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ASU Volleyball: Leffel continues to impress as Devils drop two of three in weekend tournament

Not the best weekend

Richard Martinez/ House of Sparky

The Arizona State volleyball team started the weekend with high hopes and an undefeated record, but ended the weekend with two losses and even more questions to answer.

Match One: Western Kentucky

The Sun Devils had a bumpy start to their weekend after dropping the first match to another undefeated squad, Western Kentucky (4-0). ASU won the first set of the match, and things looked good in the second and third sets as well. But the Devils lost leads in both, ultimately leading to a loss in the match 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 27-25, 25-18).

Senior Buffalo transfer Andrea Mitrovic continued her hot streak. She recorded her first double-double as a Sun Devil. She finished with 19 kills and 13 digs on a solid .326 hitting percentage.

Mitrovic wasn’t the only player who provided some offense, too. Jada Burse, another senior transfer, finished with 16 kills. Freshman Iman Isanovic also finished with 10 kills, her first time recording double-digit kill totals in the maroon and gold.

The Devils were forced to rely on outside hitters Mitrovic, Burse and Isanovic, as both Claire Kovensky and Ivana Jeremic were out this weekend. Head coach Sanja Tomasevic was forced to make the lineup adjustments.

“With all of the adversity that we have been hit with lately, from injuries to illnesses, I am hoping that we are finding our groove with the lineup that we have,” Tomasevic said. “We didn’t start the day great, but we ended on a good note.”

Tomasevic seemed to find her setter in the match, however. She rolled with Callie Jones the whole match. She finished with 37 assists, her highest mark as a Sun Devil.

Leffel earned the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for her performance last weekend, and she extended her streak of double-digit digs to nine after earning 24 on Friday.

Game Two: Tennessee Tech

Arizona State came back strong with a 3-0 victory over winless Tennessee Tech (0-5). The Sun Devils earned their first sweep of the season {25-22, 25-15, 25-15).

Leffel kept her streak of double-digit digs alive, improving it to 10 matches in a row after a 21-dig performance.

The outside hitter position may have been thin during the tournament, but the three pin hitters continued to impress. Burse led all players in kills with 15, her highest total as a Sun Devil. Isanovic reached double-digit kills for the second-straight match, finishing with 10 kills. The freshman also finished with four blocks and five digs. Mitrovic chipped in 14 digs to go with her nine kills.

Sophomore middle blocker Avital Jaloba is getting her first chance as a starter this season for the Sun Devils. She earned a career-high in kills in the win with five.

Match Three: No. 24 Louisville

Arizona State finished its time in Kentucky this weekend by dropping their final match in four sets to No. 24 Louisville. Despite three Sun Devils notching double-digits in kills, ASU fell 3-1 (21-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-15).

Burse finished with 15 kills again, leading the Devils and securing double-digits in all three matches over the weekend. Isanovic finished with 11 kills, a new career-high for the freshman.

As soon as head coach Tomasevic thought she found her starting setter, she made another change in the final game of the weekend. Tomasevic went with senior Nicole Peterson as the main passer for the Sun Devils. She finished with 15 assists. Both Miller and Jones finished with nine assists.

Leffel continued her streak, but only finished with 10 digs. Isanovic and setter Noa Miller also finished with 10 digs to go along with eight from Mitrovic.

Weekend Recap

One of the bright spots for the Sun Devils was senior libero Courtney Leffel, who was named to the Fleur De Lis All-Tournament Team after she continued to play great defense. She earned double-digit digs in each match, improving her streak to 11 in a row after earning 10 digs against Louisville. This was her second-straight all-tournament honor of the season. Her leadership is something Tomasevic claims is a huge factor moving forward.

Arizona State will participate in the OU Nike Invitational in Norman, Oklahoma from September 13-14. ASU plays Louisiana, Oklahoma and Georgia Tech.