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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats open season with a win against SMU

After a summer full of ups and downs, No. 17 Arizona volleyball cruised to a 3-1 win over SMU at the SMU Invite in Dallas to open their regular season on Friday.

The Wildcats took the first set 25-22 before losing the second set 23-25. On the third set, the Wildcats scathed by the Mustangs 27-25 before finishing them off 25-20 in the final set.

Leading the way for the Wildcats on kills was freshman outside hitter Tyler Spriggs with 16. Following close by were senior opposite Nikki Attea and junior outside hitter Kalei Mau with 15 and 14, respectively.

Junior setter Penina Snuka led the team in assists with 50 total. Senior middle blocker Halli Amaro added 5 blocks, while Mau added 31 digs.

Many questioned whether the Wildcats would be able to succeed on offense with so many of their top leaders no longer with the team. The Wildcats lost five key seniors including Taylor Arizobal and senior captain Madi Kingdon. Ashley Harris, the third leading scorer on the team last season, left the program earlier this summer for personal reasons.

Freshman and transfer upperclassman stepped up their games to lead the Wildcats throughout Friday night’s matchup. Having a tenured head coach in Dave Rubio — entering his 21st season with the Wildcats’ — leading the program helps too.

In total, 13 of the 19 players that make up Arizona’s roster experienced wearing the Wildcat uniform for the first time.

The Wildcats have a busy weekend ahead of them. However, the UA began their season just how they had planned.

Up next for Arizona will be Texas State and Abilene Christian, both on Saturday. Texas State boasted a 22-13 record in 2014 and is picked to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference this season. Abilene Christian, on the other hand, finished with a measly record of just 6-24 in 2014.

The Wildcats would like to continue their winning ways early on, and starting 3-0 would be a great way to start the season.

Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.

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