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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Volleyball opens season with 2-1 record in Hawaii

Both the Arizona volleyball team and their Sunday night opponents, the No. 10 University of Hawaii Warriors, were undefeated going into the finals last night at the Chevron Wahine Invitational in Honolulu. But in the end, the Wildcats couldn’t overcome the Warriors in their house, losing the match in three games, 12-25, 16-25 and 20-25.

The loss was the first of the year, as the 2-1 Wildcats won its first two games to start the 2011 season.

Despite preseason stereotypes of being a young and relatively short team, the Arizona volleyball team dominated both the Wichita State Shockers and the University of San Francisco Dons at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational in Honolulu over the weekend.

In the team’s season opener Friday, the Wildcats beat the Shockers in three sets, 25-14, 25-21 and 25-20, led by seniors Cursty Jackson, Courtney Karst and Marketa Hanzlova.

Jackson, a middle blocker, and Karst, an outside hitter, combined for 18 kills against Wichita State.

Hanzlova, an outside hitter from the Czech Republic, contributed 12 digs and eight kills.

“It was nice to get a win in the opening match,” head coach Dave Rubio said in a press release. “I thought we played like we have been playing in practice. The upperclassmen really did well for us today. Hopefully we can play as steadily tomorrow.”

A player who defied the team’s preseason stereotypes was 6-foot-1 freshman outside hitter Madison Kingdon. In addition to Kingdon’s 12 kills in her debut as a Wildcat, the freshman made six digs and one block for the team.

“She’s very competitive and has a tremendous skill set as an incoming freshman,” Rubio said before the team left for Hawaii.
Kingdon was just warming up.

Against USF, she hammered 18 kills and got up 13 digs for the Wildcats in their five-game victory (25-20, 20-25, 25-16, 24-26, 15-10) against the Dons. It was Kingdon’s first double-double of the season.

“For her to be able to serve receive and score, those two things are rare to find in someone that young, and at such a high level,” Rubio said. “You can sometimes find someone who scores, but it’s hard to find someone who passes too.”

But the win didn’t come as easily as the day before.
The Dons flew under the radar before the tournament, surprising the team with a more challenging match.

“We gutted the match out tonight,” Rubio said. “We weren’t as smooth as we were the night before, but we happened to play well enough at the end to win the match.”

Karst’s experience took center stage during the match’s final moments.

“Courtney Karst really played well for us at the end,” Rubio said. “We were really lucky to have her leadership tonight.”

Jackson’s experience also played a crucial role in the team’s win, supplying eight of the team’s 12 total blocks to go along with eight kills.

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