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Defense Shines In Sweep Against Cal

Oct 14, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz. — With three in double-digit digs and two with double-digit kills, Sun Devil Volleyball beat Cal in straight sets (25-14, 25-21, 31-29) in Desert Financial Arena on Friday night. 

Notable Stats

  • Arizona State (9-10, 3-4 Pac-12) got back on track with a win over Cal (7-10, 0-7 Pac-12), getting their first three-set win of conference play. 
  • The two leading the offense were outside hitters Iman Isanovic and Roberta Rabelo. Isanovic had a match-high 18 while Rabelo earned a new season high in kills with 11. 
  • The team's defense was strong tonight, as they totaled 11 blocks. Junior middle blocker Claire Jeter had eight, one away from her career high. Isanovic had four blocks, matching her season best.
  • The defense away from the net was stellar as well with three Sun Devils reaching double-digit digs. The leader was senior Annika Larson-Nummer, starting at libero and getting 19 digs. Sophomore Jaden Ravnsborg played in the back row for Leah Miller and tallied 12 digs, while sophomore Geli Cyr subbed in for Rabelo and notched 10 digs.
  • Pacing the offense was senior setter Shannon Shields, tallying 38 assists. She also added seven digs.
  • Middle blockers Jeter and Andi Kreiling contributed on offense as well. Jeter had eight kills while Kreiling had six. Jeter hit a career-high .700 in the match.
  • Freshman opposite Leah Miller was back in action tonight. She tallied six kills and three blocks.
  • The third set (31-29) was the longest set of the season for the Sun Devils and seventh-longest in program history since volleyball started going to 25 in 2008.

Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic 
Opening Statement:

"Nice win for us, we haven't had one of these in a while, and at home, too. It was a good crowd tonight and I'm really grateful for all of these fans coming in. I know there's a lot going on in Tempe tonight and the support really helped at the end of the third set. I'm really proud of the girls. Marta (Levinska) was out tonight and I loved what Leah did coming in and stepping in and taking on that role. Some other people had to come in and they did a great job."

On Shannon Shields
"Shannon has a really good heart, she's a special kid. Most setters have a lot of attitude and a lot of swagger, that comes with the position. But Shannon isn't like that - she'll take [corrections] from anyone. She knows what she's doing, she's a good volleyball player and knows what to do, to just not let the score or her teammates affect her playing."

On Roberta Rabelo's double-digit kills:
"She PR'ed this week in practice in her vertical and touched 10 feet, those things kind of go hand in hand. We were all like 'okay, she's ready, she's hitting good shots, she's practicing well,' so we thought that she would be ready for tonight, and she did an excellent job."

On Leah Miller playing
"I see a bright future for Leah. She's athletic, she's smart. She's a freshman and has a lot on her plate. She was playing volleyball with us for only nine days before the semester started, so she's learning as she's competing, which can be tough. I think for her to come out and play tonight as well as she did when we needed her was great. She blocked, she got digs, she got some off-block plays that a freshman wouldn't typically get. She's growing up in front of us pretty fast."

On preparing for Stanford
"Stanford is an unbelievable team, obviously. They have a lot of weapons everywhere, but I think we have a chance to put up a good fight against them, to go out there and compete and try to get a win. We've done that before against good teams and I think we can do that again if we execute."
 

Senior Outside Hitter Iman Isanovic
On Mental Stamina

"I think it's a pride thing. I think we know our value as a team. Cal was pushing us really well. Obviously when we went really far in that last set. At the end of that set when it was back and forth it was really important to be determined, to go for everything. You never know what to anticipate in volleyball because it's such a fast game. It's more instinct than anything else, so I think that just having that grit and will and that pride of not going into the fourth set was really important for us and we finished in that third set."

On the defense
"Our ds and liberos did such a good job. The last few games we were really struggling with our defense and Jaden did such a good job of getting the ball up. Volleyball isn't perfect, you just need to get the ball up and she was getting those balls up. It was very important for us to break the ice in that aspect and see that we can terminate. Props to Annika and Jaden. They did a really good job."

On Roberta Rabelo 
"I think Rob did a really great job. It's interesting to see her development as a player and a person. She's developed into a very competitive player that's really going all out everyday in practice. She's always pushing us and pushing me. That competitiveness in the gym is very important because you can never be too comfortable because when you're comfortable then you stagnate. So just having Rob in the gym to push me to be better is a really crucial part of our practice and our team. I think she's doing a really great job being a great teammate and a great player." 

Senior Setter Shannon Shields
On becoming more comfortable in the starting role

"I feel like in the beginning it was just getting used to the girls. In our practices when I wasn't starting, I wasn't setting the starting hitters all the time. So just being able to get into that with practice and then with games, I know Iman's got my back. We've talked about it, we drive home all the time and she's like, "I have you," and that just gives me a lot of confidence that my hitter has my back. I felt really great today."

On what she saw from Leah Miller tonight tonight 
"She's a really confident freshman. In practice she works so hard and it's just so great to see our practices go to games. As her setter, I trust her completely even though she's a freshman, I don't really see that difference in age as much and I feel like that's really important on the court. I'm pumped for her, I felt like she came out here with a lot of fire and I didn't really feel her nerves which is always great."
 

Set One: ASU 25, Cal 14
The Sun-Devils got off to a hot start, opening with a 4-0 lead. ASU was then able to immediately sideout thanks to a service error by Cal. A huge block by Isanovic put the team up by six early in the set, up 15-9. The Sun Devils controlled the entire set, never giving up the lead.  The team had four blocks in the first set, with three of those coming from Isanovic alone. 

Set Two: ASU 25, Cal 21
This time, it was Cal who got off to a hot start, taking a 5-2 lead. However, ASU was able to bounce back and tie things up at five apiece and take the lead off of a kill by Jeter. After that, Cal was able to sideout and hold a narrow lead until ASU took a 18-17 lead again thanks to a kill by Isanovic. The Sun Devils continued to hold that lead for the remainder of the set. Isanovic had the exclamation point by getting a powerful kill out of the back row to end the set.  

Set Three: ASU 31, Cal, 29
Isanovic started the third set off with a kill. The two teams continued to trade points after that. A block by Miller and Jeter put ASU up 10-9, causing Cal to call a timeout. ASU started to pull away slightly, until Cal tied it up at 19-19. After that, the two teams continued to battle it out, going into extra points. ASU held off four set points for Cal in extras. A marathon rally that saw Ravnsborg rack up four digs ended with Isanovic putting it away to tie it up at 26-26. The Sun Devils' first match point came at 28-27, but the Bears responded and the back and forth continued. Finally, the Sun Devils were able to close things out thanks to an attack error by Cal. 

Up Next
The next game for ASU is Sunday, October 16, when they host the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal. That match will be live on the Pac-12 Network.