The Arizona State volleyball team came into the Rebel Challenge in Las Vegas boasting a 6-3 record after facing some adversity early in non-conference play. However, the Sun Devils finished up non-conference play strong, winning both matches in the Sin City.
Match One: UNLV (3-6)
In Ivana Jeremic’s return to the court the Sun Devils beat UNLV in five sets (21-25, 25-19, 25-16, 20-25, 15-9) in the first match of the Rebel Challenge on Thursday night at Cox Pavilion.
Jeremic finished with nine kills on a .318 shooting percentage. In her return the Sun Devils hit .321, the highest percentage of the season and the first time getting over .300.
Jeremic’s return could provide a very balanced attack for ASU as she would pair nicely with junior Andrea Mitrovic. Mitrovic led the Devils in kills in the five set match, with 16. Her roll continues as she has had double-digit kills in every match this season but one.
Claire Kovensky, another junior outside hitter, reached double figures in kills as well with 13. She had a season-high hitting percentage of .273.
Senior Callie Jones earned a career-high in digs with 15 and a season-high in assists, with 30. She surpassed her previous high of 14 digs at Oregon State last season. This was also her second double-double of the year.
Senior libero Courtney Leffel and freshman middle blocker Kennedi Boyd had efficient nights. Leffel reached double figures in digs for the 14th match in a row, notching 20. Boyd, who is replacing the usual starter Megan Beedie, had seven kills on a .455 clip. Her seven kills total tied her career high.
The win set the tone for the last game of the weekend and non-conference play, a matchup against senior transfers Jada Burse’s former team.
Match Two: Kansas (4-4)
The Sun Devils had tremendous success from the outside as Arizona State volleyball swept Kansas (25-19, 25-20, 25-17) in the final match of the Rebel Challenge on Friday afternoon at Cox Pavilion.
Arizona State’s outside hitters all earned eight or more kills in the sweep. Freshman Iman Isanovic was the only Sun Devil with double digits, as she had 10 kills. Claire Kovensky and Andrea Mitrovic both finished with nine while Ivana Jeremic had 8.
The Sun Devils did sweep the Jayhawks but Kansas did stop one streak. Senior libero Courtney Leffel’s streak of double-digit digs came to an end at 14 in a row. She had eight in the match.
Role players stepped up big for the Devils. Kennedi Boyd continued to impress in Beedie’s absence as she led ASU in blocks with four. She also had two kills. Callie Jones had 18 assists in the win, as well as eight digs. She is continuing to earn all the reps at the setter spot.
The Sun Devils are headed back to Tempe on Thursday, hosting in-state rival Arizona for the home opener and the first match of Pac-12 play. The match will start at 7 p.m. MST at Wells Fargo Arena and will be live on the Pac-12 Network.