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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball team sends the Golden Bears into hibernation

Caitlin Claypool

The Arizona women’s volleyball team rejoices after winning a point during a game on Sunday, March 14, 2021. The Wildcats were victorious over the Colorado Buffalo by winning 3 out of 4 games. 

The Arizona volleyball team looked their best on Friday, March 19, as they crushed the California Golden Bears in three sets by scores of 25-19, 25-15 and 25-17 in Haas Pavilion. 

This marked Arizona’s first road victory of the season as the Wildcats were 0-7 on the road before this victory.

Cal has the worst record in the Pac-12 conference but the Golden Bears gave Arizona a lot of trouble in the first set. Near the halfway mark, it was anyone’s set as both teams traded kills and blocks to keep the score even. 

It was not until outside hitter Sofi Maldonado Diaz came alive for the Wildcats that momentum was established. Maldonado Diaz started a 5-0 run with a kill and proceeded to serve five straight times. Two of her serves were back-to-back aces to give the Wildcats a 15-11 advantage. After that, Arizona cruised to a set victory.

The Wildcats wasted no time scoring in the second set, going on a 10-0 run that included eight errors by Cal, a court-busting kill by outside hitter Paige Whipple and a serving ace by libero Kamaile Hiapo. Maldonado Diaz continued to play stellar, finishing the set with four kills and a solo block. 

How Arizona got the set point is a funny story. 

Golden Bear’s Makana Meyer has a pre-serve ritual where she ferociously slaps the ball on the court at least seven or eight times before serving over the net. With the score at 24-15 and Meyer doing this for a third straight time, the net judge had enough. The judge called a delay of game on Meyer, resulting in the Wildcats winning the set by having to do nothing more than stand on the court. Every time Meyer served after that, she never bounced the ball more than three times. 

RELATED: Key takeaways from Arizona volleyball head coach Dave Rubio’s virtual press conference

The third set was by far Arizona’s best. After climbing out to a 12-3 lead, the Wildcats could not be stopped. Maldonado Diaz had a kill and two serving aces. Setter Emery Herman had three kills, a block assist and ten assists. Outside hitter Jaelyn Hodge had two kills and two block assists. The Wildcats then walked away with a satisfying match victory.

Arizona dominated the stat sheet as well. They led the match in hitting percentage, attacks, digs, assists, blocks and individual points. Golden Bear Lydia Grote led the match in kills, but it was offset by her match leading 10 errors.

Arizona will look for the season sweep against Cal on Sunday, March 21, at 1 p.m. MST in Haas Pavilion. 

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