PROVO, Utah. — As the No. 5 seed, Arizona State (27-6) entered the 2023 NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament facing Georgia (19-12). For the first time since 2014, the Sun Devils advanced to the second round of the tournament after eliminating the Bulldogs in straight sets.
The Sun Devils won three of the first five sets 25-21, 25-12 and 25-20 with senior opposite Marta Levinska with 17 kills of ASU’s 42 total kills. The Sun Devils had only seven errors on 82 total attacks for a .472 kill percentage, a post season record. Head coach JJ Van Niel and his squad played tight defense, taking advantage of Georgia’s sloppy offense. The Sun Devils defense held the Bulldogs to only a .181 kill percentage with the Bulldogs committing 23 errors.
“Tournament wins are hard to come by,” said Van Niel. “Georgia is a really good time, and I thought we came out and executed pretty flawlessly.”
Georgia’s service was stopped time and time again, with the Sun Devils not allowing a single ace in the game.
Graduate student setter Shannon Shields had 26 of ASU’s 36 total team assists and played a large role in the successful passing Friday.
“I think Shannon put me in good situations,” Levinska. “I had a lot of situations where it was a one-on-one block. We were passing really well, so you know, when your passing is on, as you can see all of our hitters kind of went off.”
The Sun Devils extended their new single-season record of 19 sweeps in the season. Their 27th win is tied for the most in the Pac-12 this season and is the second most in a single season in ASU history.
“It’s hard to play here for sure, but again, for us, we gotta keep doing what we do and play our game and pass really well, “ said Van Niel. “And if we can do that then, you know, we have a shot. But, it’s a fun environment.”
The Sun Devils advance to the second round and will face No. 4 BYU at 7 p.m. MST on Saturday from Provo, Utah.