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Sun Devils Fall In Five To Wildcats

Sep 23, 2021

TEMPE, Ariz. - Sun Devil Volleyball opened Pac-12 play on Thursday in DFA, falling just short to in-state rival Arizona in another five set match (23-25, 25-16, 25-17, 21-25, 15-9).

Notable Stats

  • Arizona State (7-5, 0-1) forced a fifth set after being down 2-1 in the match to Arizona (8-3, 1-0) in its sixth five-set match of the season to open conference play. They are now 2-4 in those matches. 
  • Junior outside hitter Iman Isanovic led the Sun Devils with 13 kills this evening along with 11 digs. This was her fourth double-double of the season, 10th of her career.
  • Sophomore middle blocker Claire Jeter had 12 kills on a team-best .348 clip for ASU tonight. She also had four blocks, a team-high.
  • Junior libero Annika Larson had 20 digs in the setback, her eighth time (third in a row) in her career having 20 or more digs in a match.
  • Sophomore setter Ella Snyder had 29 assists to lead the offense, as well as five digs. Seeing time at setter late in the second set and the third set, junior Shannon Shields earned six assists and seven digs. 
  • Freshman outside hitter Geli Cyr saw action in the fourth and fifth set where she earned her career high in kills with four. 

Arizona State Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic
Opening Statement

"Tough one. We played tough and we never gave up at any point, but our offense couldn't get it going today. And even though our serve receive wasn't in bad shape, we just couldn't hit well. So, it's a tough night when we have our two best players hit low numbers. We need more from them to win games."

On the fifth set
"They started hitting out of the back court, which they hadn't done for much of the match. They did it occasionally but not as much as in the fifth set. So, they made an adjustment and we knew it would come, but we need to make a better adjustment. We did feel like we just lost control. Not to take away from U of A, I think they have really good young talented players, but I think we lost the match." 

On trying to limit runs 
"We need to make it one and done. When we get a perfect pass, we need to execute. And that's not just on the setters, that's on the hitters too. If the setter trusts you to set you a ball, you better put it away. It's just disappointing. Today we took some really low, cross-court swings right at their best blockers. So, we need to do a better job of seeing the block and hitting the shot that we should." 

On what the team can learn from tonight's match 
"I hope we can learn from this. If I were them, I would be sick and tired of losing in five. At some point, nobody can want it more than you do. Nobody can work harder than you do. No ball can go down without four or five people hitting the floor. I think that fifth set just got away. I remember us just making some hesitant mistakes. If we hit the ball hard to the deep corner and it goes out, fine. But we hit low, cross court into the middle blocker to get blocked. Or, we miss a serve, just slow sailing ball out of bounds. We missed 19 serves tonight. That's almost a whole set just on missed serves. That is definitely something I think we can control. I will challenge my team to control that stuff."   

On adjustments for Sunday's match with Oregon
"We're going to have to do a lot better, Oregon is a really good team. They got weapons from all of the sides, they have really good offense, literally from every cylinder: every middle, every right side, every outside is good on their team. We're going to have to play a lot better, we're going to have to serve a lot better."

Sophomore middle blocker Claire Jeter
On going into the fifth set after winning the fourth

"I feel like after the fourth set, we were really hype and we were feeding into all the energy that everyone was giving us. We talked before the fifth set that we need to loosen up and not miss as many serves and then work on being smart with our shots. I wish we brought more of that into the fifth set, but I feel like as a whole, we were feeding off of the energy but just got a little tight."

On fan impact during this match
"I can't speak for everyone, but I'm pretty sure everyone loves the fans. The energy is always there, win or lose we know they have our back. I think that we play better with fans and we always will."

On what can be taken away from this match 
"I think that we tend to win certain sets and then lose sets by a pretty big range. I feel like we get a little in our heads and a little tight. I feel like our team just needs to loosen up a little bit and just have a little more fun on the court. Once we do that, we will be able to win. On the fifth set, we just don't have enough time to make errors and redeem ourselves. If we could just step out on the court and play our game from the beginning, we would have the fifth set easily." 

Set One: Arizona State 25, Arizona 23
The Wildcats took an early 6-3 lead, but back-to-back kills by Isanovic brought the Sun Devils within one. ASU then went on a 6-0 run that began with a kill and an ace by Jeter to give the Sun Devils the edge, 11-7. The Wildcats went on an 8-0 run to regain the lead, 15-11, after errors by ASU and kills from Arizona. The Sun Devils then used a 7-2 run to regain the lead, 18-17, after a hitting error from the Wildcats. Following Arizona's second timeout, ASU saw itself up by four, 23-19, after a kill by Jeter. The Wildcats cut their deficit to one, 24-23, but a kill from Kreiling sealed the set for the Sun Devils.

Set Two: Arizona 25, Arizona State 16
Arizona jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead to take the early momentum. ASU put together a 5-0 run to take the lead, 7-6. However, the Wildcats responded by scoring five in a row to lead by seven, 17-10. The Sun Devils had two in row with a block by Jeter and Shields to drop the deficit to six, 21-15, but Arizona went on a 4-0 run to take the set, 25-16.

Set Three: Arizona 25, Arizona State 17
The Wildcats took a third set lead with an 11-4 lead, which saw a 6-0 run by Arizona after errors by ASU. The Sun Devils cut the lead to four, 15-11, after a hitting error by the Wildcats and a kill from Roberta Rabelo. ASU cut the deficit to three on a block from Isanovic, 18-15, but the Wildcats went on a quick 3-0 run to bring the lead back to six, 21-15. The Wildcats took the set and lead of the match on a kill, 25-17.

Set Four: Arizona State 25, Arizona 21
Kills by Isanovic and Jeter gave ASU an early 5-3 lead to open the fourth set, and the Sun Devils maintained their lead throughout the earlier part of the set and led, 10-8. The Wildcats went on a 6-1 run to take a 14-11 advantage, but a block from Jeter and Snyder brought ASU back within one. A kill from Cyr and an ace from Isanovic tied the set for the Sun Devils, 16-16, leading to a timeout called by the Wildcats. Kills by Cyr and Beatrice Badini led to ASU going on a 4 -0 run to increase its lead, 21-17. A kill by Jeter won the set for ASU, 25-21, leading ASU into its sixth five-set match of the season.

Set Five: Arizona 15, Arizona State 9
ASU jumped out quickly to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set from consecutive kills by Isanovic and an error by Arizona. The Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to take a 12-7 lead, with the run finally ending on a kill by Levinska. The Wildcats pulled away with the fifth set, 15-9, to take the match. 

Up Next
Arizona State will host No. 13 Oregon on Sunday at 12 p.m. MST at Desert Financial Arena. The match will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.