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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball sweeps doubleheader on opening day of Wildcat Classic

Darien Bakas

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

Following a dominant performance against Alabama State, Arizona looked to carry momentum into its match against SMU on Friday night. The Wildcats were able to secure another 3-0 victory, but not without some difficulties.

Similar to its previous games this year, Arizona started the match strong, cruising to a 25-11 victory in the first set.

In the early points of the first set, SMU’s libero, Morgan Heise, went down with an apparent ankle injury after colliding with a teammate. In a silent stadium, the crowd watched Heise walk off the court under her own power, but the loss resulted in a shift of momentum toward Arizona.

The second set reflected a similar start to the first. It began with back-and-forth play, where short rallies and blocking set the tone.

Libero Laura Larson went on a service run at a 12-9 score, and SMU was forced to call another timeout.

The Wildcats let their opponent stay in this set much longer than they hoped, but setter Penina Snuka came up big with two kills and three digs late in the set.

In the final rally, at 24-21, Snuka made a diving save which resulted in the set point for Arizona.

Arizona’s performance in the third set mirrored its struggle in the second, with another 25-21 victory. The team began to look like its long day was catching up with it, with unforced errors becoming frequent.

After two timeouts from head coach David Rubio, Arizona was able to hold off the Mustangs in the final rallies of the third set to secure the victory.

“We played very clean and were ready to play,” said Rubio on Friday’s performance. “SMU pushed us and we had to take our game to another level.”

Snuka dominated with 38 assists, two kills, three aces and five digs. Snuka was effective in all aspects of the game Friday night, with scrappy defensive plays and a serve that gave SMU trouble.

Outside Hitter Kendra Dahike also helped lead the team to victory with 13 of the team’s total 44 kills on only a .178 hitting percentage.

The Wildcats will wrap up play in the Wildcat Classic tomorrow evening at 6 p.m., versus Pepperdine.

Follow Nikki Baim on Twitter

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