta Levinska had a season-high 13 kills in the setback. She has started the season strong, reaching double figures in kills in all four matches so far. 
  • Leading all players in blocks was sophomore middle blocker Claire Jeter with six total. She also had seven kills and a team-high two aces.
  • Shannon Shields and Roberta Rabelo made their first appearances of the season.

Set One: Georgia 25, Arizona State 22
The Sun Devil volleyball program's inaugural match versus Georgia and the weekend opened with two early kills from Jeter and Isanovic, who would finish with eight kills in the opening set. When UGA called a timeout after ASU tied the set 16-16, both teams were hitting a very close clip of .458 and .428, respectively. Coming out of the timeout, the Bulldogs scored three straight. Georgia created separation after scoring six of a nine-point stretch to create a 22-19 lead. After some back and forth, the Sun Devils would eventually drop the first set, 25-22.

Set Two: Arizona State 25, Georgia 18
The second set opened with ASU taking an early 5-3 lead as a result of an ace by Jeter along with some UGA hitting errors. Junior middle blocker Beatrice Badini had her first kill in the second set to put ASU up by three, 11-8. Three-straight kills by the Bulldogs gave them the lead, 12-11. An 8-1 run that saw kills from Isanovic, Snyder and Badini powered the Sun Devils to a big advantage (19-15) that the Bulldogs would ultimately not be able to overcome. ASU would go on a 6-2 run to win the set, 25-18, taking the win with a block.

Set Three: Georgia 25, Arizona State 16
Finding themselves down by three, two-straight points by the Sun Devils kept them in the second set early, 10-9. Three in a row by Georgia gave it a four point lead (13-9) after an error by ASU, leading to a Sun Devil timeout. After the timeout, the Bulldogs continued their scoring run and would lead, 16-10. A kill from sophomore outside hitter Marta Levinska would help ASU get a stop on offense, 17-12, but Georgia would continue to build upon its lead. A kill by the Bulldogs would give the Sun Devils their largest defeat of the match, 25-16.

Set Four: Arizona State 25, Georgia 20
A block by Snyder and Jeter helped push the lead to three early in the set, 6-3. A kill by Isanovic helped ASU extend its lead but a service error kept Georgia within four, 14-10. Sophomore outside hitter Reagan Tinkle subbed in and got a kill, which pushed ASU's lead to five, 16-11,  and led to Georgia using its second timeout. The Bulldogs came within three after consecutive hitting errors by the Sun Devils, leading ASU to call its first timeout of the set while leading 16-13. A kill by Levinska would put ASU back up by five, but Georgia had a kill along with an ASU error and came back within three. With her 11th kill of the match, Levinska won the set for the Sun Devils, 25-20.

Set Five: Georgia 15, Arizona State 7
In its second-consecutive five-set match, ASU had an early 3-2 lead from a service error by Georgia. However, hitting errors by the Sun Devils gave the Bulldogs the lead. A block from Jeter kept ASU within two, 6-4. With their seventh service ace of the match, the Bulldogs took a three-point lead and then an error by the Sun Devils pushed Georgia's lead to four, 10-6. The Bulldogs would go on a 5-0 run and would take the match on a service ace, 15-7.

Match Two: Arizona State 3, Nebraska Omaha 2
The team bounced back to get that five-set win against Nebraska Omaha (25-21, 23-25, 19-25, 26-24, 15-13), led by career highs from Isanovic and Larson.

Notable Stats

  • Arizona State improved to 3-2 on the year and 1-2 in five-set matches. So far this season, ASU has yet to play in a four-set match. 
  • Despite getting out-blocked 17 to 9, the Sun Devil defense shone, out-digging the Mavericks 84 to 75.
  • Junior libero Annika Larson had a career-high 30 digs in the win and earned her fifth 20-plus dig game of her career (first of the season). She also had a team-high three aces.
  • Following up her career high in the morning match, junior outside hitter Iman Isanovic earned a new career high in kills with 27. This is the fifth time Isanovic has earned 20 or more kills in her career.
  • In her first double-double of the season (fifth of her career), sophomore pin hitter Marta Levinska had 13 kills and 13 digs, matching her personal best in that category. 
  • Sophomore setter Ella Snyder tied her career high in assists with 49 in the victory, collecting an ace, two blocks, two kills and five digs as well.
  • In her first career start, Meadow Cooper had a stellar outing, notching 14 digs, demolishing her previous best of two digs.
  • Another career high number came from sophomore middle blocker Claire Jeter with 13 kills.

Set One: Arizona State 25, Nebraska Omaha 21
The set started out close before the Mavericks were able to create some separation with a 7-2 run to take the 12-7 advantage and force a Sun Devil timeout. ASU scored four in a row with Snyder at the service line to get within one, down 12-11. Sparked by a kill and block from Levinska, Arizona State went on a 5-1 run to take the lead at 16-14. The two teams battled back and forth in the latter part of the set until a kill and an ace by Snyder added to the ASU lead, making it 23-19. The team was able to close out the set 25-21, led by Isanovic's eight kills in the frame.

Set Two: Nebraska Omaha 25, Arizona State 23
Cooper's serves pushed ASU to an early 4-0 scoring run that saw two kills from Jeter to double up UNO, 8-4, and force their first timeout. Back-to-back kills from Isanovic made it six in a row before the Mavericks finally stopped the run and put the score at 10-5. Four UNO kills in a row tied the set at 15-15, bringing ASU's first timeout. After another Mavericks point gave them the lead after the timeout, Isanovic put the ball away to stop the run and start a run of three to go back up 18-16. A late 5-0 burst from UNO led by its block gave the Mavericks the lead and the set, 25-23.

Set Three: Nebraska Omaha 25, Arizona State 19
The Mavericks held onto the momentum to start the third set, jumping out to a 10-5 lead. The Sun Devil offense struggled to click, allowing the Mavericks to put together four in a row and extend their lead to 16-8. Two-straight kills from Isanovic cut into the deficit, making it a 21-16 lead for UNO. The late push wasn't enough, however, as the Mavericks would take the set and the 2-1 lead.

Set Four: Arizona State 26, Nebraska Omaha 24
Despite getting in a hole early, the Sun Devils bounced back with a 6-0 run that saw three blocks to take the 9-7 lead and force a Mavericks timeout. UNO put together four in a row, the last two from blocks, to take back the lead at 12-10, causing an ASU timeout. A 4-0 run for the Sun Devils and two aces in a row from Jamye Cox put them back on top at 15-13. With quick 4-1 run capped off with a block, UNO got back on top, 23-21. An Isanovic kill and an error from the Mavericks knotted it back up at 23-23 before a cross-court kill from Andi Kreiling put the Sun Devils at set point. UNO battled off one set point but an ace from Larson got the 26-24 win and sent them to a fifth set.

Set Five: Arizona State 15, Nebraska Omaha 13
ASU got down 5-1 early in the final frame, but the team climbed back into it with a 3-1 run that saw two kills from Jeter, making the deficit just two, 6-4. After a kill from Isanovic tied it at 7-7, the teams battled back and forth. The Sun Devils took the lead and got up 12-9 with the help of tough serving from Larson. However, the Mavericks scored three straight to tie it up. The teams traded points until a UNO missed serve put ASU at match point, 14-13, and an Isanovic kill won it.

Up Next
Arizona State's final match in the tournament is against the host school No. 4 Nebraska on Saturday at 4 p.m. MST. It will be streamed live on BTN+.