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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball’s rally comes up short against No. 16 Colorado

Darien Bakas

Arizona outside hitter Kalei Mau (10) spikes the ball in the match against Southern Methodist University on Friday, Sept. 3.

The Arizona women’s volleyball fought its way through a tough five set match in a loss against the No. 16 Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder, Colorado on Sunday (25-19, 25-22, 19-25, 19-25, 15-9).

The ‘Cats started off good early in the first set taking the lead 12-7, but the Buffaloes offense was strong recovering the lost points with back-to-back aces tying the set 13-13.

Arizona’s defense seemed to be favoring the right side of the court with lack of communication giving the Buffaloes an open window to score multiple points.

The Wildcats’ offense was struggling due to their fourth reception error and you have to wonder if the absence of outside hitter, Kalei Mau, was affecting their performance. 

Mau is currently out of the lineup for Arizona due to a back injury and it is unknown when she will be back to play this season.

 Setter, Penina Snuka, ended the first set with a service error giving Colorado the win, 25-19. Arizona was lacking on serving and setting during the first set ending with a .242 hitting percentage with 14 kills.

Outside hitter, Tyler Spriggs started the second set with a kill right down the line scoring on Colorado but was challenged by Colorado head coach Jesse Mahoney. The challenge was unsuccessful giving the ‘Cats the point.

Rallying, the Buffaloes made back-to-back kills taking a two-point lead. Arizona tried to react but wasn’t fast enough as Colorado lead 10-8 forcing the ‘Cats to call a timeout.

Becoming a battle for both teams, Kendra Dahlke made an attack error having Arizona head coach Dave Rubio call for his second challenge of the game which were both unsuccessful.

Arizona turned things around with the help of outside hitter, Katarina Pilepic, tying the game at 15 a piece.

Colorado kept the set tight as it battled back and forth tying up the points. The Buffaloes ended up taking the set with a score of 25-22.

It wasn’t a good set for the ‘Cats when in the third with Colorado starting off strong and getting a two point lead.

Arizona made a quick turn around with kills by Pilepic to bring the ‘Cats up 7-3 making Colorado call a timeout.

Arizona’s offense was on fire with help from defensive specialist, Makenna Martin, with back-to back aces helping the team with a five point run, 17-12.

Both teams fought for the ball with a long rally, but was soon dominated by Dahlke who made the kill to help Arizona take the set 25-19.

Arizona battled its way through the fourth set making up for the errors in the first two sets. The ‘Cats continued to run up points forcing Colorado to call back-to-back timeouts. The Buffaloes were under pressure as Arizona led the set 17-12.

Dahlke racked up points for her team in the fourth raising the score to 21-15. Arizona had full momentum to reject any attempts made by Colorado. Arizona won the fourth set 25-19.

The tension rose on the court as score of the fifth and deciding set went back and fourth between the teams trading points. Arizona was trying to close out its miraculous comeback, but with three consecutive hitting errors by Dahlke had Arizona fall behind, 8-6.

The Buffaloes quickly pulled away from the back and fourth score to take the lead 15-9 with help from leader, Gabby Simpson.

The Buffaloes closed out the match 15-9, beating Arizona 3-2.

“Tough loss for us today,” Rubio said, according to Arizona Athletics. “We didn’t play very well; we weren’t very sharp. Back to the drawing board on Tuesday.”

Pilepic lead the ‘Cats offense during the game ending with 17 kills on a .351 hitting percentage followed behind Dahlke with 14 kills.

Snuka ended up getting her eighth double-double of the season along side Dahlke who led the team with a new career-high of 17 digs for her fourth double-double of the year.

Arizona’s next match will be Friday, Sept. 30 as it takes on Oregon State and Oregon on Saturday, Oct. 1 at McKale Center.

Follow Syrena Tracy on Twitter

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