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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Volleyball ends year with upset

    Not even the full moon over Tucson could shine as bright as the Arizona volleyball team Saturday night.

    After losing their fifth straight match, to No. 5 USC, on Friday night, the Wildcats came back and upset No. 10 UCLA in their season finale in McKale Center.

    The Bruins (20-10, 9-9 Pacific 10 Conference) won the first game 30-26, but Arizona won the next three 30-26, 30-21, 31-29.

    “”It’s wonderful to be able to beat a good team – a perfect team like UCLA,”” said UA head coach Dave Rubio. “”The seniors really played their hearts out tonight. I thought it was the most selfless (match) that I’ve seen the team play. They played for the seniors.””

    The teams were tied at 29 in the final game, which featured 17 ties and six lead changes. Then UA middle blocker Dominique Lamb smacked down her 20th kill of the game, which was followed by a botched UCLA serve to give the Wildcats (14-17, 4-14) their first win against a ranked opponent since last November and their first win against a top-10 team since November 2005.

    Arizona hit .264 to UCLA’s .209.

    “”(I’m) excited, ecstatic,”” Lamb, a senior, said after the match. “”I’m not sad at all.””

    Lamb was one of four UA seniors – along with Katie Jackels, Emily Harper and Amy Dyck – to play in their last match as a Wildcat.

    “”I felt like everyone was like, ‘I’m playing for you seniors,’ and they put their hearts and souls out,”” Lamb said. “”We had nothing to lose and everything to gain.””

    Game two was the turning point for the Wildcats, as they went up 12-9 and never looked back. The game included Lamb’s “”deflating”” the ball for a kill after a questionable call, said middle blocker Jacy Norton.

    Opposite hitter Randy Goodenough saved a ball by lunging over the media table, and Norton ended the game with one of her career-high 15 kills, waving to the ball as it bounced into the stands off a UCLA defender.

    “”I feel like I was trying to swing all year, and people just kept digging me, but finally they went to the right spots or something,”” said Norton, who hit .538 in the match. “”It felt really good. I told Dominique and all the other seniors that I was playing for them tonight.

    “”It was our last chance to leave everything on the floor, and we did exactly that, and I’m proud of everyone on the team.””

    The Wildcats did not have as much success Friday night, as they were swept in three games by No. 5 USC. Game scores were 30-25, 30-24 and 30-18. It was Arizona’s 12th loss in 13 matches.

    The Women of Troy (25-4, 14-4) hit .315 from the floor while holding Arizona to .096.

    “”That was the most confident team that we played all season,”” Rubio said. “”You just had to look at them, they had so much confidence, with their chests out, and we didn’t. It’s indicative of the two programs.””

    Freshman Tiffany Owens had nine kills on -.028 hitting, ending her streak of 10 matches with double-figure kills.

    She had an “”off night,”” Rubio said.

    “”We couldn’t find a way to score consistently, and that made it difficult to compete,”” he said.

    Extra serving

    Dyck played in only one game against UCLA due to a concussion she sustained prior to the match. … Lamb finished her career with 527 total blocks – five short of the all-time record – and finished with 464 block assists, the most all-time at Arizona.

    – Michael Fitzpatrick contributed to this report

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