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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball looks to rebound against California after tough loss against Stanford

Zi Yang Lai

Arizona’s Penina Snuka (20) and Halli Amaro (3) jump for the ball while playing against Stanford in McKale Center on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Arizona faces Cal on Friday night.

After a hard-fought loss to No. 8 Stanford, Arizona gets a chance to avenge its defeat as it takes on another Bay Area team in the game against Cal on Friday night.

Arizona took two of the first three sets 25-15 and 25-21 before Stanford came back with a 25-23 win to tie. The Cardinal closed the game out with a 17-15 win, defeating Arizona for the 18th consecutive time.

“Another close match that we are right in all the way up until the end,” said volleyball coach Dave Rubio. “We just couldn’t execute well enough, especially in the end of games four and five. We just didn’t make enough right plays at the right time for us to win that match.”

It was a hard loss to last year’s conference champions, but the game may be a sign that the gap is narrowing between the two teams.

Stanford won nine more games than Arizona last year, and this time around the Wildcats had the team on its heels. While they do not get to rematch Stanford this season, the Wildcats could potentially meet them in the postseason.

Setter Penina Snuka, who leads the conference in assists per set, steadied the Wildcats’ attack with 46 assists and 16 digs, while Kalei Mau tallied 23 kills.

The loss puts the Wildcats at 11-4 for the season with all four of their losses coming to teams in the top 15.

“We’re not executing when the bigger moments arise, and as a result we’re hoping to win instead of taking destiny into our own hands,” Rubio said. “Elite teams don’t rely on that. Rather, they rely on asserting their will at the time the match is the most important.”

The Golden Bears come into town Friday at 8 p.m. to try to get to the .500 mark (6-7) while the Wildcats try to keep pace in the Pac-12, as they are currently 1-2.

The Golden Bears have been swept by four teams this season, and the Wildcats have swept eight teams already, five of them at home, so Cal better watch out.

Cal comes into this matchup on a three-game losing streak and is currently sitting at No. 11 in the Pac-12 standings. The team is led by middle blocker Lillian Schonewise, who averages 2.59 kills per set on .345 hitting. Arizona swept the Golden Bears last season and will look to defend its home court, where it is 6-2 for the season.

Friday’s game will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.

After this match, the Wildcats will take a two-week break from McKale Center as they travel to take on the Washington and Los Angeles schools. They return to McKale on Oct. 23 to face the Colorado Buffaloes, but Pac-12 will be broadcasting their road games to keep you posted.

Follow Ivan Leonard on Twitter.

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