The roar let out from Iman Isanovic had pride behind it. Her combined block with Claudia Stahlke sealed the upset victory over No. 14 UCLA (13-3, 6-2 Pac-12) Sunday.
Arizona State (9-10, 2-6) completed the reverse sweep to win 3-2 (20-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-8) and beat the Bruins. It also snapped the Sun Devils 0-6 this season at home in five-set matches.
Isanovic, who had a team-high 17 kills, mentioned that the confidence never wavered for the Sun Devils, and the win felt different leading into the fifth set that has plagued the team all season.
“We worked so hard, we stayed focused and that’s the thing that separated this game from the games we previously played,” she said. “I think this was a turning point for our team. It means that we can actually do this. Just finally getting the outcome we have worked so hard for, I think this is going to be a big confidence booster for our girls that we kind of lack because of all of those five setters that we played and did not come out victorious. But, we are looking forward to what’s to come.”
The Sun Devils needed the third set to even try to stay alive. The two teams battled back-and-forth before Arizona State went on a 5-1 run to go up 21-15. The Sun Devils used the momentum to close out the set.
Things were even tighter the following set. However, a key ace from Marta Levinska and a pair of kills by Claire Jeter put pressure on UCLA. The Bruins committed two errors afterwards forcing the win-or-go home set.
Arizona State didn’t let the fifth set be close. The Sun Devils started the set up 8-2 and never looked back. Isanovic set the tone early with two service aces and a kill for three of Arizona State’s first four points in the set.
Now coach Sanja Tomasevic and her squad will try to build off this key win for her developing program.
“What a fun fight, I’m so proud,” Tomasevic said. “The way we approached that fifth set was like we came in to take care of business and carried the momentum from the last two sets. We felt like we were executing things at a higher level. I’m super proud of our girls.”