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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA volleyball hosts Washington schools

Kyle Hansen
Kyle Hansen / The Daily Wildcat during Arizona’s 3-0 victory over the California Golden Bears on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014.

Fresh off its 3-1 loss to No. 1 Stanford, Arizona volleyball hosts its third top-three opponent, undefeated Washington, on Sunday.

Tonight, the No. 16 Wildcats host Washington State (9-9, 0-6 Pac-12 Conference) at 6 p.m. before facing No. 3 Washington on Sunday at 3 p.m. in McKale Center. The Wazzu match can be seen on, and the UW match is on the Pac-12 Networks.

“We’re just moving on, really. We look back on it, learn from it and we just move on to the next game,” UA sophomore setter Penina Snuka said about recovering from the Stanford loss. “That’s all you can do in this conference.”

The Wildcats’ match with Washington is their third against the top-three. Arizona’s the only team to run such a gauntlet. Arizona was swept at Texas, the current No. 2, in September.

“I think we’re definitely good enough to beat these teams, so I think just settling in and just playing on our side,” UA senior libero Kennedy Wesley said on getting over the hump and beating one of the top three teams. “It’s not about the other team; it’s what we do on our side.”

Arizona is 8-1 at home and has won 25 of the 30 sets it has played in the friendly confines of McKale Center. The Huskies (17-0, 6-0) have beaten five ranked teams, including then-No. 10 BYU and then-No. 4 Wisconsin. The Wildcats are 2-2 against ranked teams this season.

Washington features senior outside hitter Krista Vansant, who was national and Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2013. Vansant averages 4.40 kills, 0.74 blocks and 2.63 digs per set and has a .351 hitting percentage.

“They’re a good solid team,” Snuka said. “They’re No. 3 in the country for a reason. It should be good.”

The Cougars are winless in the Pac-12, but played ranked teams in five of their first six league matches, four of which were on the road. This weekend, they also face No. 17 ASU during their Arizona trip.

“Washington State’s gotten a lot better, so everyone in our conference is tough,” Wesley said.

Led by senior libero Ronni Lewis’ 4.07 digs per set, the Wildcats lead the Pac-12 in digs, averaging 15.97 digs a set.

However, last week, the Cardinal had 69 digs compared to 59 for Arizona.

“When a team wins, usually they win because they have more digs, more opportunities to get the kill,” Wesley said. “Usually we are up by 10 digs, so it was kind of different, and it stuck out to our coaches, so we worked on that all week.”

Wesley added she’s excited to get another chance at a highly ranked team at home.

“Hopefully, this time, we can calm our minds and take care of it,” Wesley said.

— Roberto Payne contributed reporting to this article


Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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