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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball squanders 2-game lead over Cal

    UA middle blocker Jacy Norton reaches for the ball as California outside hitter Hana Cutura waits for the return. Norton had seven kills in the
    UA middle blocker Jacy Norton reaches for the ball as California outside hitter Hana Cutura waits for the return. Norton had seven kills in the

    The Arizona volleyball team had the chance to make outside hitter Brooke Buringrud an oracle. In fact, it had three chances.

    After being swept by No. 3 Stanford on Thursday, Buringrud vowed the team would beat No. 9 California on Friday in McKale Center.

    But after being up 2-0 in the match, the Wildcats lost three straight games to the Golden Bears in front of 1,480 spectators. Game scores were 30-20, 30-23, 28-30, 22-30 and 12-15.

    “”Like any good team, they started playing harder,”” said Buringrud, who had 11 kills. “”I think they definitely pushed back, and so did we. We stayed aggressive the whole time. I think we fought hard throughout the third and fourth games. We just didn’t pull out the win in the end.

    “”It’s the Pac-10,”” she said. “”No win is going to be easy.””

    With Arizona (12-9, 2-7 Pacific 10 Conference) up 12-11 in the finale, Cal (16-4, 6-3) scored four straight points to win the game.

    “”My opinion is that that’s a hell of a team, Cal,”” Rubio said. “”You could see that they’re physically dominant. If you took them player to player in terms of their pin players, they could almost score at will on the left (side with their outside hitters).””

    The Bears were paced by outside hitters Hana Cutura, who recorded a match-high 25 kills, and Angie Pressey, who had 19.

    Opposite hitter Randy Goodenough led the Wildcats with 18 kills and 10 digs – her 10th double-double of the season.

    Down 23-14 in game three, Arizona went on a 12-4 run to cut the lead to one at 27-26 but couldn’t push further, as the Golden Bears took four of the next five points.

    California out-hit the Wildcats in the game .238 to .103, but Arizona out-hit the Bears in the match, .206 to .191.

    “”I was really proud of the way the kids fought,”” Rubio said. “”It’s the first time this season where I’ve really felt like we didn’t hold anything back, where we weren’t afraid of losing and we played not to lose.

    “”It’s unfortunate we don’t get the reinforcement of winning in a mess like this,”” he said. “”The differences are really small between winning and losing.””

    Arizona kicked off the opening game on a 12-5 rally that included a 5-0 run and a 4-0 run. The Wildcats stayed at least five points ahead throughout the game, winning by 10 behind .467 hitting, the team’s best mark in a game during conference play this season.

    “”For the first couple of games, we were just on fire,”” said outside hitter Tiffany Owens, who had a

    career-high 17 kills on .256 hitting. “”We did everything possible that we could do. We did really well and it’s sad that we didn’t finish out like that.””

    After having a season-high 16 serving errors Thursday, the Wildcats had none in the first game Friday and only nine in the final four games, to go with seven aces. Cal registered 14 service errors.

    “”There was a big difference from (Thursday) night,”” Owens said. “”I think that’s what kept us so close.””

    Though they lost their fourth match in a row, Buringrud saw the glass half-full afterwards.

    “”I think we played consistent the whole night,”” Buringrud said. “”The thing is we played really well and we just have to keep our heads up and go to work and just get ready for our next match and turn the season around with some wins on the board.””

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