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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


SandCats defeat New Mexico in first day of Arizona Invitational

Amy Bailey
Arizona’s Makenna Martin (2) and Caroline Cordes (25) high five and get ready for the next play after scoring a point against their San Jose State opponents on Sunday Feb. 25 at Bear Down Beach in Tucson, Ariz.

This afternoon the SandCats faced the New Mexico Lobos to kick off the Arizona Invitational at Bear Down Beach and won four of their five matches. 

Only the No. 3 team, Mia Mason and Brooke Burling, fell to the Lobos. Mason and Burling lost the first set 16-21 and came back a little bit in the second set but still couldn’t manage to clinch the set and lost 21-23. 

Although Mason and Burling lost both sets, they played stronger in the second set and were much more aggressive and spent more time on the offensive, which allowed them to keep the score closer and even take the lead a few times.

The closest match-up was between the No. 1 teams of New Mexico’s Maddie Irwin and Erin Martin and Arizona’s Natalie Anselmo and Olivia Macdonald. The match came down to the third set, in which the Wildcats won 15-13 after losing a 7-1 lead but then coming back to secure the win.

Anselmo and Macdonald struggled in the first set and lost 13-21 after being forced to stay on the defensive by their opponents and failing to have the ball control they needed to face their tough competitors.

“The biggest thing was that we needed to feel confident and feel comfortable. We weren’t really ready to start,” Anselmo said.

Then, in the second set, the Wildcats demonstrated better control with stronger hits and better ball placement, forcing their opponents to work harder. Macdonald had a solid kill to win the set for the Wildcats 21-19.

“I was ready to win. We both wanted to just leave it all out there and play as hard as we can,” Anselmo said.

Arizona’s No. 2 team, sophomore Olivia Hallaran and senior Kacey Nady, appeared to have little trouble in controlling their match to win in two sets by identical scores of 21-11. Although the Wildcats struggled to get going in their second set with a 7-7 tie, Hallaran and Nady pulled it together to win with plenty of communication and solid play at the net by Hallaran. 

The Wildcats’ No. 4 team of Hailey Devlin and Makenna Martin put up a strong performance against New Mexico, winning in two sets 21-15 and then 21-9. Devlin and Martin came out stronger in the second set with better ball control and hits over their tall opponents.

Jonny Bahan and Caroline Cordes, the No. 5 team, faced off against New Mexico’s Kayla Long and Abbey Willison, and defeated the Lobos 21-6 and 21-9. Their impressive leads were headed by Bahan’s scrappiness on the court and her ability to get to the ball quickly and effectively and Cordes’ height and athletic advantage (at 5’11’) over their 5’3” and 5’11” opponents. 

The SandCats will take the courts again tonight at 6:00 p.m. against the Washington Huskies and Saturday at 11:00 a.m. against Loyola Marymount. 

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