The historic 14-game win streak to start the 2023 season came to a close when the No. 25 Sun Devils traveled to No. 3 Stanford. Arizona State began its season with four strong showings from the Florida Gulf Coast University Invitational, Borderland Invitational, Lumberjack classic and Beal Street Challenge before opening conference play in the first-ever game held at Mullet Arena in Tempe against Arizona.
Arizona State swept the rival Wildcats (25-22, 25-21, 25-15) while notching the programs first win over Arizona since 2020-21, and first win against Arizona at home since 2019.
Arizona State then celebrated its 50th anniversary at home against Washington, winning in four sets (22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-16) and moving two 14 straight wins and 2-0 in conference play.
The biggest test of the season came against the Tree. Stanford was able to dominate ASU the way ASU has been dominating its opponents through the first 14 games. Stanford held Arizona State to .125 hitting and just one ace. Stanford was able to hit .339 while never allowing the Sun Devils to come close. Arizona State allowed Stanford to go in numerous point-steaks, keeping the sets out of reach. This was the lowest hitting percentage for ASU all season, and the defense was limited to just five blocks.
With the loss, ASU dropped back out of the top-25, but was able to get back in the win column after defeating Cal Berkeley in five sets (23-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 15-9) on the road trip. Marta Levinska led the Devils with a career high 30 kills. Setter Shannon Shields also set a new career best with 54 assists. She tacked on eight digs and an ace on top of her performance. Geli Cyr registered a career-high 22 digs and 12 kills.
“Getting road wins in the Pac-12 is always tough, so I’m proud of the team for battling until the end for this win,” coach JJ Van Neil said of his group. “Hats off to Cal, they put a lot of pressure on us early and really forced us to make some defensive adjustments to find more success. A lot of our players stepped up in big ways in tough moments.”
Arizona State’s win over Cal was the first match to go to five sets for the Sun Devil’s this season. Now 15-1, ASU will host USC at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe on Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. MST.