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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona volleyball earns decisive victory over Cal to salvage road trip

Jesus Barrera

Arizona outside hitter Kalei Mau (10) spikes against Cal on Friday, Oct. 2, in McKale Center. Mau leads the Wildcats in kills this season with 385, inlcuding an average of 4.53 per set.

Arizona volleyball (15-9, 5-7 Pac-12 Conference) defeated California (9-14, 3-9) three sets to one (25-21, 25-14, 19-25, 25-16) in Haas Pavilion in Berkley, California, in its attempt to get back on track after falling to seventh ranked Stanford on Friday in Palo Alto.

The Wildcats were effective in the first set, cashing in 15 kills on 35 attempts. The Golden Bears didn’t surrender, though, as they too tacked on 16 kills in 38 attempts.

Cal’s eight first-set errors, however, would be too much to overcome as Arizona picked up a 25-21 victory.

Arizona had its way in the second and fourth sets, winning 25-14 and 25-16, respectively. The fourth set ultimately closed the match with a Wildcat victory, but not before Cal capitalized on eight Arizona errors to squeak out a 25-19 third-set win.

“It was a good win for us; we played well,” said Arizona head coach Dave Rubio in a press release. “We were really efficient in game one. I thought we sided out and scored well. We got a little tentative in games three and four, but it was a good win on the road.”

Juniors Penina Snuka and Kalei Mau led the charge for the Wildcats as Mau tallied 19 kills and 58 attacks while Snuka added 39 assists and 16 digs for her conference-leading 14th double-double. Redshirt sophomore McKenzie Jacobsen had a career-high 11 of Arizona’s season-high 16 blocks.

Cal’s senior middle blocker Lillian Schonewise led the Golden Bears’ attack with 14 kills and a season-high eight blocks, while senior hitter Lara Vukasovic added seven kills and two blocks in the losing effort.

With this loss, Cal falls to 9-14 overall on the season and is tied with Utah for tenth in the conference.

The Wildcats had been in a bit of a funk lately as conference play kicked off, losing seven out of their 12 conference games after starting the season 8-0.

Arizona headed to the Bay Area looking to hit its stride in the second half of conference play; however, the Pac-12 is arguably the toughest conference in the league with six ranked teams, including No. 1 USC.

While Arizona had been consistently ranked No. 14 in the polls, the Wildcats fell to No. 19 after consecutive losses to UCLA, USC and Colorado. Arizona is tied for seventh in the conference.

Behind USC, the Pac-12 is also represented by No. 5 Washington, No. 7 Stanford, No. 8 UCLA and No. 14 ASU. So the Wildcats have their work cut out for them if they want to climb the polls.

Arizona now returns to McKale Center to battle the Washington schools.

The Wildcats will begin Friday with a Washington State team (14-10, 3-9) that’s hoping to snap a five-game losing streak. Arizona narrowly escaped in five sets in Pullman, Washington, the last time these teams met on Oct. 9. The game will start at 6 p.m. and be televised with regional coverage on Pac-12 Washington.

Arizona will then face the fifth-ranked Huskies, to whom the Wildcats lost in four sets on Oct. 7 in Seattle. The game will be televised on Pac-12 Networks and will begin Sunday at noon.

Follow Ivan Leonard on Twitter.

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