Defense shines in sweep against Cal

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

Notable statistics

  • Arizona State (9-10, 3-4 Pac-12) got back on track with a win over Cal (7-10, 0-7 Pac-12), earning its first straight-set conference win.
  • Both offensive leaders were outside hitters Iman Isanovic and Roberta Rabelo. Isanovic had a match-best 18 while Rabelo earned a new season-high in knockouts with 11.
  • The team’s defense was solid tonight, totaling 11 blocks. Junior Medium Blocker Claire Throw had eight, one from his career high. Isanovic had four blocks, equaling his season high.
  • Defense away from the net was also excellent with three Sun Devils hitting double-digit digs. The chef was superior Annika Larson-Nummer, starting at the libero and getting 19 digs. Second year Jaden Ravnsborg played in the back row for Leah Miller and counted 12 excavations, while the second year Geli Cyr replaced for Rabelo and notched 10 digs.
  • Boosting the attack was the senior setter Shields of Shannon, totaling 38 assists. She also added seven digs.
  • Medium blockers Throw and Andi Kreiling also contributed to the attack. Jeter had eight kills while Kreiling had six. Jeter hit a career-high .800 in the game.
  • Freshman in front Leah Miller was back in action tonight. She had six kills and three blocks.
  • The third set (31-29) was the longest set of the season for the Sun Devils and the seventh longest in program history since volleyball began to expand to 25 in 2008.

The head coach Sanja Tomasevic

Opening Statement:

“Great win for us, we haven’t had one for a while, and at home too. It was a good crowd tonight and I’m really grateful to all those fans who came out. A lot is 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 out taking on this role. Other people had to come and they did a great job.”

On Shields of Shannon

“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 she knows what to do, not to let the score or her teammates affect her game.”

On by Roberta Rabelo two digit kills:

“She did PR this week in practice in her vertical and hit 10 feet, those things kind of go together. We were all like ‘Okay, she’s ready, she’s hitting good shots, she’s training well,” so we thought she’d be ready for tonight, and she did a great job.”

On Leah Miller playing

“I see a bright future for Leah. She’s athletic, she’s smart. She’s a freshman and she has a lot to do. She only played volleyball with us nine days before the start of the semester, so she’s learning in competition, 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’s had off-block games that a freshman usually wouldn’t get. She’s growing ahead of us pretty quickly.”

On preparing for Stanford

“Stanford are an amazing team, obviously. They have a lot of weapons everywhere, but I think we have a chance to fight them, to go out there and compete and try to win. We did than before against good teams and I think we can do it again if we execute.”

Senior outside hitter Iman Isanovic

On mental stamina

“I think it’s a matter of pride. I think we know our value as a team. Cal was pushing us really well. Obviously when we went very far in that last set. At the end of that set , when there was back and forth, it was really important to be determined, to go for everything. You never know what to expect in volleyball because it’s such a fast game. C It’s more instinctive than anything, so I think just having that courage and that will and that pride to not go into the fourth set was really important for us and we finished in that third set.”

on defense

“Our ds and liberos have done such a good job. The last few games we really struggled with our defense and Jaden did such a good job getting the ball up. Volleyball isn’t perfect, it’s Just lift the ball and It was very important for us to break the ice in this aspect and see that we can end Props to Annika and Jaden They did a really good job.

On Roberta Rabelo

“I think Rob has done a really good job. It’s interesting to see her development as a player and as a person. She’s become a very competitive player who really gives her all every day in training. She’s always pushing us and pushing me That competitiveness in the gym is very important because you can never get too comfortable because when you’re comfortable you stagnate So just having Rob in the gym pushing me to be better is a really crucial part of our practice and our team. I think she’s doing a really good job of being a great teammate and a great player.”

Senior setter Shields of Shannon

By becoming more comfortable in the starting role

“I feel like at first it was just to get used to the girls. In our practices, when I wasn’t starting, I wasn’t preparing the starting hitters all the time. So just being able to get into that with training and then with games, I know that Iman supports me, we talked about it, we come home all the time and she says “I have you”, and that just gives me a lot of confidence may my hitter back me up. I felt really good today.”

On what she saw Leah Miller tonight tonight

“She’s a very confident freshman. In training, she works so hard and it’s so great to see our practices go to games. As a setter, I trust her completely even though she’s in first year I don’t really see that age difference as much and I feel like it’s really important on the court I’m pumped for her I felt like she came here with a lot of fire and I didn’t really feel his nerves, which is always great.


First series: ASU 25, Cal 14
The Sun-Devils got off to a good start, opening with a 4-0 lead. ASU was then able to retire immediately thanks to a service error from Cal. A huge block from Isanovic took the team up six points early in the set, up 15-9. The Sun Devils controlled the whole set, never giving up the lead. The team had four blocks in the first set, three of which came from Isanovic alone.

Set 2: ASU 25, Cal 21

This time it was Cal who got off to a good start, taking a 5-2 lead. However, ASU was able to bounce back and even things up at five apiece and take the lead from a Jeter kill. After that, Cal was able to pull away and hold a narrow lead until ASU regained an 18-17 lead thanks to an Isanovic kill. The Sun Devils continued to hold that lead for the remainder of the set. Isanovic got the exclamation mark as he landed a powerful kill from the back row to end the set.

Set 3: ASU 31, Cal, 29

Isanovic started the third set with a kill. The two teams continued to trade points afterwards. A block from Miller and Jeter put ASU up 10-9, forcing Cal to call a timeout. ASU started to pull away slightly, until Cal tied it at 19-19. After that, the two teams continued to play each other, earning extra points. ASU held back four set points for Cal in extras. A marathon rally that saw Ravnsborg rack up four digs ended with Isanovic putting him aside to level 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 conclude thanks to an attacking error from Cal.

The next game for ASU is Sunday, October 16, when they host the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal. This game will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 network.