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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Football win inspires v-ball to upset USC

    It’s funny how similar football and volleyball can sometimes be.

    After Arizona volleyball’s loss to No. 10 UCLA 1-3 (25-15, 20-25, 25-21, 25-22) Friday night, something clicked. A victory came out of hibernation, leaving many – if not all – Wildcats with a much better feeling inside.

    Many UA volleyball players attended the football game against No. 25 California Saturday night. They witnessed their friends and acquaintances in pads not only come back from a 10-point deficit at halftime, but also dominate the Golden Bears in the third quarter to win 42-27.

    The good vibe must have rolled over into Sunday’s volleyball match against No. 11 USC, in which the Wildcats prevailed in their five-set match (21-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-16, 16-14).

    UA head coach Dave Rubio watched the football game and was inspired by freshman running back Keola Antolin’s performance. He ran for 149 yards and scored three touchdowns.

    “”(Saturday) at the football game, I’m watching this guy run and I was so inspired,”” Rubio said of Antolin. “”Boy, I was just so impressed with him literally putting his shoulder on the team and saying, ‘Let’s go.’ He’s got something inside of him that’s pretty special.””

    The head coach asked his players what their thoughts were at the football game’s halftime and they thought the football team was sure to lose.

    “”Something happened in that locker room, and it showed when they came back on the field,”” Rubio said. “”And that inspired us.””

    Learning how to solidly beat a good team is difficult when you haven’t had much experience doing so in the past. Rubio said following through was the best and hardest thing his team did.

    “”Taking that last step is brutal,”” Rubio said. “”It’s just so emotionally draining. But it was nice to see that we were able to do that.””

    After the Wildcats won the final set against USC, they ran to their locker room chatting away and glowing with smiles.

    The players quieted down once they were seated in front of their lockers and it was time for Rubio to speak – but the excitement in the room was palpable.

    “”The thing about these kinds of wins is that you cherish them, because they’re the kind of moments that you’ll remember for a long time,”” Rubio said to the squad. “”And there’s always a period in your season where you have to decide to plant your feet and make a stand.””

    The Wildcats outscored their opponent in pure kills (72-59) and Whitney Dosty led the team with 20. Tiffany Owens had 18 kills to go with 8 digs and Jacy Norton added another 12 kills.

    Brooke Buringrud, who had 10 kills and 11 digs, and Alanna Resch, who racked up 22 digs, were other notable contributors.

    “”Our defense was scrappy – nothing was dropping,”” Norton said. “”Even in the first game I was like, ‘Alright, we’re ready to play today!’ It was intense.””

    The Wildcats were prepared for the battle and were certainly rewarded in dominating a team of such high caliber.

    “”I don’t know how to describe the feeling right now. It feels like we’ve been working so hard up to this point,”” Dosty said after the USC match. “”It just felt so good.””

    Norton agreed that the squad’s hard work up to this point played a huge role in their victory, but said he thought the team just came out of the locker room ready to play with fire.

    “”I think it was just pure fight and competitiveness,”” Norton said. “”I mean, we’ve been in that situation so many times, and I think (Sunday) we just got it in our minds that we didn’t care what was happening, we were walking out of that gym with a win.””

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