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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball splits pair of games over weekend

Rebecca Noble

Arizona senior outside hitter Madi Kingdon (9) spikes the ball past Stanford junior setter Madi Bugg (22) during Arizona’s 3-1 loss against No. 1 Stanford in McKale Center on Friday. Last week, the Wildcats defeated California but suffered a close loss to Stanford.

From Wednesday to Friday, the No. 16 Arizona volleyball team went through an emotional roller coaster. The Wildcats swept the California Golden Bears (25-19, 25-19, 25-11) in straight sets on Wednesday before losing a back-and-forth match against the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal (23-25, 26-24, 20-25, 20-25) in four sets on Friday.

In Friday’s game, the Wildcats struggled to contain Stanford’s constant offensive onslaught. The Cardinal was led by the quartet of Jordan Burgess, Inky Ajanaku, Morgan Boukather and Merete Lutz. They combined for 59 kills, 114 total attacks and a combined .449 hitting percentage average.

Across the board, the Cardinal outperformed the Wildcats. Stanford had 72 kills, 69 digs, 68 assists and a hitting percentage of .408. By comparison, Arizona had 64 kills, 59 digs, 57 assists and a hitting percentage of .259.

“It was a little weird; we’re always the ones that dig the ball and then transition from there,” UA senior middle blocker Rachel Rhoades said. “We were a little slow obviously in the beginning. … We just got to work on it more in practice.”

Despite a 22-kill and nine-dig performance from UA senior standout outside hitter Madi Kingdon, Arizona (15-3, 4-2) suffered from multiple errors against Stanford. The Wildcats finished with 21 attack errors and two service errors, something that Arizona head coach Dave Rubio lamented during his postgame press conference.

“I’m upset that we didn’t play better,” Rubio said. “Some of that certainly has to do with Stanford, but I think when your expectations are what they were for us, we’ve got to learn to deal with that and be able to play with composure and poise. I felt like … we didn’t do that at times tonight.”

Wednesday’s game against Cal held a much different result for the Wildcats.

Arizona thoroughly dominated the Golden Bears in its three-set sweep, including starting the third and final set with a 11-0 run, the longest run to open a set all season. The Wildcats had lost seven straight games against Cal before Wednesday’s win.

“That was a really fun match,” Kingdon said. “We came out and just played really clean, and I think everything was just going our way. We had so much momentum going for us that it was easy to do.”

Leading the way for the Wildcats was the outside hitting trio of Kingdon, Ashley Harris  and Taylor Arizobal. They combined for 32 kills on 77 total attacks as they paced the way to a big win.

Rubio said after the game that the team needs to keep spreading the ball around, instead of leaning on Kingdon.

“When everyone knows where the ball is going to go, it’s a lot easier to defend,” Rubio said. “If we can get a little more even distribution, then it’s going to be better for Madi.”

On the other side of the net, Cal struggled mightily to sustain a semblance of an offensive attack. The Golden Bears had three service errors and 23 attack errors, including 10 errors in the deciding third set.

Combine those errors with a paltry .082 hitting percentage, and it’s no surprise Cal was swept.

Looking forward, the Wildcats are off until Oct. 17 and Oct. 19 when they face the Washington schools in McKale Center.


Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter.

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