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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Sand volleyball heads to Tempe for ASU Sand Volleyball Challenge

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Arizona sand volleyball player Kaitlyn Leary (13) defends against New Mexico during Arizona’s 4-1 win against New Mexico at Jimenez Field on April 5. Leary and the Wildcats start the weekend off with a matchup against ASU and have a full slate of games.

Arizona sand volleyball heads up north this weekend to compete in the ASU Sand Volleyball Challenge, a two-day tournament that will feature the Wildcats, Sun Devils, California State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners and the New Mexico Lobos.

Play starts on Friday in Tempe and continues on Saturday.

The Wildcats’ first match will be against ASU tonight at 6. This is the first time the rivals will face each other this season. Arizona is currently 13-1, while the Sun Devils are just 4-8.

The Wildcats are looking for redemption after a hard-fought loss against the Sun Devils last season.

“Certainly you want to win and you want to beat your neighbors to the north, and that’s what we’re looking to do,” Arizona coach Steve Walker said. “I think last year that we got into such a hole in that duel, when we played up there, that it was hard to kind of dig ourselves out. Hopefully, we’ll get off to a little bit better start this year and we can come out on top.”

The UA/ASU rivalry atmosphere can be a bit shocking for newcomers to the state, but Arizona’s Kaitlyn Leary is ready to face the Sun Devils and experience the rivalry firsthand.

“This is my first year, so it will be fun to see that atmosphere with big rivals,” Leary said. “That will be a fun game, and I’m excited to see what that’s like.”

The Wildcats will face off against Bakersfield (8-7) at 10 a.m. on Saturday before ending the day at 3 p.m. against New Mexico, which is 1-8 this season after last weekend’s defeat by Arizona.

Arizona’s practice this week has been dedicated to working on the Wildcats’ skill set.

“We’ve been working on our overall skills and implementing those in game situations, so we’ve been doing a lot of game situation drills,” Leary said.

The Wildcats have held on to the No. 10 spot in the AVCA Sand Poll for the past five weeks, and are the only team in this weekend’s challenge to be ranked in the top 10 this season.

The ASU Sand Volleyball Challenge will be held at the PERA Club in Tempe.

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Follow Jordyn Owen on Twitter.

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