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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball: Rubio not happy with Wildcats performance this weekend

Heather Newberry

Arizona outside hitter Katarina Pilepic spikes a ball at Stanford middle blocker Inky Ajanaku during Sunday’s game in McKale Center. No. 12 Stanford swept the Wildcats 3-0.

Arizona volleyball split its games with California and No. 12 Stanford in McKale Center over the weekend. The Wildcats surpassed the Golden Bears three sets to one on Friday (19-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-19), but No. 12 Stanford swept Arizona on Sunday (25-19, 25-23, 25-18).

“I think … we’re in the worst place we’ve been since the season started,” said Arizona head coach Dave Rubio following Sunday’s loss.

The Wildcats hosted Cal in the schools’ second meeting of the season on Friday. Arizona saw the end of a three-game winning streak in a 3-2 loss to the Golden Bears earlier in the season. The situation didn’t get easier at home. 

Rubio saw the team put out an “uninspired” effort against the Golden Bears that bred frustration.

Arizona had to rely heavily on its bench for energy against Cal. Makenna Martin provided a team leading 10 digs while Jade Turner replaced a struggling McKenzie Jacobson in the front row.

With 12 service aces and 23 attacking errors, Arizona was frustrated with its lack of execution and, despite the win, was looking for a more promising match against No. 12 Stanford.

The Cardinal’s true freshman Kathryn Plummer has dominated this season, and continued her success by leading her team with 15 kills and 10 digs against Arizona in McKale Center.

Kalei Mau became setter Penina Snuka’s go-to option, but had a hard time putting the ball away. On 43 attempts, Mau earned 12 kills at a .047 hitting percentage.

“We rely on our hitters to hold their own,” Mau said. “Everyone needs to do their job 100 percent.”

Arizona kept the sets close in the sweep, but was ultimately outplayed. The Wildcats were out-blocked 10 to four, had nine less assists and hit at a .121 average. The one statistic which Arizona had nearly double the number of Stanford’s was attacking errors, with 23.

Yet, the team sees promise in its future matches and pulled some positives from Sunday.

“We played as a team more today which I was really proud of, but the execution wasn’t there,” Laura Larson said.

The Wildcats will look to turn the tables this week as they host Utah before finishing the season at ASU.

“I think things can turn very quickly,” Rubio said. “We’re not where we want to be so we hope to find that magic place soon.”Follow Nikki Baim on Twitter.

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