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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball back in the win column with weekend split against UCLA and USC

Jackie Cabrera
Arizona volleyball player Ava Tortorello spikes a ball during the game against Washington State on Sunday, Sept. 24, in McKale Center. The Wildcats went on to lose the game 2-3 in five sets.

The Arizona volleyball team picked up its first conference win of the season after beating UCLA 3-1 on Friday, Oct. 6, snapping their four-game losing streak. However, the Wildcats (6-11, 1-5 in Pac-12) were unable to sweep the weekend as they fell to USC in five sets on Sunday, Oct. 8.

Friday, Oct. 6: UCLA 

Set results: 25-15, 25-20, 14-25, 25-23

In the opening set, the Wildcats outplayed the Bruins from start to finish. Arizona never allowed the lead to dwindle, going on several runs, as they grabbed the opening set 25-15. Jaelyn Hodge led the way for Arizona with five kills.

The Wildcats carried the momentum from the first set into the second, jumping to an early 5-0 lead. However, the Bruins fought back, tying at eight all. Despite this, Arizona never trailed in the set, pulling away late to win the second set 25-20, taking a 2-0 lead in the match.

UCLA turned the tide in the third set, jumping out early and leading for the first time in the match. The Bruins never trailed in the third set, preventing the Arizona sweep; UCLA defeated the Wildcats 25-14 in dominant fashion.

After a disappointing result in the third set, Arizona coach Charita Stubbs rallied her players, who came out aggressive in the fourth set.

 “I wanted them to be engaged, to take their mind off any worry they had,” said Stubbs.

“Sometimes they need that voice, that leader on the floor.” 

The fourth set went back and forth, with both teams trading points. However, the Wildcats managed to pull away late, using a series of runs. Despite a late rally by the Bruins, Arizona claimed the 25-23 victory, winning the match 3-1. This win snapped their four-game losing streak and marked their first conference win.

“I think it is definitely a relief and confidence builder for the whole team,” said Hodge.

 “I think we really needed that going into our next couple of games.”

Arizona’s dominance over UCLA was evident in their outscoring of the Bruins 89-83 over the four sets. The Wildcats controlled the net throughout the match. This impressive performance was led by Arizona’s Big Three, consisting of Sofia Maldonado Diaz, Hodge and Jordan Wilson, who combined for 40 of the team’s 55 kills.

“Everyone loves playing in front of a large crowd,” said Stubbs. “So shout out to the crowd and the Zona Zoo.”

Sunday, Oct. 8: USC

Set results: 26-24, 12-25, 20-25, 25-20, 9-15

After falling behind early in the opening set and trailing 16-9 midway through, the Wildcats used a late run, outscoring the Trojans 17-8 down the stretch to win the first set 26-24. 

Arizona struggled to maintain its attack in the second set, allowing the Trojans to take control of the match. USC closed out the set on an impressive 8-0 run and cruised past the Wildcats with a score of 25-12, evening the match at one set apiece.

In the third set, Arizona led throughout the first half, leading 13-12 at the midway point. However, the Trojans used a series of runs to regain control and pull away from the Wildcats, winning the set 25-20 and taking a 2-1 lead in the match. 

With their backs against the wall, Arizona dominated the fourth set, leading from start to finish. The Wildcats were led by their defense in the set producing four blocks, as they claimed the 25-20 win, forcing a decisive fifth set. 

It was a back-and-forth battle in the final set, with both teams trading points early on. However, the Trojans managed to take control towards the end of the set and ultimately secured a 15-9 victory, winning the match 3-2. 

Wilson, Maldonado Diaz and Hodge were the stars of the show once again for the Wildcats. The trio put up another impressive performance, with Wilson leading the offense with 20 kills, followed closely by Diaz with 16 kills and Hodge with 12 kills.

Next up:

Arizona travels to the state of Oregon to face the University of Oregon on Friday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m., followed by Oregon State on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 12 p.m.

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