Arizona State Sun Devils

#5 Seed Volleyball Set For NCAA Tournament

Photo - Sun Devil Athletics

(Tempe, AZ)  No. 18 Sun Devil Volleyball’s postseason journey begins this weekend in Provo, Utah, as No. 5 seed Arizona State faces Georgia on Friday in the first round.

Arizona State’s postseason journey will start in Provo, Utah, playing Georgia in the first round on Friday at 4:30 p.m. MST. With a win, Arizona State would play the winner of the host team No. 4 BYU and Weber State on Saturday. This is the fourth time that ASU has been to Provo for the NCAA Tournament. The last time was in 2012.

ASU is back in the tournament for the first time since 2015, which was the bookend of four-straight postseason appearances for the Sun Devils. This is the 20th tournament appearance in the 50th season of the program. The last time ASU won an NCAA Tournament game was in 2014 when the team made it to the second round. 

Teams winning both matches this weekend will move on to regional play on December 7 and 9. The regional winners will advance to the national semifinals on December 14 for a chance to play in the national championship on 17 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, with the championship match being broadcast on ABC.

How to Follow
All matches this weekend in Provo will be on ESPN+. Live scoring will also be available. Fans can follow along on social media for updates throughout the week on X (@SunDevilVB) and Instagram (@sundevilvolleyball). 

Sun Devil Outlook
No. 5 Seed Arizona State (26-6, 14-6 Pac-12)

  • The Sun Devils finished their final season in the Pac-12 with a 14-6 record, the highest number of conference wins in a single season in program history. The team finished in a tie for third, which is the best conference finish since tying for second in 1993. ASU ended the regular season with a sweep over in-state rival Arizona in Tucson.
  • Arizona State had 26 wins in the regular season, which is the third-highest total in program history. It is one away from the second-place total of 27. This is the 11th 20-win season in ASU history, first since 2014. The 14-0 start to the season was the third-best start to a season in program history.
  • First-year head coach JJ Van Niel is the 2023 Pac-12 Coach of the Year. He is the fourth coach of the year in Arizona State history, the first since Patti Snyder-Park in 1992. He is the fourth coach in Sun Devil Athletics to be named coach of the year in their first season. Among Pac-12 volleyball winners, he is the third first-year head coach to win, along with John Dunning from Stanford in 2001 and Jerritt Elliot as the interim head coach at USC in 1999.
  • For the Pac-12 player awards, five receiving honors is the most the Sun Devils have had in a single season, with two being the previous best. Levinska is on the All-Pac-12 First Team for her first time, the first for ASU since 2021. Levinska has earned a Pac-12 postseason award in every season of her career after being honorable mention the last two years and on the all-freshman team her first season. She joins Macey Gardner and Christine Garner as Sun Devils with a Pac-12 postseason honor in each year of their career. The four Sun Devils on honorable mention are Geli Cyr, Claire Jeter, Shannon Shields and Mary Shroll, the first postseason honor for all four of them.
  • The serve has been superb this season for the Sun Devils. They have 228 aces on the year, which is the fourth-most in a single season at ASU. In the national rankings, the team is No. 3 in aces per set and No. 6 in total aces, which are both first in the Pac-12. There are five different people on the team with 30-plus aces and two with 40 or more (Mary Shroll with 42 and Claire Jeter with 40).
  • Senior opposite Marta Levinska continues to be a dominant force for the Sun Devils. In the latest stat rankings, she is No. 8 in the nation in kills, kills per set, points and points per set. In all but two matches, she’s had double-digit kills (including the last 17 in a row) and she has had 20 or more kills nine times (including five of the last seven matches). She also has hit over .300 in eight of the last 10 matches. In the ASU record book, she is currently in sixth for career kills with 1,536.
  • Two Sun Devils have been in the NCAA Tournament before. Shields qualified with Louisville in her freshman year, and Shroll went with LMU last season.

Opponent Outlook
Georgia (19-11, 10-8 SEC)

  • The Bulldogs qualified for their second-consecutive NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994-95. Last season, Georgia upset No. 8 Towson in the opening round of the 2022 tournament, the Bulldogs’ first tournament win since 1995. Georgia is 6-11 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Georgia had a solid season, earning two top-10 wins and ending the regular season on a four-match winning streak. Senior middle blocker Sophie Fischer was named the SEC Player of the Year, the second Bulldog to win the honor. The team also has another All-SEC player in Kacie Evans, an outside hitter.
  • This is the second meeting all-time between ASU and Georgia, with the first coming back in 2021 when the Sun Devils lost in five sets in the non-conference match.

Potential Opponents
No. 4 Seed BYU (24-6, 13-5 Big 12)

  • The Cougars are in the tournament for the 12th-consecutive year, earning the at-large bid after a strong season with three ranked wins. No. 16 BYU played its first season in the Big 12, placing third.
  • The Sun Devils trail in the all-time series with the Cougars, 4-18. The last time these teams met was in the 2013 NCAA Tournament when ASU lost in the first round to BYU, falling in five sets.
  • Should these two teams meet, it would be a preview of future Big 12 matchups after Arizona State joins the conference next year.

Weber State (21-9, 11-5 Big Sky)

  • The Wildcats earned the auto bid for the tournament after winning the Big Sky Tournament in a five-set battle. This is their third NCAA Tournament appearance.

ASU is 11-0 against Weber State in the series history. The teams last played in 2017 when the Sun Devils won in straight sets.

Press Release courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics – Kimberlie Haner


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