Arizona State dominated both Georgia and BYU in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. They won both matches in three sets, and it was never close. With these wins, ASU made it to their first Sweet 16 since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1998. It’s the first time ever the Sun Devils won two NCAA Tournament games.
How sweet it is 😤
— Sun Devil Volleyball (@SunDevilVB) December 3, 2023
ASU vs Georgia Round 1 Matchup
In their matchup against Georgia in round 1, they won all three sets, 25-21, 25-12, 25-20.
The first set was completely back and forth, with the longest run being three points. However, with the Sun Devils up, 22-21, ASU would win the next three points to take the first set.
The second set also went back and forth, but ASU pulled away and took a 13-7 lead. With Georgia winning two in a row after six opposite points, the score would be 16-12. ASU would win nine in a row to win the set 25-12.
The third set would once again give ASU a big lead. The Sun Devils grabbed a 17-12 lead and really made it seem over. However, Georgia would win six of the next seven points to tie the set. Arizona State would not allow that, however, as they would get hot after and win six of the next seven points themselves to put them one point away from round two. Claire Jeter would take the kill and win the match for ASU 25-21.
First-Team All-Pac-12 Member Marta Levinska dominated this match. Levinska had 17 kills in this match and showed why she is one of the best players in the Pac-12. Shannon Shields had 28 assists as well.
They would go on to face #4 seed BYU.
Second Round Matchup vs #4 BYU
Arizona State came in as underdogs for their matchup versus #4 BYU in BYU’s arena. They left as underrated. Winning all three sets and dominating a BYU team that had only lost one match on their home floor all year. They would win all three sets, 25-20. 25-21. 25-21.
Arizona State would grab leads multiple times in the first set of this one. First at 9 points and second at 17 points. However, both times, BYU would come back and tie it up. However, Arizona State kept fighting and finally went on a run. BYU could not come back from scoring six of nine points. Finally, Marta Levinska, the hero of round one, got back-to-back kills to finish the set. 25-20.
The second set was all Arizona State. They would win the first four points of the match and continue to build their lead until they went on a 5-0 run to give themselves a 22-13 lead. This one felt like it was pretty much over. However, BYU scored 8 of the next 10 points to close the gap to 24-21 before Marta Levinska, once again, ended it with a kill.
The third half started off close, as it was tied at 11 at one point. ASU would win seven of the next nine points to take an 18-13 lead before increasing it to 22-16. Once again, BYU would go on a run to close the gap to 24-21, but Marta Levinska got the match-winning kill to send the Sun Devils to the Sweet 16.
Levinska, again, had 17 kills but also five aces to go along with it and was the most dominant player in Provo. She finished her first two rounds with 34 kills and five aces.
Arizona State heads to Palo Alto, California, where they will face a familiar foe in #1 Stanford. The Sun Devils notoriously beat Stanford at home on October 29th in three sets. It was the one blemish on an incredible season for the Cardinal. The Sun Devils played this team early in the year in Palo Alto and got crushed, so we will see what happens this time. It is a really hard place to play.