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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball team falls in four sets against No. 15 UCLA

Megan Ewing
Sofia Maldonado Diaz spikes on Oregon State. Arizona defeated Oregon State winning all 3 sets of the match on Friday, Feb. 19 at McKale Center.

Although the match looked promising at the beginning, the Arizona volleyball team was unable to fend off the No. 15 UCLA Bruins volleyball team losing in four sets on Friday, Feb. 26 in Pauley Pavilion. 

Fresh off of their domination of the Oregon State volleyball team, the Wildcats looked to carry that momentum with them to UCLA. Initially this looked like a possibility. When facing an opponent that is highly ranked like the Bruins are, it is important to start strong. However, you also need to finish strong.

Although the Wildcats won the first set 26-24, the Bruins went on to win the next three sets in a row by scores of 25-18, 25-22 and 27-25. Outside of the second set, it was a very hard fought and close match. The Wildcats fell not because of error, but rather they were simply outplayed. In total, the Bruins finished with: 10 more points, five more kills, six more aces, three more blocks and one less serving error than the Wildcats. 

The two Wildcats that stood out the most were outside hitter Sofia Maldonado Diaz and setter Emery Herman. Maldonado Diaz tied for the most kills in the match at 17 with Elan McCall of the Bruins. Herman led the match with 33 assists, which was nine more than the next best. A Bruins player led in all other categories.

In the first set, the Wildcats were off to a very hot start taking a 7-2 lead. The Bruins then tied up the set at 9-9. From there, the Bruins began to build a lead not allowing the Wildcats to make a comeback. However, the Wildcats overcame the deficit to tie the set at 24-24 and eventually won after scoring on the next two rallies.

The second set was a completely different story. The Bruins scored first and never let up. They went on to win the set by a margin of seven, the highest of any set in this match.

RELATED: Q&A with Arizona volleyball’s Kamaile Hiapo

In the third set, the Bruins were in control early and got up to a 10-6 lead before the Wildcats began to show some heart and tied the set at 12-12. The Wildcats then continued their run and took a 15-12 lead. However, the run would not last long as the Bruins came back to tie the score at 15-15. From there on out it was a slugfest with each team scoring back and forth until the set was tied 22-22. It was here that the Bruins made key defensive plays to score on the next three rallies and win the set.

Much like the third set, both teams gave it their all knowing this set may be their last. Both teams made excellent plays on both offense and defense. This final set went down to the wire and the score was 21-20 Wildcats. However, this is where McCall of the Bruins played her best. She scored the next four points for her team tying the score at 24-24. The Bruins seemed to increase at this point as they saw their victory in sight. They then scored three times on the next four rallies to end the match.

Although the Wildcats were unable to win the match, they showed a lot of heart against one of the elite teams in the nation. They should look back at this match and see how much heart they have as a team. With minor coaching adjustments, they should be able to win their rematch against the Bruins this Sunday, Feb. 28 back in Pauley Pavilion. 

Game Notes

First set:

  • Cats hot start
  • Bruins tie it up at 9
  • Bruins take first lead 10-9
  • Bruins maintain control take 16-12 lead
  • Bruins 20-14
  • Cats 3 score run ended by bad serve
  • Bruins bad serve immediately after
  • Cats late run 23-21 Bruins lead
  • Close late, 24-23 Bruins
  • Cats tie it up 24-24
  • Cats take lead 25-24
  • Cats complete comeback win first set 26-24

Second set:

  • Back and forth to start, 3-2 Bruins
  • Bruins begin to pull away 6-2
  • 8-4 Bruins 
  • 11-5 Bruins
  • 13-9 Bruins
  • 16-12 Bruins
  • 19-14 Bruins
  • 22-14 Bruins after two aces
  • 24-16
  • Bruins take set 25-18

Third set:

  • Bruins start 3-0
  • 3-2 Bruins
  • 6-4 Bruins
  • 10-6 Bruins
  • Elan McCall for the Bruins has killed it all game
  • 10-9 Bruins
  • Cats tie it up 12-12
  • Cats first lead since first set, 13-12
  • 15-12 Cats
  • Bruins tie it 15-15
  • 18-16 Cats
  • 18-18
  • 19-19
  • 20-20
  • 22-20 Bruins
  • 22-22
  • 24-22 Bruins
  • Bruins take set 25-22

Fourth set:

  • 4-2 Bruins
  • 7-3 Bruins
  • 10-5 Bruins
  • 12-10 Bruins
  • Cats tie it up 12-12
  • Cats take lead 13-12
  • 16-13 Cats
  • Bruins tie it up 16-16
  • Cats lead 19-16
  • Cats lead 20-19 
  • Bruins tie up with an ace 20-20
  • Bad serve, Cats up 21-20
  • McCall ties it at 21
  • McCall puts Bruins up 22-21
  • Cats tie it at 22
  • McCall kill to take lead 23-22
  • Cats tie it at 23
  • McCall kill to take 24-23 lead
  • Cats tie it at 24
  • Bruins take 25-24 lead
  • Cats tie it at 25
  • Bruins up 26-25
  • Bruins win the match, won set 27-25

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