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Sun Devils Fall In Five To USC

Oct 15, 2021

TEMPE, Ariz. - Despite a strong showing on defense, Sun Devil Volleyball came up short against USC in another five set battle (19-25, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 16-14) in Desert Financial Arena on Friday night.

Notable stats

  • Arizona State (8-10, 1-6 Pac-12) dropped the match against USC (8-8, 4-3 Pac-12) in ASU's ninth five set match of the season. They hold a 2-7 record in five set matches. 
  • The Sun Devils had their season-high in aces in a match with 10, led by Iman Isanovic and Claire Jeter with three each.
  • Sophomore pin hitter Marta Levinska had a match-high 17 kills along with 14 digs for her seventh double-double of the season. This is her 14th match reaching double digits in kills on the season and a new season high in kills.
  • Sophomore Ella Snyder had 40 assists, her fifth match with 40 or more assists this season. She has reached 40+ assists in consecutive matches. Also tallying 11 digs, this is Snyder's seventh double-double of the season.
  • Junior outside hitter Iman Isanovic had 15 kills as well as eight digs. This is Isanovic's 17th match of the season reaching double figures in kills. 
  • Sophomore middle blocker Claire Jeter matched her career high in aces with three. Jeter also had eight kills and two blocks in the setback. 
  • Freshman outside hitter Geli Cyr reached a career in digs with 14, also adding seven kills, three assists and two blocks in the match.
  • Grad libero Jamye Cox started and played the entirety of the match in the libero spot for the Sun Devils. Cox had 17 digs, her second match in a row reaching double figures in digs. That number matched her season high. She also had five assists.
  • Coming off the bench, junior Annika Larson collected nine digs and had a perfect serve reception percentage on 22 attempts, the most on the team.
  • Sophomore middle blocker Claudia Stahlke had her first start of the season for ASU. She had two kills along with three blocks.


Head coach Sanja Tomasevic
Opening statement

"We started off really strong, I thought we were going to be done in three sets. But then the wheels just fell off. I think in the first set [USC] made a lot of mistakes, and we let them get in a rhythm. Then the fifth set is always a game on its own, I think we had three missed serves and they had none. I'm proud of our girls, they keep fighting and we will get ours."

On executing on a perfect pass
"We need to kill the ball with a perfect pass; the other team is killing the ball. USC tonight killed the ball 53 percent of the time on perfect passes, we did six percent. Perfect passes are hard to come by, especially at this level, and some of these serves were wicked. We can't not kill the ball at least half the time."

On playing veteran teams with in-state talent
"That team is loaded with super seniors, there's like five or six of them over there. The local kid (Kalen Owes), another local kid who leaves the state and goes to another Pac-12 school. But somehow they all want to play well when they come home and I would too but we need to keep Arizona kids in Arizona."

On liberos Annika Larson and Jamye Cox
"Those two are going to keep going at it, I know they will for the rest of the season. It's kind of cool because they're like each other's biggest fans and best competition. They're both playing a lot on the court regardless, they both get on the court for Iman or Marta in the back row. As a coach, you have to keep that competition and to keep that competition you have to stay true to your word. If somebody is doing better than the other person, you have to give them a shot. They earned it."

On looking ahead to the UCLA match
"Everything we work on shows up for the game, so the only thing is you're limited with time. You're limited in days and between matches, so you also have to give them rest. We didn't spend a lot of time last week on serving and passing, but this week we did, so here were the results. But we didn't spend a lot of time on blocking this week and we probably should have. That's the beauty of being a coach, you have to learn how to manage your time. UCLA's a lot better than these guys, we have to go out there and get kills. We're going to have to play defense and play better than we did tonight and we're going to have to hit our serve."

Sophomore pin hitter Marta Levinska
On the mood after another fifth set

"We have had a few of those. I guess we're just trying to get ourselves out of playing that fifth set. The first two sets were in our hands, we had the momentum. We just have to keep pushing. This fifth set was obviously a lot of pressure, but that will come with more experience."

On preparing for Sunday's match
"I think coaches will definitely analyze the game and come up with a plan tomorrow to get ready. I think we're definitely going to change some things. We will probably work on siding out on perfect passes because we had good passes and a lot of times we didn't execute. So we're going to work on that."


Set One: Arizona State 25, USC 19
An ace from Isanovic along with an error by USC gave the Sun Devils an early 5-2 edge. Back-to-back blocks by the Trojans tied the set 7-7, but a 5-0 run by ASU that included consecutive aces by Jeter gave the Sun Devils a 13-8 lead. The run continued after a USC timeout with a kill from Isanovic but stopped on a Trojan kill. USC had a quick run to cut its deficit to one, but a kill from Isanovic and an error by the Trojans gave ASU a 20-17 lead. ASU would take the set, 25-19, on Jeter's third ace of the set. The Trojans had nine service errors to the Sun Devils' three in the first set.

Set Two: Arizona State 25, USC 19
ASU opened the set with an early 5-2 lead after a block from Jeter. A kill and an ace by Cyr along with an Isanovic kill gave the Sun Devils an 8-4 lead after back-to-back points from USC. A kill from Levinska helped ASU increase its lead to eight, 15-7, which led to the Trojans taking their second timeout of the set. A kill from Levinska along with a kill from Jeter gave ASU a nine-point edge later in the second set, 18-9. The Trojans had a 3-0 spurt to cut their deficit to six, 21-15, which led to a Sun Devil timeout. ASU would seal the deal in the second set on a Jeter kill, 25-19.

Set Three: USC 25, Arizona State 13
The Sun Devils and the Trojans had a 5-5 tie early in the third set. The trend of ties continued throughout the set until the Trojans went on a quick 3-0 run to lead, 15-12. ASU took its first timeout of the set, but USC continued its run, jumping out to a six point lead, 18-12. After the Sun Devils took their second timeout, Isanovic had a kill to stop a 6-0 run by USC. The Trojans ended the set on a 7-0 run to take the set, 25-13.

Set Four: USC 25, Arizona State 21
An ace from Levinska gave the Sun Devils a 6-4 lead, but three in a row from USC tied the set. Kills from Isanovic and Jeter gave ASU a 14-10 lead, leading to a timeout from the Trojans. Three-straight points by USC tied the set at 16-16, which led to the Sun Devils taking their first timeout. The Trojans went on a 6-0 run to take a 23-17 lead with the run stopping on a kill from Isanovic and a block from Snyder and Stahlke. A Trojan service error and an ace from Snyder on USC's set point cut the deficit to three, 24-21. The Trojans won the set on a service error by ASU, 25-21. 

Set Five: USC 16, Arizona State 14
USC and ASU were tied early in the fifth set 3-3, but a 4-0 run gave the Trojans a 7-3 edge. The Sun Devils took a timeout, where a kill from Jeter trimmed ASU's deficit to three, 8-5. ASU took its second timeout trailing USC, 11-7, and coming out of the timeout, Levinska had a kill and Isanovic had an ace to trail by just two, 11-9. A service error by ASU along with a block by USC brought the lead for the Trojans back up to three, 13-10. The Sun Devils held off two match points after successful challenges on plays to make it 14-13. A hitting error by the Trojans tied the set, 14-14. USC ultimately won the match on a hitting error by ASU, 16-14.

Up Next
Arizona State will finish their four-match homestand against No. 14 UCLA on Sunday at 1 p.m. MST. The match can be viewed on the Pac-12 Network.