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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona sand volleyball shows off talent at Red-Blue game

Arizona Athletics
Arizona sand volleyball athletes and coach huddle up before their second annual Red-Blue game on Feb. 27. The team is ranked No. 9 in the nation.

The Arizona Wildcats sand volleyball team kicked off its season with the second annual Red-Blue scrimmage on Saturday, Feb. 27. This will be the team’s third season as a program at the UA.

Last season, the Wildcats went 18-3 and are currently ranked No. 9 in the DiG Collegiate Beach Volleyball Preseason Poll.

At the exhibition game, the whole team displayed how hard players had been working during the preseason. Ultimately, the Red team won through a four set match against the Blue team. The Red team also included the stars of the day, Madison and McKenna Witt and Jianna Bonomi.

Bonomi is a fifth year senior transfer from the University of San Diego. She was recruited in her final year to play sand volleyball for coach Steve Walker. Although she played indoor for her last four years, she says the transition has been great.

“With sand there is a lot more emphasis on technique and playing in certain conditions that you don’t necessarily have in indoor, but I’m still very excited,” Bonomi said.

Bonomi said that she is excited for every game this season because of the work she has put in and the work she sees her teammates put in as well.

Junior twins Madison and McKenna Witt were a part of the first recruiting group prior to sand volleyball’s inaugural season at the UA in 2014.

“Watching this program grow has been especially special for McKenna and I because we were the first ones here, we’ve watched the facility change, we’ve watched players come and go, we’ve been with Steve [Walker] since the beginning,” Madison Witt said.

The scrimmage showed immense strength within the team of girls on Saturday, although four were out due to injuries.

“This year is different because of the caliber of players we have, and there’s a lot more beach players this year,” McKenna Witt said. “We’re excited to see how we match up against other schools; we’ve been training really hard the past couple of months and we’re excited to put that into actual play.”

Although a group of talented seniors left last year, that left room for a new group of skilled young players.

“We have a lot of really young players and a lot of potential, and that’s going to carry us forward this season,” McKenna Witt said.

The challenges that may set the Wildcats back or apart from other teams includes their roster.

“I think being so young, there’s that challenge of overcoming anxiety and nerves and just getting out there and playing and executing all the skills we’ve been training months for,” Madison Witt said. “For the new players, that’s going to be a challenge.”

The best part of the scrimmage was the ability for the underclassmen to release some of their nerves on the collegiate level. “[It] gave the young and old players confidence and the chance to get all their nerves out,” Bonomi said.

McKenna Witt echoed how helpful the real game time experience will help.

“It’s awesome for all the new players to get a feel of what game day is actually like because it’s different,” she said. “We play here everyday, but with the setup and all the fans, it’s cool to get the game day experience.”

The exhibition game gave fans the chance to see the team in action before the start of the regular season. The Wildcats will host their first game of the season on Thursday, March 3 against Colorado Mesa University at 4 p.m. at Jimenez Field. 

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