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Block Not Enough In Five-Set Loss To No. 20 UW

Nov 13, 2022

TEMPE, Ariz. – Despite a season high in blocks, Sun Devil Volleyball came up short in five sets to No. 20 Washington (18-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-27, 15-8) on Sunday at Desert Financial Arena.

Notable Stats

  • Arizona State (11-17, 5-11 Pac-12) is now 4-3 in five set matches this season after falling to Washington (18-8, 10-6 Pac-12).
  • The Sun Devils out blocked the Huskies 15-to-4. The ASU block number was a season high.
  • The leading hitter for the Sun Devils was Iman Isanovic with 21 kills, her second match this season with 20 or more kills, 12th of her career. Her kill total matched her season high from Oregon State back on October 2. She also had five digs. 
  • Shannon Shields led the team with 30 assists and also had 16 digs making it her fourth double-double of the season. Her dig total was a career high, surpassing her previous high of 14 achieved earlier this season.
  • The other Sun Devil to reach double figures in kills was Marta Levinska with 12. She also matched her season high in blocks with six and had six digs.
  • Junior Claudia Stahlke led the way with nine total blocks. Additionally, Claire Jeter had six blocks as well as six digs.
  • With her 14 digs this afternoon, senior libero Annika Larson-Nummer has now had double-digit digs in 12-straight matches. She also had five assists.
  • Sophomore Geli Cyr came into the fourth set in the libero spot after playing outside the first three sets, the first time in her career at libero. On the afternoon, she had 10 digs and eight kills along with three assists.

Head Coach Sanja Tomasevic
Opening Statement:

"Good game, I wish that the outcome was different. I thought we underperformed in the fifth set. We need to do better when we put ourselves in the position of playing five (sets) against a really good team. In that fifth set, we got three kills on 18 attempts and that's very tough to win a game when you only get three kills."

On what went right with blocking today and Claudia Stahlke's recent success:
"Claudia's always been our blocker and that's her foretay and so that's her job on our team. That's her job, she did a great job today like she did last time against them (Washington) blocking. I'm really proud of her."

On changing Geli Cyr to the libero position in the fourth set:
"We couldn't pass, and so Geli is our best passer. They were serving toward Annika (Larson-Nummer), so I had to find a solution for that. Geli's been a steady passer for awhile and Rob has been in and out of the lineup for awhile with Geli. So when we made that switch, Geli was hitting 14 percent. Let's relieve people in the back row by putting her as a libero and I thought she did a great job. That's what she's really good at, her platform is really nice and understands angles really well. We wanted to make sure we can use that." 

On Iman Isanovic's performance today:
"She had a really good match today, she hit 30 percent against one of the top teams in the conference with 21 kills, so that's tough. Washington knew the ball was going to her too, it's not like she had one block or one-and-a-half blocks, so I thought she did a really good job when she was put in position to put the ball down. When the ball was at the net, I thought she was really good, patient with her swings. I thought the team did a great job today covering her, and that's something we've emphasized in a conversation as a team. When we hit high hands, we want to make sure that we cover so we can give them another ball to hit harder and deeper."

Senior outside hitter Iman Isanovic
On falling short in five sets

"We thought we had them in a really good spot. I think we were fighting really hard. We were getting good digs and putting in good effort. In the fifth set we came up a little bit short. They are an experienced team. It is what it is. It definitely stings after going long and hard in a five-setter. It ended how it ended and I think we can learn from and focus on the rest of the season." 

On players switching positions 
"Well obviously this is the first time this season that Geli (Cyr) switched to the libero position. My initial thought was this is going to be good. Geli knows how to pass, she knows how to defend us. I think it was very important for us to be there for her. We rallied as a team before the beginning of the fourth set. We need to do what we need to do as a team. Each of our roles is to win. Sure enough, we really fought against Washington in that set and won 27-25. It was tough but the effort that everyone was putting in and the consistent communication was there. That was a key part of us winning that fourth set and maybe was lacking a little bit in the fifth. But overall I think Geli did a great job and we, as a team, tried to be there for her." 

Set One: ASU 25, UW 18
The Huskies took an early 5-3 lead to open the match off a kill and the Sun Devils tied up the set 7-7 off an error by UW. ASU took its first lead of the match at 11-10 off a block from Jeter, and the two teams traded points until the Huskies took a timeout with the Sun Devils up 15-13 off a dump by Shields. ASU created some separation to lead 19-16 off an ace by Isanovic. UW called its second timeout with the Sun Devils ahead by five, 22-17, off a kill from Cyr. ASU ended the set on a 6-1 run and won it 25-18.

Set Two: UW 25, ASU 19
The Huskies took a 6-2 lead to start the second set and created more separation to be up 9-4. ASU climbed back within two at 10-8 off a 3-0 spurt. The Sun Devils called a timeout down 15-11 after an ace by Washington and the Huskies were on a 4-0 run until Jeter had a kill. UW called a timeout up 18-15 after a hitting error and a kill from Jeter. Kills from Isanovic and Levinska brought the Sun Devils within two, 20-18. But from there, UW went on a 5-1 run to win the set 25-19.

Set Three: UW 25, ASU 16
The Sun Devils took an early 5-3 lead off a kill by Levinska, but the Huskies had two kills to tie up the set 5-5. From there, the two teams went back and forth until the Sun Devils called a timeout down 15-12 after a 3-0 run. UW increased their run to a 6-0 run and led 18-12, and the run stopped on a kill from Levinska. Jeter had her fifth block of the afternoon on UW's set point, but the Huskies held on to win 25-16. 

Set Four: ASU 27, UW 25
Cyr subbed in as libero to start the fourth set where the two teams opened the frame with a 4-4 tie. The teams were neck and neck with neither team creating any separation until Washington took a 17-15 lead, leading into a timeout by the Sun Devils. ASU tied up the set on an Isanovic kill 19-19 and they took the 20-19 lead on an ace by Meadow Cooper. The Huskies took a timeout with the Sun Devils up 23-20 on a 6-1 run. Back-to-back kills by Washington brought them within one 23-22, and they tied the set 24-24. The Sun Devils took the set, 27-25, on a block off Jeter and Roberta Rabelo to force a deciding fifth set.

Set Five: UW 15, ASU 8
The Huskies opened the set ahead 6-2 off consecutive kills and a block. Coming off the timeout, ASU brought it within two 6-4 off a kill by Isanovic and a hitting error by Washington. The Huskies created some separation to be ahead 11-6, where the Sun Devils called their second timeout. UW pulled ahead 13-7 off a kill and held on to win the match, 15-8.

Up Next
Sun Devil Volleyball is back on the road next weekend as they travel to the Bay Area to take on No. 8  Stanford on Thursday at 8 p.m. MST and will face Cal on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. MST.  Thursday's match can be viewed on Pac-12 Bay Area and the matchup with Cal can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.