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Devils Upset No. 14 UCLA In Reverse Sweep

Oct 17, 2021

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Down 2-0 in the match but not out, Sun Devil Volleyball pulled off the reverse sweep to upset No. 14 UCLA for the first time since 2014 in a thrilling five-set battle (20-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-8) at Desert Financial Arena on Sunday afternoon. 

Notable Stats

  • Arizona State (9-10, 2-6 Pac-12) took down UCLA (13-3, 6-2 Pac-12) in ASU's 10th five-set match of the season. They now hold a 3-7 record in five set matches. 
  • This is the first time since November 26, 2014 the Sun Devils have defeated the Bruins and the first time under head coach Sanja Tomasevic.
  • The Sun Devils had their season-high in aces in a match with 11, led by Iman Isanovic and Marta Levinska with three each. 
  • Sophomore Ella Snyder recorded a new season-high in digs and led the match with 20. She also had 46 assists to earn her eighth double-double of the season. Additionally, she had two aces in the win.
  • Junior outside hitter Iman Isanovic had team-high 17 kills and 13 digs. This was her seventh double double of the season and her 18th time reaching double digits in kills this fall. 
  • Junior libero Annika Larson had 10 digs and four assists in the win before leaving with an injury in the fourth set. It was her 13th match this season with double digit digs. She also had two aces in the match. Replacing her was grad libero Jayme Cox. She recorded 4 digs and an ace in the fifth set as part of a crucial run for the Sun Devils. 
  • Freshman outside hitter Geli Cyr recorded her first career double-double in the match, tallying 11 kills and 10 digs.
  • Sophomore pin hitter Marta Levinska had 13 kills and eight digs in the match. It was her 15th time this season reaching double digit kills. She also added five blocks.
  • Sophomore middle blocker Claire Jeter had 10 kills on a .421 clip, which led the offense. She added three blocks as well.
  • In her second start in a row, sophomore middle blocker Claudia Stahlke led all players with a season-high seven blocks. She also added four kills and five digs in the match.


Arizona State Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic

Opening Statement
"Wow. What a fun fight, I'm so proud. The way we approached that fifth set was like we came in to take care of business and carried the momentum from the last two sets. We felt like we were executing things at a higher level. I'm super proud of our girls. I told you guys last time that we'll get ours. We will keep fighting and we'll get ours, and today was a good day to do it. First win against UCLA since 2014 and definitely my first win since i've been a head coach, so it's super fun. Especially with a player like Mac May on the other side who's an absolute beast. She is really really good, it's fun to see our young kids go at it with her."

On how this win feels
"It's fun. Obviously you want to win all the time, but what's good about winning now is that we deserved it, we earned this win. When you play against Pac teams, especially a team like UCLA, they're not going to give you anything. You have to get out there and earn your wins, and I think that's what gives you confidence too. When you earn your win, you know you can earn your win against anyone. We've been talking a lot about earning your points so that way we don't rely on them making mistakes because we can't control that, but you do control you getting your points. I thought we did a good job in the last three sets at getting our points."

On message going into last three set
"We were not done playing. We know what we can do. In the first two sets, we were kind of just in awe of who was on the other side and how good she is. Even between set two and three, I was talking to the staff and I could hear the players talking about Mac May's shots cross court and when she does this, we do this, and I came in the huddle and told them, 'It's not what they do, it's what we're not doing.' She will make plays that make it to SportsCenter and that's how good she is, but we need to execute our plays where we have the ball and it's in our hands. I think that was a big message that carried us into the third set. We have to go out there and do what we're supposed to do and they will do what they're doing but let's not let go."

On the status of Annika Larson's injury
"We don't know anything yet. She is going to see the doctor now and we are hoping it isn't anything serious, so hopefully we get her back soon. But I am so proud of Jamye. She came in and stepped in and she was really good for us. Especially being a libero on Friday then not starting as a libero today. For her to be ready to go and play as well as she did, and to get us on a serving run, which serving has been a struggle for her, but to get on a long serving run in the fifth set was super exciting. I'm so proud of her." 

On the team's mentality heading into next week
"I just know how this team is. They are excited players who are fun to watch. They keep building, they keep growing. They are all growing into their roles and communicating to them what their role is is crucial. They are such a fun group to coach, whether we win or lose. It is a fun group to be around and wins make everything better. I am super excited to get into the gym Tuesday. Tuesday is go time. We are going to get a chance to play a couple of really good players on the road next week, from a couple tough teams. They are good schools to play on the road. Utah has one of the best players in the conference with Dani Drews. One thing we can take away from this match is we beat UCLA with Mac May, so we can do the same thing with Utah and Dani Drews. We are going to continue building on ourselves until we get there and have a scouting report on Thursday night."

Sophomore Setter Ella Snyder
On takeaways from this match
"This is a turning point for us. We've been putting so much into the game, so much into the coaches, so much into each other that we are playing for each other now. We are not on a separate island, we are together and we are ready to fight and take any team. We are going to win. We're there. I think it's exciting and the future of the Sun Devils is bright."

On the mentality to pull off the win
"It was kind of personal. We took it personal, we told ourselves we are not going to lose this game. In the fifth set, we were taking it, for Annika, and just for everything that happened during the game."

Junior outside hitter Iman Isanovic
On takeaways from this match 
"This is a turning point for all the five setters to come hopefully. We are going to take down all the rest of the games that we have in the Pac in a more controlled manner and less heart-racing manner. I think this was a turning point for our team. It means that we can actually do this. Just finally getting the outcome we have worked so hard for, I think this is going to be a big confidence booster for our girls that we kind of lack because of all of those five setters that we played and did not come out victorious. But, we are looking forward to what's to come." 

Mental difference in the fifth set this game
"Honestly, when we played against USC, I would have been more shocked because the game was so up and down. In this match, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that it wasn't going to be our game. We worked so hard, we stayed focused and that's the thing that separated this game from the games we previously played. This game was constant focus, you can see it in everyone's eyes that there was focus and not a doubt in any single player's mind on the court or even on the sidelines that this was going to be ours."


Set One: UCLA 25, Arizona State 21
The match opened with the Bruins taking an early 7-4 lead, but after the two teams traded points back and forth it was 13-10 for UCLA. At the media timeout, the score stood at 15-10 following a service error by ASU and a kill by the Bruins. A 4-0 run, which included two kills by Isanovic, put the Sun Devils within two at 18-16. But two straight points from the Bruins forced an ASU timeout at 20-16. ASU called their final timeout down five at 22-17. UCLA took the set with a final score of 25-20. 

Set Two: UCLA 25, Arizona State 21
UCLA took a quick 2-0 lead but a kill and block by Levinska tied the game up at 3-3. The two teams then went back and forth. A kill by Stahlke gave the Sun Devils their first lead of the set at 8-7, but a 4-0 run by the Bruins forced an ASU timeout with a two point deficit at 11-9. ASU called their final timeout of the set after another run by the Bruins put the score at 15-12. After trailing 19-15, ASU went on a 4-0 run to tie the game and force a Bruins timeout. UCLA went on a 6-0 run to end the second set with another win at 25-21. 

Set Three: Arizona State 25, UCLA 20
The two teams opened the match trading points back and forth but a 6-1 run by the Sun Devils put them up four at 10-6 and forced a Bruins timeout. UCLA then went on a run of their own to cut the ASU lead to one at 11-10 before the Sun Devils called a timeout. Out of the timeout, ASU went on a 4-2 run, which included a block and kill by Isanovic to lead by three. Two kills and two aces by the Sun Devils put them up five and forced a Bruins timeout at 20-15. UCLA fought back and cut the ASU lead to two before the Sun Devils called their final timeout at 22-20. Out of the timeout, the Sun Devils scored three straight to win the third set 25-20. 

Set Four: Arizona State 25, UCLA 22
The Sun Devils and Bruins had an early 4-4 tie to start the fourth set. The ties continued throughout the set until the Sun Devils went on a 5-1 run, which included an ace and kill by Isanovic, to take a three point lead at 19-16. An ace by Levinska and a kill by Jeter gave the Sun Devils the four point lead at 23-19. An attack error by the Bruins and a block by the Sun Devils gave ASU the fourth set win at 25-22. 

Set Five: Arizona State 15, UCLA 8
The Sun Devils carried the momentum into the fifth set after two aces by Isanovic gave them a 4-1 lead to start the set. Kills by Cyr and Jeter and two errors by UCLA saw ASU up six at 8-2, forcing a Bruins timeout. An ace and two kills by the Sun Devils gave them an eight point lead at 12-4. A kill and a block by Stahlke sealed the deal and the Sun Devil victory at 15-8. 

Up Next
Arizona State will travel to the mountain schools to take on Utah on Friday at 5 p.m. MST and Colorado on Sunday at 11 a.m. MST.